Translator use of Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) tools

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Dr Jérémy Anquetin  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:41
English to French
... Oct 20, 2011

Frankly who wrote this article? Do you have an interest in a CAT tool company or what? What about the cons of CAT tools?

Everything is not as white as you suggest. CAT tools are primarily an good investment for translation agencies, because they can then use TM across many projects and use as many translators as they want (and pressure them to lower their prices at the same occasion...).
I am not denying that CAT tools may be useful for freelance translator (for example, if you have either recurrent similar documents or a recurrent client for which you want to build a homogeneous and constant terminology). But you must calculate precisely your cost, in terms of money and in terms of working conditions for yourself. There are other cheaper and more user-friendly alternatives to TM than using CAT tools.

If you are a freelance translator, you should study the CAT tool question in terms of what good and what problem it brings to you only. It should be a personal choice. If you turn to CAT tool only to please some translation agency, you may be creating yourself the future cause of your deteriorating working conditions, and possibly of your decreasing income...

Be careful, everything is not black and white.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 13:41
French to German
+ ...
Agreeing with you, Jérémy. Oct 20, 2011

Agreeing with you, Jérémy.
My most trusted and long-standing clients NEVER asked me to use a CAT tool (and NEVER asked me whether I had one or not).

And to explore further the "dark side" of CAT tools, given my experience with TMs from agencies for the same client, I must notice that CAT tools will also *consistently* repeat errors (especially terminological ones) and that agencies generally do not care about TM maintenance AT ALL.

[Edited at 2011-10-20 10:24 GMT]


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Mike Sadler  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:41
Member (2011)
Spanish to English
+ ...
This article is wrongly titled Oct 20, 2011

If the article were called, for example, "Why I think CAT tools are wonderful", then fair enough, but for such a one-sided piece of propaganda to masquerade as a "discussion" is a travesty.
I agree with Jeremy. Not everything is black and white. Not even CATs.


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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Thanks for the feedback, Jérémy! Oct 20, 2011

I do not have an interest in any specific CAT tool, but on what CAT tools represent to translators.

Like the overview explains, this article arises from a discussion on CAT tools that took place during the last virtual event for members of the ProZ.com Certified PRO Network.

You have a point in that CAT tools are a good investment for translation agencies. Perhaps you would like to jump in and edit the article to include, as you suggest, some cons of CAT tools. Remember, all translators are invited to add to this article by clicking on "Edit" above (just make sure you are logged in). If you don't know how wiki formatting works, see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Cheatsheet

Thanks again!

Kind regards,

Lucia


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 14:41
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Totally one-sided Oct 20, 2011

I agree with the other posters that this article is disgracefully one-sided. What's more, the "arguments" do not stand up to examination. For example, consider these statements:

"We already have sufficient evidence to state that every professional translator must know how to use at least one CAT tool."

"Another recent poll shows that 32.0% of translators have mastered at least one CAT tool."

So what about the other 68% of translators? If more than two thirds of translators do not use CAT tools, how can we conclude that "every professional translator must know how to use at least one".

Or perhaps the implication is that those 68% are not real professionals.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
The danger of a wiki Oct 20, 2011

Philip Lees wrote:
I agree with the other posters that this article is disgracefully one-sided.


The danger of having a wiki is that users who do not realise that each article is a work in progress will criticise it as if it is a completed, final version. Another danger is that people will complain about how one-sided the article is but will make no attempt to show the other side which they believe to be missing.


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Lucia Leszinsky
SITE STAFF
Thanks for the great feedback! Oct 20, 2011

And thanks Samuel for emphasizing the possibility to contribute to this article.

I have taken some of the ideas posted here and introduced some changes to the article.

Please, feel free to add a "Cons" section to it. I would be very interested in reading more about the drawbacks you found in the use of CAT tools.

Lucia


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 13:41
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Statistics can also lie Oct 20, 2011

ProZwiki says:
In 2007 = 10,881 jobs with at least one CAT tool as required or preferred
2008 = 11,393
2009 = 11,315
2010 = 15,188.


So the *number of jobs* that require CAT tools rose by 40% over 4 years, but what *percentage of jobs* require a CAT tool?

Thanks to ProZ.com's homepage on the Wayback Machine, we know this:

* Between 30 June 2008 and 15 January 2009, 17 844 jobs were posted (so that's approximately 35 000 jobs in total, in 2008). So the percentage of jobs requiring/preferring CAT is only 31% for 2008.

* Between 15 January 2009 and 5 January 2010, 33862 jobs were posted in total. So the percentage of jobs requiring/preferring CAT is only 33% for 2009 (roughly the same as 2008).

* Between 5 January 2010 and 28 January 2011, 49209 jobs were posted in total. So the percentage of jobs requiring/preferring CAT is only 30% for 2010 (roughly the same as in 2009).

So the number of jobs that require CAT tools has increased, but the percentage of jobs that require CAT tools remains unchanged at just under 1/3 of jobs.


[Edited at 2011-10-20 15:02 GMT]


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Philip Lees  Identity Verified
Greece
Local time: 14:41
Member (2008)
Greek to English
Statistics can also lie Oct 20, 2011

Samuel Murray wrote:

So the number of jobs that require CAT tools has increased, but the percentage of jobs that require CAT tools remains unchanged at just under 1/3 of jobs


So are you going to edit the wiki, Samuel? I've edited the part I objected to.

Now I just checked that poll and see that it doesn't actually say what the original wiki entry said. In fact, the real data support Lucia's point of view. So I'll go back and edit it again.

[Edited at 2011-10-20 15:14 GMT]


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Helmaninquiel
Local time: 13:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
CAT tools are useful, but not perfect Oct 20, 2011

I totally agree with all of you.
CAT tools are really helpful, but agencies use them mainly to lower costs.
Some translation agencies don't pay 100% matches, but what about this case:
TRANSLATION
AGENCY
In Spanish:
AGENCIA
DE TRADUCCIÓN
So when we have another segment containing only TRANSLATION we will get AGENCIA, instead of TRADUCCIÓN.
TM is useless.
As Laurent said translations memories are not mantained so translations are consistent yes, but in errors.
I like working with CAT tools: concordance search is fantastic and also having the possibility of viewing the glossary in the same environment.
But still it does requiere work.



[Edited at 2011-10-20 15:35 GMT]


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