Sending TRADOS uncleaned files to an agency
Thread poster: Monica Villa

Monica Villa
United States
Local time: 11:44
Spanish to English
+ ...
Oct 12, 2003

Dear friends,

I recently switched from TRADOS to WordFast as my number one CAT tool preference.

In the past many agencies have asked for uncleaned TRADOS files... a concept I understand, but... can I send the uncleaned WordFast files instead? Will they be just as useful for agency's purposes? Or if the agency asks for uncleaned TRADOS files, do they absolutely have to be uncleaned TRADOS files and nothing else?

Thank you for your ideas. I have read a lot about WordFast and TRADOS compatibility in past forums, but have not found this question specifically addressed.


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to German
+ ...
As long as there are no problems... Oct 12, 2003

Hi Monica,
I'm running translation projects that involve the cooperation of various freelancers on a regular basis. In this context, I also require delivery of pre-cleanup files.

As long as the projects involve Word files, I don't care as long as there are no problems whatsoever upon cleanup. Whether Wordfast can produce .ttx files remains to be seen, though...

Best regards, Ralf


Graciela Carlyle  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
in my experience, yes. Oct 12, 2003

Hi Monica,

I work with WordFast.
I have worked on several projects where the client required uncleaned files (word files)(client with Trados) and there was absolutely no problem.
I even imported the Trados TM into WF and eventually sent my WF TM to them. There was no compatibility problem at all.
This is my experience so far.

Kind regards,


Ivan Eikås Skjøstad  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Try it Oct 12, 2003

I also use Wordfast (4.2), but also own a Trados 6 FL license.

I use Wordfast (4.2) for translation when I am not working with TagEditor. It is the beter choice by far comparing it with Trados Workbench. The reasons can be found on the "CAT fight".

After finishing my translation in Word you can clean up the document in Trados Workbench. This way you produce a Trados TM, and at the same time you prove that your work is compatible with Trados (since they both use the same delimiters). If you experience any problems, you can fix them before sending the uncleaned file and/or the Trados export file(s).

To sum up: I would continue working with Wordfast in Word since they use the same delimiters as Trados. I would on the other hand be a bit careful with importing Trados TM export files directly into Wordfast. For this I would have opened them in Trados first, then exportet the TM as TMX-format. Then imported the TM into Wordfast.

Regarding ownership of work provided by translators: If we start to refuse sending off our TM's produced during translations agencies will only use sofware such as Trados WinAlign to align the originals with the translations, and they will get the same results. Since this will demand extra man power the agencies might need to cut costs, and at the end of the day I am sure that this might effect the payment for the translators...


Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to German
+ ...
Let's stick with the topic, please Oct 12, 2003

Tayfun Torunoglu wrote:

I understand you asked a Technical issue, but there is more important point,

We may use CAT tools to ensure terminologic consistency and enjoy other benefits of using a CAT tool. We are translators not Client database builders-We are responsible only deliver good translations not TMs or unclean files to help agencies or their outsourcers to build TM databases to get stabbed from our back next time.

I would like to strongly object to your post. I will respond to you privately, since we should not stray off the topic - the query posted was indeed technical after all.

Regards, Ralf


Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:44
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
+ ...
Why, Ralf, Oct 13, 2003

I think Tayfun raised a very intersting question, well worth a discussion. Maybe it should be made a seperate thread, though...



Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
English to German
+ ...
Exactly Oct 14, 2003

Hi Uldis,
I think Tayfun raised a very intersting question, well worth a discussion.

No doubt about it - even if we have discussed this several times in the past, it is a very interesting subject. That said, I still strongly disagrees with Tayfun's view...

Maybe it should be made a seperate thread, though...

Spot on.

Best regards, Ralf


iLen  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
English to Chinese
+ ...
Yes, I think so Oct 16, 2003

1. sending Wordfast unclean files to agency is ok, because the formattings in uncleaned files of Wordfast uses the same style definitions and style names as in Trados unclean files, agencies that uses Trados can clean Wordfast translated files correctly without problem. But as Ralf mentioned, Wordfast can not creat .ttx file.

2. I disagree with tayfun about this. I think this is part of our service and this is what a professional should do. If the agency found better professionals to do it, that means we are not good enough, or else we can leave it to our client to judge which one is better. My team always send unclean files as well as TMs to our clients, and we did lost 1 medium sized project, but this make us always stay alert and do better in other projects. So far, most of our partner agencies enjoy great cooperations with us, I think we are doing the right thing.


Marc P (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
German to English
+ ...
Tayfun's mistake Oct 16, 2003

I think Tayfun is making a mistake on this issue.

It is always good to receive reference material from a customer, and I for one would much rather have that reference material in the form of a translation memory than as separate electronic files, or worse, a big pile of paper. I am only going to get a translation memory if the customer has been educated in the benefits of storing data in this form. It is undisputedly in his interests to do so.

I agree that there is a risk that if the customer is supplied with translation memories (or "uncleaned", bilingual files) he will either send future work to a cheaper translator, or begin demanding discounts.

Translators themselves are really to blame for this. There is far too much emphasis on technology, and "having the right software". Obviously, being able to fit the translation stage seamlessly into the customer's workflow process has its advantages for everyone, but in view of the severe shortage of really good translators, that should be a secondary criterion in selection of a translator. It is like choosing a particular doctor because his practice has the most convenient parking facilities.

So, I am happy to send paragraph-delimited TMX files to customers (in return for a modest handling charge), just as I would be happy to receive sentence-delimited uncleaned Trados or Wordfast files as reference material from customers. But a customer who attaches particular importance to receiving the latter rather than the former has, in my opinion, got his priorities wrong, and if I'm unable to re-educate him, he won't be my customer for very long anyway. The unhealthy emphasis on technology degrades professional translators to "Trados operators", and the latter work for rates I'm not prepared to consider.



sylver  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:44
English to French
Comments Oct 18, 2003

1. About the original issue. You can send Wordfast uncleaned files. There should be no problems as long as you do not leave segments with empty targets. (Wordfast may allow you to, but Trados won't. If you want to leave a target segment empty, simply type in 2 spaces) Please see for more information on compatibility issues between Trados and Wordfast.

2. About sending TMs and/or uncleaned files, it is a matter of agreement with the customer. Obviously, if the agency request you to work with a CAT, they are expect to get a TM (or uncleaned files). If you don't agree with that, make sure they know about it before.

(If they don't request a CAT, they won't ask for TM or uncleaned files, obviously.)

Overall, I do consider the agency is well funded to ask for segmented documents. After all, they are supposed to review the translation, and it would be dead stupid to review with 2 separate documents when a segmented file exists.

Yes, I suppose that an agency could move to a cheaper translator, but I doubt the TM would be the cause for such a move. I am not particularly cheap and I can't remember loosing a customer after delivering a large TM, so is it really such an issue? If the agency is going cheap, they will go cheap, TM or no TM.


Tiffany Hardy  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:44
Spanish to English
Why would the agency want the uncleaned TM? Dec 5, 2013

Sorry, this may sound like a silly question and in this thread it seems obvious to everyone that the agency would want an uncleaned TM, but I'm not sure why. I'm relatively new to Trados and I assumed that the translation agency would want your target file along with a clean version of your TM, without all the noise of the edits you've made to the document.

Can anyone clarify?



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