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Why is Trados important?
Thread poster: kylefoley76
kylefoley76  Identity Verified
United States
German to English
Oct 25, 2010

I don't get why so many outsourcers require Trados. I'm very skeptical that machines can assist in translation after seeing Google translator which is supposed to be the best.

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Angela Dickson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:20
French to English
+ ...
Misconception Oct 25, 2010

kylefoley76 wrote:

I don't get why so many outsourcers require Trados. I'm very skeptical that machines can assist in translation after seeing Google translator which is supposed to be the best.


Computer-aided translation (CAT) is not the same as machine translation (MT). I strongly suggest you Google both terms in order to find out the difference.


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Walter Blaser  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 21:20
French to German
+ ...
You don't seem to know what CAT is about Oct 25, 2010

Kyle

CAT stands for "computer-assisted translation" and is not the same as "machine translation" because with a CAT toll the translation is still done by a human translator and not by the machine. The machine only assists the user by comparing what he wants to translate with contents he has translated previously and suggesting translations whenever it finds a similar sentence (a so-called match). The whole approach is about leveraging or - as some call it recycling - existing translations. The basic idea is to avoid retranslating from scratch sentences that you have already translated and increase your productivity. This approach pays off best for documents that are a revision of already translated content.

CAT has become a standard tool for most translators years ago already and I cannot imagine how one could do without it, at least not in the near future. The reason is that the volume of the content that needs to be translated is still growing while at the same time the price that the client accepts to pay for the translation work decreases. This means that the only way to solve this problem is to increase productivity and CAT tools are one of the means to achieve this. Also, I am convinced that MT will be the next tool that will be increasingly used and that we shall not be able to avoid.

Walter


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kylefoley76  Identity Verified
United States
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
supply and demand Oct 25, 2010

I don't see how this can be true

The reason is that the volume of the content that needs to be translated is still growing while at the same time the price that the client accepts to pay for the translation work decreases.

It seems to violate supply and demand, then again technology does seem to drive down costs, just look at computers.


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kylefoley76  Identity Verified
United States
German to English
TOPIC STARTER
btw Oct 25, 2010

By the way, is the volume growing faster than the number of translators?

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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 21:20
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
two points Oct 25, 2010

(1) You actually do not need a CAT tool for translating, as well as you do not need a tractor for farming.

(2) An outsider's view may be refreshing sometimes, I admit. But I do not feel yours is.

Antonin


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:20
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Volume vs. quality Oct 25, 2010

Yes, a CAT tool may be useful if you are a volume translator doing repetitive, boring translations that require no stylistic or literary ability. No doubt the remuneration for that type of work is being forced down because potentially, it could in fact be done by a machine and the translator is not much more than just a software operator. The assumption is that regardless of context or nuance, you would always translate the same word, phrase, or statement in exactly the same way - as a machine would. This is very important in standardised documents that leave absolutely no room for any interpretation and indeed where it would be detrimental for the translator to do any interpretation at all.

But a CAT tool is irrelevant and not usable if you are a quality translator working on documents that require interpretation and a good ability to understand different writing styles in your source & target languages. The remuneration for this type of work is constantly increasing because not many translators are skilled enough to be able to do it.

In other words there are 2 types of translation. I find I do a mix of both, though the second type is infinitely more rewarding - culturally and financially. But I don't use CAT tools for either. In the case of repetitive work I find I can handle many of the repetitions by creating macros in MS Word that will race through a document (or documents) and translate every instance of a word or phrase in exactly the same way. My impression is that CAT tools are a somewhat more sophisticated version of that.

[Edited at 2010-10-25 17:38 GMT]


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JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:20
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
completely agree Oct 25, 2010

with Tom !

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:20
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Supply and demand Oct 25, 2010

kylefoley76 wrote:
I don't see how this can be true. It seems to violate supply and demand.

Yes, demand has gone up, but so has the supply of people wanting to become translators (like yourself). 30 years ago, few colleges or universities offered courses in translation. These days, dozens do. Good statistics are hard to find, but one bit of evidence is the huge number of people on ProZ. Another is the downward pressure on rates in certain overcrowded language combinations, notably in FIGS (French Italian German Spanish).

E-mail has made it much more feasible for people to set up at home as freelance translators. It is also an attractive job -- no boss, working from home, hours of work your own choice. In short, the current situation is a classic example of supply and demand.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 21:20
English to Czech
+ ...
:) Oct 25, 2010

Antoní­n Otáhal wrote:

(1) You actually do not need a CAT tool for translating, as well as you do not need a tractor for farming.
Antonin


This one's brilliant, Antonín.


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apk12  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:20
English to German
+ ...
Agree, absolutely Oct 25, 2010

Tom in London wrote:

...

But a CAT tool is irrelevant and not usable if you are a quality translator working on documents that require interpretation and a good ability to understand different writing styles in your source & target languages. The remuneration for this type of work is constantly increasing because not many translators are skilled enough to be able to do it.
...


Agree, absolutely. Moreover, if you take a look at the segment matches and "proposals" e.g. server-based CAT tools return (on sites where many translators contribute), you will soon find that the so-called "increased productivity" comes along with an increased amount of distraction and time-loss due to extremely less-than-satisfying entries there, tractor-like entries that disturb your work more than helping or accelerating in any way.

Translation - as long as you prefer to translate other content than pure, let's say, onlineshop databank entries - is simply a question of quality not quantity, this is not working at an assembly line, or otherwise you see exactly this in the result immediately. Besides, I doubt that CAT tools usage really does best for a translator's everyday training of his/her memory skills and critic abilities (needed in order to find the best proposal of those your own brain suggests).

If interested, having some spare time and fun with it - feel invited to join and warm up some "fundamental debates about CAT tools and MT in translation in general". like here or here - or, as a lighter sight of the debate turning to a funny talk in spare time, here



[Edited at 2010-10-25 18:27 GMT]


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Antoní­n Otáhal
Local time: 21:20
Member (2005)
English to Czech
+ ...
disagree Oct 25, 2010

Tom in London wrote:
But a CAT tool is irrelevant and not usable if you are a quality translator working on documents that require interpretation and a good ability to understand different writing styles in your source & target languages.


It is an ambitious statement, and untrue. Most of my work consists of translating books of fiction and I find my CAT tool both relevant and usable. If I remain the master and the computer my servant, it is your argument that is irrelevant.

Actually, it is my CAT tool that lets me concentrate on the substance of translating, without losing time on trifles around.

Antonin


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Maciek Drobka  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:20
Member (2006)
English to Polish
+ ...
A black-and-white view Oct 25, 2010

Tom in London wrote:

Yes, a CAT tool may be useful if you are a volume translator doing repetitive, boring translations that require no stylistic or literary ability. No doubt the remuneration for that type of work is being forced down because potentially, it could in fact be done by a machine and the translator is not much more than just a software operator.

(...)

But a CAT tool is irrelevant and not usable if you are a quality translator working on documents that require interpretation and a good ability to understand different writing styles in your source & target languages. The remuneration for this type of work is constantly increasing because not many translators are skilled enough to be able to do it.


There is a vast area of grey between the two extremities you have described, Tom, and the picture you have drawn is very simplified and does little justice to different types of work currently on the market.

While I am not a literary translator, and mainly do a combination of marketing and technical texts, I have seen my average hourly rate nearly double over the past 4 years. And CAT has played a role in that.

I agree with Antonin that if the translator remains the master, and the computer/CAT tool the servant, the CAT tool can be be a major advantage in the translator's toolset.

Maciek

(Edited for a garbled quotation.)

[Edited at 2010-10-25 22:09 GMT]


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Some questions Oct 26, 2010

kylefoley76 wrote:

I don't get why so many outsourcers require Trados. I'm very skeptical that machines can assist in translation after seeing Google translator which is supposed to be the best.


Just some questions:

Your profile identifies you as an SDL Trados user, so CAT technology should not be exactly new to you. Where do you see the shortcomings of such a tool and in how far do you or don't you understand the demand of your clients? What would be your idea, e.g. to guarrantee terminological consistency when multiple translators are used? And what exactly are your expectancies and objections when it comes to machine translation applications like Google Translate?

Of course you are right at some point: technology is aimed to simplyfy our or somebody else's life, and driving down costs is something that comes with it. This might not always be a negative thing, but since you obviously think it is, what is your alternative concept?


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:20
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
No need Oct 26, 2010

kylefoley76 wrote:

I don't get why so many outsourcers require Trados. I'm very skeptical that machines can assist in translation after seeing Google translator which is supposed to be the best.


I am glad that there are people like you working in the field. Your services seem to be reasonably priced and you know many languages.

This is good.

You are not an outsourcer, you don't need to understand why they require Trados. I am glad you are not using it. This allows me to sell my services to these outsourcers at a higher price.

This is good for me.

One of the speakers said at RuhrKo 2010, "I am mainly interested in profit". A second speaker focused on positioning as the key to success.

If you concentrate on your many languages and not using software tools and I am concentrating on just 2 languages and the help of software tools, we both position ourself in defined markets and will never target the same customers.

This is good for both of us.


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