Poll: Has the use of CAT tools helped you increase your productivity?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 14:53
SITE STAFF
Aug 23, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Has the use of CAT tools helped you increase your productivity?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, to some extent Aug 23, 2011

... although I find the current obsession with "productivity" somewhat distasteful. Increased output/income is not the be-all and end-all for me.

I have just agreed to do some pro-bono translation work for a non-profit research group working on medullar lesions in tetraplegics, so the benefits of any increased "productivity"will be going to a good cause for a change instead of lining the pockets of intermediaries.

[Edited at 2011-08-23 14:10 GMT]


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Amandine Added  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:53
English to French
+ ...
I do not use an official one Aug 23, 2011

Personally I do not use a particular CAT Tool. I'm working in specialized fields and the quality of the tool depends on the "food" you give him, so rather than choosing one within tenth of them I decided to create my own database. It does not translate by itself but is a good dictionary in law and finance et now includes some samples of usual clauses, legal and finance expressions...
You will say I am old school but I will fight against CAT Tools as long as possible, they CAN help INCREASE our productivity BUT, in my opinion and it is very personal, they also pass the idea that we, translators, are merely machine. There are no good translations with a snap of the fingers and a tool will never ever understand fully the richness of a language.
However if working regularly on manuals or repetitive guidelines or user's manual, I can understand the use of a full CAT tool and from what I understand there are no sentences forgotten with those (I always try to see various side).


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Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 22:53
German to English
+ ...
No - not yet Aug 23, 2011

I am not sure that I shall ever be ready for the "pot luck" approach which offers a per word rate for "100% non matches" and says nothing about the rest! That is counter-productive to my motivation, for one.

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 23:53
Member (2006)
German to English
As soon as purchased Aug 23, 2011

it, my revenue increased by about 1000% and has been growing ever since. No work without a CAT tool

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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 23:53
French to English
+ ...
Missing answer Aug 23, 2011

I have never translated without a CAT tool.

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Williamson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 22:53
Flemish to English
+ ...
Does a CAT-tool generates more money? Aug 23, 2011

The question should have been: Does a CAT-tools generates more money? Not Has the use of CAT tools helped you to increase your productivity?
For some agencies CAT equals discounts given by translators which mean earning the same or less in spite of the use of a CAT-tool. It also equals earning more for the agency, because it will ask the full price for a translation.
Add to that that in some high-taxed states with a progressive tax-system the more you earn by using a CAT, the more goes to the state.


[Edited at 2011-08-23 12:06 GMT]


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Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
Mexico
English to German
+ ...
Not really Aug 23, 2011

CAT tools did increase my productivity counted in words, but not counted in money, since most agencies demand discounts to harvest any important benefits from fuzzy matches or repetitions.

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Michal Surmař  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 23:53
Member (2010)
English to Czech
+ ...
Well ... Aug 23, 2011

... it does increase productivity, definitely, however, as many translators pointed out here: you invest in a tool and everyone wants huge discounts :-/. You don’t get huge discounts for text messages just because the costs of sending them equal 0.000006 ...

Michal.

[Edited at 2011-08-23 14:55 GMT]


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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:53
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes and no Aug 23, 2011

Lately, I've been mainly translating material without repetitions, so I use a CAT tool primarily to make sure I don't skip sentences.

When offered other kinds of projects, I never volunteer that I use a CAT tool, and I've never accepted a job with discounted rates for repetitions or fuzzy matches. I don't bid on job announcements where use of TRADOS is specified, for example.

Bottom line: if a tool doesn't help me, I don't use it.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 22:53
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
You are not alone... Aug 23, 2011

Mamande wrote:

Personally I do not use a particular CAT Tool. I'm working in specialized fields and the quality of the tool depends on the "food" you give him, so rather than choosing one within tenth of them I decided to create my own database. It does not translate by itself but is a good dictionary in law and finance et now includes some samples of usual clauses, legal and finance expressions...
You will say I am old school but I will fight against CAT Tools as long as possible, they CAN help INCREASE our productivity BUT, in my opinion and it is very personal, they also pass the idea that we, translators, are merely machine. There are no good translations with a snap of the fingers and a tool will never ever understand fully the richness of a language.
However if working regularly on manuals or repetitive guidelines or user's manual, I can understand the use of a full CAT tool and from what I understand there are no sentences forgotten with those (I always try to see various side).


I have been translating for years (have been around a while now, 35 years to be precise) and not using any CAT tools, but like you I created my own database.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:53
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No Aug 23, 2011

But then I don't do the kind of work where they would be helpful.

I have tried them, and they slow me down. It takes thought to decide whether or not a word or phrase should be translated the same way every time, and that's what a translator is paid for.

If I want to globally replace a word or phrase, I can do that with word processing - or do it selectively, if the replacement doesn't apply. Again, I am in control.

Finally, I don't think I would *want* to be more productive than I already am. A good translation shouldn't be rushed.


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Ambrose Li  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 17:53
Chinese to English
+ ...
I’m not sure Aug 24, 2011

There were two incidents that prompted me to say “I’m not sure”.

First thing, I have been using an online CAT tool that went down for a few days a few weeks ago, so I had to translate CATless. What happened was that I felt more free to reorder the text to make it flow more naturally. I almost forgot that before I adopted a CAT this was the way I had always done it.

The second thing was that I tried using a standalone, offline CAT tool. I had so much trouble with segmentation and tags that I tried very hard not to touch the word order. Naturally, when the source and target languages have almost the opposite word order (and have different rules regarding how the period is used), not messing with the word order resulted in translations that felt quite odd.

So has the use of CAT tools helped me increase my productivity? Sure, repetitions occur—sometimes—, and when that occurs productivity evidently is increased. But if the result of increased productivity is general oddness, then I’m not so sure if productivity really is increased.

[Edited at 2011-08-24 00:14 GMT]


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Krzysztof Kajetanowicz  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 23:53
English to Polish
+ ...
preposterous logic Aug 24, 2011

Look, can someone explain to me: what's stopping so many people from saying 'no' to CAT discounts while using CAT tools? (like poster James does)

If you don't like the discounts and are willing to give up projects where this is required, great. But why on earth give up the benefits of CAT tools themselves? What's one thing got to do with the other?

[Edited at 2011-08-24 05:58 GMT]


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Rebecca Garber  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:53
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
CAT tools and PCs Aug 24, 2011

Something else that hasn't been addressed, so I'm assuming most people use PC's.

I use a Mac for my primary computer, so there is only one CAT tool, WordFast, which I truly adore. I work in patents, so there are a lot of repetitions that have to be translated in exactly the same form. It's logical, transparent for a Mac user, and seems to have an endless glossary ability.

Some years ago, one of my agencies strongly requested that I learn Across, which is only available for PCs. They were willing to provide the program (which is expensive), if I would buy another computer.
Because of the increase in projects for this agency, I paid for the new laptop within 2 months, and picked up 2 additional agencies.
It's not a program of which I am fond; however, the project increase makes it worthwhile.

Yes, the agencies want discounts for repeated words/sentences. However, I get more projects, so it evens out.
Also, with regard to the work I do on my Mac, my glossary is much, much bigger than the agencies', so my number of repetitions is distinctly higher than theirs.

And I truly love being able to compare two similar sentences and tweak sentence B slightly, as opposed to *finding* sentence A, comparing with sentence B, copying sentence A, and then tweaking it to match sentence B.

That said, I have also translated academic and literary works, and I would never bring a CAT tool anywhere near them. Except for the glossaries.


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