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Poll: What is your honest feeling regarding CAT tools?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 21:31
SITE STAFF
Jan 24, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "What is your honest feeling regarding CAT tools?".

This poll was originally submitted by Egil Presttun. View the poll results »



 

Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:31
English to Chinese
+ ...
My potential clients are urging me to install CAT tools Jan 24, 2010

The client indicated that Trados & MultiTerm are very important tools for them, since without those tools they do not provide volume at all. I am almost convinced to purchase and install one.
I am just wondering if this happens to many of us here?

[Edited at 2010-01-24 08:32 GMT]


 

Gwenydd Jones  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 06:31
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Link to an interesting discussion Jan 24, 2010

Hi Jason,

I´ve been considering purchasing Trados for a while now. I did a poll a couple of weeks ago and the discussion was very helpful as it gave a lot of very different perspectives, you might like to have a look:

http://www.proz.com/forum/poll_discussion/155279-poll:_is_it_fair_for_agencies_to_request_freelance_translators_have_specific_cat_tools.html


 

lillkakan
Local time: 06:31
English to Swedish
Not so much the CAT tools themselves Jan 24, 2010

I use my CATs for almost every job, so I guess I would be lying if I said I dislike them. However, I do dislike what some clients/outsourcers/agencies expect me to accomplish with them.

They're not MAGIC tools. I'm not a wizard (some will argue if I say "witch" however... ;D) My CAT tool can't magically fix all the flaws in a text; its formatting, its layout, its tagging, its inconsistencies, its ambiguities... Any CAT tool is only as good as its users — and that includes the person who prepares the source text for translation.

So I don't dislike CAT tools, I just dislike some people's ideas about how they can/should be used.


 

Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:31
English to Chinese
+ ...
Thank you Bwen for this informative link Jan 24, 2010

I'm reading now...
Purchasing and using a CAT tool is like a marriage to meicon_biggrin.gif

[Edited at 2010-01-24 09:49 GMT]


 

Valeria Lagos Gordon Downie
Spain
Local time: 06:31
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
love and hate... Jan 24, 2010

I love Trados, although my clients generally have not asked me to use it, but I always use it anyway, it just makes translating more comfortable.

I hate Star Transit, at least the freeware version, because you cannot build a proper TM over several different "projects" (or at least nobody has been able to tell me how to do it).

Other programmes, I have no definite feelings about. I only own Trados and it is enough for me. Needless to say, it has paid itself sufficiently since I bought the original version.

And no, I don't offer nor accept discounts for working with Trados, or any other CAT.


[Edited at 2010-01-24 13:25 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 01:31
English to Portuguese
+ ...
They are for *MY* convenience Jan 24, 2010

If I drove a taxicab for a living, and had invested my money in power steering and automatic transmission so my work would be less tiresome, I'd resent a passenger who demanded a discount on the fare for this reason.

The best clients I work for simply don't care how I do it, as long as I get the job properly done. The worst ones don't seem to care so much if I do it properly, as long as I use CAT tools. One of these worst ones - in spite of my early warning - demanded a post-delivery discount on the grounds that I used WordFast, and not Trados, though no CAT tool had been requested.

The bottom line is that while there are clients who seek quality; there are others who are after fuzzy match discounts. As these two are not mutually exclusive, it's a matter of each translator making a decision on what they'll offer.

Back to the analogy, imagine if I were a cab fleet manager who paid, say, 30% less to drivers assigned to cars with power steering and auto transmission, and let the cabbies choose their vehilces. Assuming the less-skilled drivers don't know how to use a stickshift, what would be the likely mix of my fleet?

So my feeling regarding CAT tools is that they enhance my work, in terms of speed and consistency. Overall, they allow me to offer better and faster service. However I resent clients (usually translation agencies) who demand them as the first and foremost requirement, often regardless of translation skills, which is actually what I am (or should be) offering.

Again back to the analogy, the cab ride was smooth, and the driver was in a good mood throughout, in spite of the heavy traffic. Nevertheless, he got lost four times, ran over one cat, hit two dogs and one pedestrian got one traffic ticket, and dented three other vehicles on the way.

Of course, the deliverable must be compatible with the customer's needs, e.g. a DOC file. It shouldn't matter if it was created with Microsoft Word, Open Office, or any other. Of course, each DTP application will create its own proprietary-format files, but a properly made PDF file will be always a PDF file. So clients are free to specify the deliverables they want or need, but not the method to make them.


 

DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
useful Jan 24, 2010

They are tools, so I can neither 'love', nor 'like' them, I just find some of them more helpful) For example, I prefer working with WF classic to many other CATs.
Yet, on and of, I have to put up with it for a relevant compensation.

P.S. IMO "hate" is not an antonym to "love", but "indifferent"


 

Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:31
English to Dutch
+ ...
Love Wordfast Jan 24, 2010

Jason, if you do decide to buy Trados, ProZ.com offers a very good discount by group purchase (40% off). I recently bought Trados that way, and even though not all the places in the group were filled, I was still offered the chance to buy it at a discount.

I have been working with Wordfast for a long time to great satisfaction, but I started to lose job opportunities because I didn't have Trados... so after saving up, I have now finally bought and installed Trados. Now I have to learn how to work it... which I'm not looking forward to! I'm not happy to be 'forced' (well of course it was my own choice) to buy this expensive software when I already had a perfectly good and much less expensive CAT-tool.

I hesitated for a long time to buy it, also because it seems that customers start demanding discounts for using Trados... it seemed madness to me to start giving discounts after just having been cleaned out buying this expensive tool.

But anyway, as I said, I have bought it now, and I hope that it will be worth it.



[Edited at 2010-01-24 12:50 GMT]


 

Rita Utt  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 06:31
Member
English to German
+ ...
Use them for yourself Jan 24, 2010

not for your clients

A collegue, and very experienced Trados-User, once told me, using CAT-Tools is financially interesting as long as you use them for yourself and not for your clients. I think she is right.

Personally I love Wordfast which is free (or much cheaper,depending on your need), compatible, and helps you to create useful glossaries very easily.


 

Iris Shalev  Identity Verified
Israel
Local time: 07:31
English to Dutch
+ ...
Very true Jan 24, 2010

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

So my feeling regarding CAT tools is that they enhance my work, in terms of speed and consistency. Overall, they allow me to offer better and faster service. However I resent clients (usually translation agencies) who demand them as the first and foremost requirement, often regardless of translation skills, which is actually what I am (or should be) offering.



You are so right, José!


 

Mike (de Oliveira) Brady  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2008)
Portuguese to English
I don't translate without Wordfast Jan 24, 2010

I've tried some other translation tools available for Mac (which doesn't include Trados) and not found them very useful or user friendly. Wordfast Classic and Wordfast Pro I found so useful I bought the licence after making use of their excellent full-functioning demo (the only limit is on 500 terms in translation memory so you really get to see how it works).

There were various problems with earlier versions, but they seem to have been ironed out.

Now I put source documents into .doc format to open them in Wordfast Pro even if that takes a bit of time (for example, with converting pdf files). I have built up extensive translation memories and glossaries and it is extremely useful to be able to search for words or terms and see how I have translated it in different contexts in the past. It is often faster and more accurate than looking to dictionaries or even KudoZ.

Several clients ask for Wordfast. Others ask for Trados and Wordfast seems to be compatible enough with Trados to satisfy them.


 

Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:31
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Prefer more and prefer less Jan 24, 2010

I primarily use a Mac, so Wordfast was an early no-brainer. I like the new pro version. It allows me to be consistent across long patents, and between texts. It has a great glossary/TM search function, and it's very easy to use.

One of my agencies really wanted me to use Across, because several of their clients *insist* on it.

The agency was willing to supply the software, but I had to supply the hardware.
I did buy a second computer to run Across, and I have gotten some additional clients that way. Across seems to be an odd duck in the translation world. I have heard of more end-clients preferring it than translators or agencies.
This is a great agency to work for, and I really like the people there a lot, which is why I was willing to but the computer. It has enhanced our relationship, and I do get more work because of Across.

At any rate, it is not nearly as easy to work with as WF, even if I'm using the server side TM, it is slow, clumsy, and doesn't have nearly the cross-project vocab ability of my computer-based WF. And because it's server based, and I'm not admin, I can't add vocab or view completed files. Nor can I fix formatting errors.

I have gotten enough work for Across to justify purchasing the second computer and learning the program. However, I prefer to work in WF on my Mac.
Even if the client doesn't ask for a CAT tool, I still use WF if possible.

Nothing helps with 13th and 14th century charters, or 19th century handwritten letters, but those clients/agencies are looking for a different type of expertise.


 

Jason Ma  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 12:31
English to Chinese
+ ...
Iris, thanks for sharing your experiences Jan 24, 2010

Iris Shalev wrote:

Jason, if you do decide to buy Trados, ProZ.com offers a very good discount by group purchase (40% off). I recently bought Trados that way, and even though not all the places in the group were filled, I was still offered the chance to buy it at a discount.

I hesitated for a long time to buy it, also because it seems that customers start demanding discounts for using Trados... it seemed madness to me to start giving discounts after just having been cleaned out buying this expensive tool.

But anyway, as I said, I have bought it now, and I hope that it will be worth it.



[Edited at 2010-01-24 12:50 GMT]


Before jumping into this marriage, these are very important to know.


 

Deborah Edwards  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 15:31
Japanese to English
Fan of Trados Jan 25, 2010

I find that Trados takes a lot of the muscle out of doing long translations with a lot of repetitions. It's a lovely feeling when you have been translating an arduous legal contract when suddenly, Trados starts translating the document at high speed for you. It's even better if you are translating huge Excel spreadsheets which are identical, except for the numbers. I've never used any other type of translation software so I'm not sure how they compare. Trados does seem to have a few bugs but it saves me time and helps me to produce a more consistent, high-quality product so I forgive SDL for its flaws. Sorry to write such an overtly positive piece, I promise I don't work for SDL:-)

* Incidentally, I agree with Rita. Trados is far more beneficial when used for oneself, rather than for one's clients.

[Edited at 2010-01-25 04:57 GMT]


 
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