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Poll: Do you think knowledge of CAT tools is essential for a translator?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 19:51
SITE STAFF
Sep 29, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you think knowledge of CAT tools is essential for a translator?".

This poll was originally submitted by tilakahuja. View the poll results »



 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 11:51
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes, definitely Sep 29, 2013

If you use a CAT tool, that is.
And "No, definitely not," if you don't use them.

Am I missing something in this poll? icon_confused.gif


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:51
Member (2006)
German to English
Morning Julian Sep 29, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:

If you use a CAT tool, that is.
And "No, definitely not," if you don't use them.

Am I missing something in this poll? icon_confused.gif


Hey, that is what I just wanted to say;-)


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 03:51
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's my case, Julian! Sep 29, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:

If you use a CAT tool, that is.
And "No, definitely not," if you don't use them.

Am I missing something in this poll? icon_confused.gif


I don't use them, so my answer has to be: "No, definitely not"!


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:51
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Ditto Sep 29, 2013

Teresa Borges wrote:

I don't use them, so my answer has to be: "No, definitely not"!


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:51
Spanish to English
+ ...
It depends Sep 29, 2013

Nowadays, I doubt if you 'll find a university (or similar) translation course that doesn't heavily feature CAT tools. However, not every working translator uses them or needs to, although things in general do seem to be heading down that slippery slope.

Slightly on topic, here's a thing about MT I saw today:

http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/sep/25/lost-in-machine-translation-star-trek

[Edited at 2013-09-29 08:54 GMT]


 

Theo Bernards (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 04:51
English to Dutch
+ ...
Depends on both the translation at hand and the translator. Sep 29, 2013

I was during my first year as a freelance translator blissfully unaware of CAT-tools (let alone having knowledge of them), although I very early felt that there should be some software that would keep the ever recurring legal phraseology in user manuals in some sort of grand translations memory.

I know literature translators that don't use CAT-tools and they appear to be making more money than I am, so the idea that CAT-tools are indispensable seems untrue.

Nowadays I do everything in my CAT-tool of choice (and since my CAT-tool is Across, many CAT-tool users seem to find that strange, if I may judge that on the amount of disapproving comments whenever I praise the many qualities of that particular CAT-tool), and I couldn't do without it anymore. But that is just meicon_biggrin.gif.

[Edited at 2013-09-29 08:57 GMT]


 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:51
English to German
+ ...
Since the poll said "knowledge of" instead of "proficieny in" Sep 29, 2013

Yes, the knowledge of CAT tools is important, even if you don't need them (not quite in concordance with software companies, who try to convince the world that no translation ever can be done without, and that their software is the best thing since the invention of cold beer and furthermore will lead to world peace or something). Makes you wonder how people were ever able to communicate around the planet without this product.

It is crucial to know how this kind of software works to be able to decide if you need this tool for your work or not.


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:51
Member (2008)
English to Italian
not really Sep 29, 2013

CAT Tools are NOT necessary, they are useful.
Every translation can be carried out without CAT Tools. Some translations could not even be done WITh CAT tools (would you translate a novel with CAT?).
I have translated thousands of texts without CAT tools, and now that I use one, I have to say I can translate more, my consistency has improved, but what I translate is highly repetitive.
So at the end of the day, the word "essential" when referring to a CAT tool, seems to me inappropriate.


 

Enrico Zoffoli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:51
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
Yes, definitely Sep 29, 2013

unless one translates exclusively novels or scanned PDFs. The good news is that learning how to use a CAT tool doesn't take more than a couple of hours.

 

Cecilia Civetta  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 04:51
Member (2003)
Italian to Spanish
+ ...
It depends... Sep 29, 2013

... on what type of work the translator does. I translate technical, so I couldn't do without one. But, for instance, I don't see the use of it if you translate film scripts or subtitles.

 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:51
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Depends Sep 29, 2013

It depends on what kind of work you want to do. For a literary translation it's not much use at all, but if you want to translate something more technical and compete against all the other translators out there who have CAT tools, then it is probably essential to have some kind of knowledge.

 

Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:51
English to German
+ ...
Compete Sep 29, 2013

Helen Hagon wrote:

It depends on what kind of work you want to do. For a literary translation it's not much use at all, but if you want to translate something more technical and compete against all the other translators out there who have CAT tools, then it is probably essential to have some kind of knowledge.


This is where the global perception of CAT tools becomes really creepy.

I and many other colleagues translated repetitive websites and technical manuals before CAT tools were even developed. The trick? A sheet of paper and a pen. Looking back, workflow and execution went much faster.


 

LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:51
Russian to English
+ ...
CAT tools might be helpful in Sep 29, 2013

some types of translation, especially the types that require a lot of terms which are listed in a catalogue manner -- not like a narrative, or text with full sentences . CAT tools are not anything essential for any translator, and they are totally useless, or almost useless, in certain types of translation, such as literary, and any type of more general, everyday vocabulary translation. What is essential, however, is the most advanced knowledge of both languages (the source and the target), knowledge of the translation theory, and various translation techniques.

The basic knowledge, however, how to use CAT tools and what they are about might be important for any translator. This could be learned in an hour or two, or by participation in a CAT tool seminar. You should know what you are rejecting, even if you want to reject it completely, or criticize it, or perhaps some may decide that the CAT tools may be useful for them for certain types of translation.




[Edited at 2013-09-29 12:44 GMT]


 

Ana Naglić  Identity Verified
Croatia
Local time: 04:51
Member (2005)
English to Croatian
+ ...
It depends Sep 29, 2013

It's USEFUL in technical translation etc.
It really is.
But I don't like the idea of being "forced" to pay XXX USD/EUR every year (or every other year) in order to use the latest version which, again, agencies demand. Although I tend to have the most up-to date version that gives you advantages (and not just cosmetic changes).
If you have several CAT tools, you end up paying thousands of EUR/USD in e.g. 10 years just for the initial version + upgrades - while those upgrades do not really offer much improvement.
I also don't like the idea of just adding a small adjustment and making it "a new version". Or making a new version which is incompatible with the previous versions.
I'm eager to buy upgrades when I see nice advantages, upgrades, etc. and you can't do that every year.
And I usually like buying upgrades after at least the first service pack, when lots of bugs are resolved.
That said, I know some great translators who don't use CAT tools. But CAT tools make translation quicker.


 
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