Poll: If you use a CAT tool, do you think it has increased your income?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 15:36
SITE STAFF
Aug 25, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If you use a CAT tool, do you think it has increased your income?".

This poll was originally submitted by Jorge Herran. View the poll results »



 

Terry Richards
France
Local time: 00:36
French to English
+ ...
I've never NOT used a CAT tool Aug 25, 2015

So, I can't say it has increased or decreased my income.

 

564354352 (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:36
Danish to English
+ ...
My words exactly Aug 25, 2015

Terry Richards wrote:

I've never NOT used a CAT tool

So, I can't say it has increased or decreased my income.


Ditto


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
Somewhat Aug 25, 2015

Since I started using WordFast (Classic), I think my income has increased slightly. What I really value is the memory function, whereby it flags similar texts that I've translated previously, and the segmentation, where the chunks are neatly organised and I can refer back to them when revising/checking.

This week I'm having to translate a text where using WF was impractical (PDF converted to Word, with lots of text boxes and humungous tables, several fonts and text sizes, etc) and it took me a while to get back into the non-WF modus operandi... it was quite amusing, as I kept trying to click the "next segment" button which wasn't there...


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No Aug 25, 2015

It depends on (a) whether you get paid for the matches it produces and (b) whether you use the time saved to do more work or drink beer

Oops


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
A subjective take Aug 25, 2015

I think my use of CAT and TEnT tools has contributed to my better income situation over the years, especially as an independent translator.

My income improves when the client knowingly applies a rate card (pays for fuzzy matches, etc.) and improves even more when the client does not require the use of a CAT/TEnT tool but I use it anyways.

Given the office politics and the so-called productivity pressure in my in-house positions, I haven't seen much of an improvement in income (well, it's a salary, it seldom goes up) or in workflow.


 

Diana Llorente  Identity Verified
Spain
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
For technical translation I find that it's almost a requirement Aug 25, 2015

I only work on technical translation and I use a CAT tool almost in all cases, because I find that it has the great advantage of making easier to ensure consistency in terminology across a document and across several documents from the same customer and subject. But this is an advantage for the customer, who receives a more consistent translation, not a productivity advantage for me.

In some cases, it's true that a good term base does help me work a bit faster, I like not to have to look for the same term several times and to be able to have all my terminology saved in my term bases.

But in general I find that handling the customers term bases, TM in different formats, checking past terminologies used in the TM by other translators to maintain consistency, etc, actually makes me spend more time with the translation.

Also, for some marketing texts (of technical products, which I do), such as press notes, I tend to do all the above and then I still have to take a final look in Word, as I find that segmentation can make the text sound a bit mechanic.

For me it's not a matter of how much more productive I am using a CAT tool. I'm not more productive at all. But it's a requirement to stay in business for 2 reasons, because most agencies require it and because I do find that it brings an advantage quality-wise for the kind of texts I handle.

In summary, a CAT tool increases my income, not because I'm more productive, but because otherwise, I wouldn't be able to access my current market.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
CAT tools don't help with terminology (that's a myth) Aug 25, 2015

Diana Llorente wrote:

I only work on technical translation and I use a CAT tool almost in all cases, because I find that it has the great advantage of making easier to ensure consistency in terminology across a document and across several documents from the same customer and subject. But this is an advantage for the customer, who receives a more consistent translation, not a productivity advantage for me.


Actually, CAT tools don't ensure terminology consistency at all, especially for team-made translations or collective translations. Quite the contrary. Based on my own experience working with teams of translators, the senior editor or translator has to revise the output to make sure we all used the approved list of terms. Never mind the difficulties imposed by the client: inconsistencies in their lists of terms, reference materials, instructions by email, etc.

Another myth: CAT tools do not improve a translator's stylistic skills nor do they resolve text flow or composition problems inherent to the original text. So, Diana is right in the sense that she doesn't find any productivity gains.

As for translation agencies requiring translators to use this or that CAT tool, that's a myth worth discussing another time.


 

R-i-c-h-a-r-d  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:36
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Moving on with the times Aug 25, 2015

I immediately asked myself whether translators who were working in the industry 30 years ago, and who didn't have access to CAT technology, made less money than the translators of today?

I think they probably made about the same amount of money, relatively speaking.

Yes, their translations were slower, more laboured and less consistent due to the lack of concordance search, for example, but I'm pretty sure they were able to make a similar, or even better living in comparison to the translators of today.


 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Less consistent? Aug 25, 2015

R-i-c-h-a-r-d wrote:

I immediately asked myself whether translators who were working in the industry 30 years ago, and who didn't have access to CAT technology, made less money than the translators of today?

I think they probably made about the same amount of money, relatively speaking.

Yes, their translations were slower, more laboured and less consistent due to the lack of concordance search, for example, but I'm pretty sure they were able to make a similar, or even better living in comparison to the translators of today.


Unless we can run some empirical comparisons between the translations of yesteryear and today's translations, we cannot deign to make such generously sweeping generalizations.

It would be faster and quite useful to check the average income of translators 30 years ago to see how they compare to our income, adjusting figures for inflation, of course.

Yours is a great comment.


 

David Young (X)  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 00:36
Danish to English
Not sure Aug 26, 2015

I've always used a CAT tool (currently OmegaT) so it's difficult to answer the question. I suspect that the productivity gains from matching segments have been offset by the downward pressure on rates (plus not paying for 100% matches etc) by agencies - one reason I have stopped working for them.
What has increased my productivity significantly is Dragon Naturally Speaking. I'm a slow typist so being able to dictate a first draft is a real boon.


 

Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:36
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Not sure, either Aug 27, 2015

I was quite reluctant to adopt a CAT about two years ago. Now that I have one, I noticed my income has actually grown up a bit, but I can't tell you for sure the CAT has any influence on that, or if it is the regular expected growth and expansion of my client portfolio. The thing is the CAT helps a lot, and I shall keep it. If not for monetary reasons, surely for practicallity.

 


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