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Poll: Have you ever tried to make a translation without your CAT tool to check if it's better?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 23:38
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Aug 10, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever tried to make a translation without your CAT tool to check if it's better?".

This poll was originally submitted by Mario Freitas. View the poll results »



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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:38
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Do you mean you automatically use CAT for everything? Aug 10, 2014

I only use it when required or suitable (many repetitions). I have been a translator for 25 years, and have only used CAT for 2. Of course it is better in many cases.

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Aug 10, 2014

I didn't always use CAT. I started using WF Classic a few years ago to see what it was like, after a disappointing and offputting attempt at Trados. I find that it helps me be more methodical and systematic, not my best points.

Nor do I use CAT on all texts - some are more suitable than others. However, the notion of doing a translation deliberately without any of my current usual tools "to check if it's better"... has never occurred to me. I don't usually have enough time to spare to wonder about questions like this or, indeed, to do anything about them.


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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:38
Russian to English
+ ...
I do not use CAT tools, Aug 10, 2014

although I know how to use them. Translation, in my fields, is perfect without them. What I like using is convenient word processors that format documents really well, and which are easy to use. Other than that, I don't need any CAT tools--they are more trouble for me than they are worth, and mostly they really annoy me since they destruct the creative process.

[Edited at 2014-08-10 09:19 GMT]


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Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:38
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't use CAT, though I tried them Aug 10, 2014

I tried CAT tools due to agency demands. For a while I had Trados installed, and used it. Then I found out two things that made me give up:

1) The CATs made me waste so much time, my productivity was highly reduced. Most people disagree with me, and say the CATs are a blessing in their lives. Many people criticize me for not using one. But very few people have measured the time they waste installing, configuring, updating, organizing, etc. their CATs, and even fewer have ever tried to translate a document using the CAT and one without the CAT in a row to actually measure their productivity. Well, I did. And guess what: I deleted all CATs from my computer and from my life when I did that. Because both your productivity and your quality will be better without them, but most people won't agree, and I will be criticized once again for saying that.

2) Most agencies and outsourcers are adopting two unacceptable standards (IMO) due to the CATs. First, they determine a lower price for repetitions and fuzzies, and translators are being practically forced to accept that practice. If you go to a dentist with three cavities, he's not going to make a lower price for the other two, is he? Well, I'm not either. Furthermore, many agencies require your memory after the translation or that you use their memory. This is our intellectual property we are giving away for free, and that will also reduce a lot our services in the future, because agencies with mega-memories from hundreds of translators will no longer require our services.

So, no, I'm not gonna start a campaign agains CATs, because I've been crucified for that before. But I'm not gonna be fooled by these "tools".


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 07:38
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I don't use CAT tools! Aug 10, 2014

Let us say that CAT tools just do not suit my way of working - nor the kind of texts I translate most of the time. Style and flow are more important for me (and my clients) than consistency. For one of my long-time clients texts tend to be very repetitive ( certification of medical devices) but of course I can copy and paste or in some cases just change the file name…

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 08:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree Aug 10, 2014

Mario Freitas wrote:
...
But very few people have measured the time they waste installing, configuring, updating, organizing, etc. their CATs, and even fewer have ever tried to translate a document using the CAT and one without the CAT in a row to actually measure their productivity. ...

2) Most agencies and outsourcers are adopting two unacceptable standards (IMO) due to the CATs. First, they determine a lower price for repetitions and fuzzies, and translators are being practically forced to accept that practice....This is our intellectual property we are giving away for free, and that will also reduce a lot our services in the future, because agencies with mega-memories from hundreds of translators will no longer require our services.

... I'm not gonna be fooled by these "tools".


My sentiments exactly. One glance at the forums for people with Trados (and similar) help requests bears this out.


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Georgia Morgan  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 07:38
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Don't use , don't want to use... Aug 10, 2014

I would spend more time fiddling around with them than anything else....I am totally computer illiterate. Love translating the old-fashioned way.....

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Peter Manda  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:38
German to English
+ ...
the only reason Aug 10, 2014

One reason I have found to use CAT is that over the years I've built a valuable resource of terms that I've translated before. In effect, my CAT is like an electronic dictionary.

The other reason that I like using CAT is that I have been able to measure the improvement in my translation capability over time.

The third reason is that the CAT allows me to ensure consistency in my translations. Especially in translations with 5,000 words or more you can end up having a really hard time keeping track of the way you translate certain phrases and words consistently throughout the document. Mind you, sometimes the nuances of a word or phrase require a different translation; but keeping track of those nuances is pretty important if you want to provide professional translations for your clients.

That said, I wholeheartedly agree: Productivity and output is much better without the CAT.


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Yetta J Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:38
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Other Aug 10, 2014

I don't know why I should hold the 2 up against each other, mostly it is obvious when using a CAT tool is an advantage and when it is not.

To be honest, I don't recognize all the inconveniences of using CATs that have been mentioned here, but maybe that is with TRADOS

Personally, I use Wordfast PRO and I find it a great help. It never gave me any trouble and it does not waste my time; On the contrary, think of the time it saves you emulating the layout of the source document.

Of course, I never hand over my own master TMs to the client, but I don't see the problem in handing over a project-specific TM or using the client's TM in additon to my own.


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Rudolf Frans Maulany  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 08:38
English to Indonesian
+ ...
I don't use CAT tools in medical translation! Aug 10, 2014

In the last 30 years I have been translating, editing, etc. about 20 medical textbooks/books for publishers/pharmaceutical industries, health organization, etc with more then 10 million words without using any CAT tools only by using Word or Excell, when I need to change any word/term I just can do it easily.
Only recently because of the user request we have to translate using CAT tools.


[Edited at 2014-08-10 16:15 GMT]


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Jon Hedemann  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 08:38
English to Danish
+ ...
not possible Aug 10, 2014

It's not possible to make a better translation without CAT software...

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Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 07:38
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I always prefer using one Aug 10, 2014

My specialisation is marketing and I find very little saving in terms of fuzzies etc: I normally go out of my way to avoid repeating myself anyway, even if the source contains repetitions. But I find great advantages in using my very basic CAT - Wordfast Classic.

Not having to worry about formatting is useful.
The glossary is great.
The QA functions are just what you need to ensure you don't slip up on proper nouns and numbers.
The concordance search is the best thing since sliced bread.

I don't let myself fall into any of the traps. I've never accepted a client's TM; I've never delivered an unclean text or a TM; I've never given a discount based on the matches WF finds. But I do make full use of my investment for my own purposes.


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Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Of course Aug 10, 2014

I have tried a lot of different ways to translate. I like working in my CAT simply because I like the workspace, but I have found that some texts come out better when done straight into Word. I don't think that there is just one answer for the CAT vs. no CAT question, it's really just a question of what's most comfortable for you to work in.

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Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:38
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
One perspective Aug 10, 2014

Mario Freitas wrote:

I tried CAT tools due to agency demands. For a while I had Trados installed, and used it. Then I found out two things that made me give up:

1) The CATs made me waste so much time, my productivity was highly reduced. Most people disagree with me, and say the CATs are a blessing in their lives. Many people criticize me for not using one. But very few people have measured the time they waste installing, configuring, updating, organizing, etc. their CATs, and even fewer have ever tried to translate a document using the CAT and one without the CAT in a row to actually measure their productivity. Well, I did. And guess what: I deleted all CATs from my computer and from my life when I did that. Because both your productivity and your quality will be better without them, but most people won't agree, and I will be criticized once again for saying that.

2) Most agencies and outsourcers are adopting two unacceptable standards (IMO) due to the CATs. First, they determine a lower price for repetitions and fuzzies, and translators are being practically forced to accept that practice. If you go to a dentist with three cavities, he's not going to make a lower price for the other two, is he? Well, I'm not either. Furthermore, many agencies require your memory after the translation or that you use their memory. This is our intellectual property we are giving away for free, and that will also reduce a lot our services in the future, because agencies with mega-memories from hundreds of translators will no longer require our services.

So, no, I'm not gonna start a campaign agains CATs, because I've been crucified for that before. But I'm not gonna be fooled by these "tools".


This is your own personal perspective, Mario, but you state it as if it's the ultimate truth that applies to everybody. Do you really think the thousands of translators who use CAT tools every day are stupid enough to use a tool that makes them less efficient just because that was your very limited personal experience? What I have found is that most of the time CAT saves me a lot of time. Some times, as you say, all the fiddling around (and the occasional annoying error) means a project takes longer than it would have in, say, Word, but this is rare. Other times, it takes about the same amount of time. But in most cases, and in my personal experience, the time CAT saves is considerable.
Your issue number 1 is to a large extent negated over time, as the user becomes more competent and the CAT-related processes become second nature. This is the case with any tool, even a chisel. Issue number 2 is not my experience at all. Some agencies have adopted those standards, but most haven't (again, that's my personal experience, I accept yours is different).

Simon


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