TagEditor vs Idiom Desktop Workbench - opinions?
Thread poster: Jan Sundström

Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:52
English to Swedish
+ ...
Sep 5, 2007

Hi all,

For those of you that have worked with both of these CAT tools, I'd like to hear your viewpoints about the pros and cons of either editor.

Assuming that you receive the source files from the Idiom workflow, but have a choice to work in either Trados or Idiom DW, which would you prefer? And why?

Thanks for any input!

/Jan


PS. Be aware that the Idiom Desktop Workbench has changed considerably over the recent years. If you only worked on legacy versions, the flaws might have gotten fixed.
AFAIK, the current version is 8.1:
ftp://dwbrelease:switch2dwb@ftp.idiominc.com/dist/product/desktop_workbench/8.1/DesktopWorkbench_8.1_readme.pdf


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Jan Sundström  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 17:52
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Bump Sep 10, 2007

No Idiom desktop users out there???

/Jan


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Pedro Andrade  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:52
English to Portuguese
Forget Idiom's DW, unless you're forced to use it. Sep 16, 2007

Hi.

I've used Trados for many years and 2 months ago one of my clients completed the migration to Idiom's WorldServer and imposed the Desktop Workbench (version 8.1.0.208) on their translators.
I gave it a serious try and became quite proficient in the use of it, but my final opinion could hardly be worse. In fact, I'm quitting that client because of it.
Please note that the text below refers only to the Desktop Workbench tool. WorldServer may be an excellent globalization management system, but that is of no importance to me as a freelance translator.
After becoming proficient enough in the use of DW (keyboard shortcuts well memorized, etc.), I made some benchmarking and the results were simply awful.
My productivity dropped about 50%!
Here are the main flaws I found in DW:
- The UI design is responsible for a big part of the productivity drop. Having source and target text side-by-side represents a major productivity loss when compared to having the target text below the source text, as happens in TagEditor. This side-by-side design (shared by other applications, like SDLX, I know, but take a look at where SDLX is now) forces the translator to constantly waste time shifting his/her sight/neck from one side to the other. And the increased strain on eyes and neck is quite noticeable after a few hours of work. Don't forget that every time we shift our sight to the other side, we may not notice but our eyes are constantly refocusing. So much for ergonomics.
- With DW, it’s impossible to maintain a local TM. Period. My Trados deals amazingly well with a TM containing +100,000 segments and is quite fast. In DW, with a TM built only with the matches (from that same TM) that came in two translation kits (5,000 segments, not more) the system was already incredibly slow - sometimes taking 5 seconds to return the matches for a segment. As a result, I have to delete my local TM after each job.
- Another major problem with local TMs is the fact that everything is kept. If you amend the translation of one segment, the system keeps both the old and the new translations in the TM, thus accumulating garbage and taking away our confidence.
- The way DW handles tags is impossible to deal with. DW assigns sequential numbers to tags and all you see are these numbers in the text. They forgot that the translator often needs to see what kind of tag it is in order to know how to deal with it in the target text. They do give you the “See in context” option, but it’s really not practical during translation work. The way the system lets us insert and move tags is also not practical – you have to try it to understand what I mean.
- The spelling checker is simply unusable. First, the system doesn’t let us check 1 segment alone, only the whole file (in TagEditor we can have a segment automatically checked on closing it, marvelous). But nobody will be able to use it because it’s simply unbearably slow (I run the software in a very fast Core 2 Duo machine...). My measurements showed about 300 words/minute, yes, I said minute, not second. Ridiculous.
- Concordance checks? Forget it. The only option is an online concordance check made against the TM available on the company’s WorldServer server. No local concordance checks are allowed, but, no problem, because we can't maintain a local TM anyway. Now, is any translator willing to wait for online concordance checks? Even if the company had Google-like technology to serve these concordance checks rapidly, I doubt the delay would be acceptable. There’s the login process, internal processing, returning of the results, variable internet traffic, etc. They don't seem to understand that 3 seconds waiting for the results is already unacceptable for a translator in need of producing 500 words/hour.
- Inserting termbase matches while writing you translation? Forget it as well. Both the TM matches and the termbase matches are numbered sequentially (using the same sequence) and the way to insert them is by pressing CTRL+(match number: 1 - 9). As most of the times the TM matches alone are more than 9 (making the termbase matches have numbers from 10 on), it’s not possible to fetch them using the keyboard shortcuts. Pathetic, as is the idea of fetching termbase results by number – it’s easier to just write them. Especially because the User Interface design doesn’t allow us to have all results in sight at the same time – we have to scroll down the lists. There's no possible comparison between Trados and Idiom’s DW in this area.

Besides these issues, there are also many other details that just kill one’s productivity.
The way I see it, they should be experiencing a massive rejection from translators, but, amazingly, I don’t see that happening. In fact, all the reviews say Idiom provides a tool that rivals any competitor. I find it very strange because I don't even consider they have earned the right to enter the competition! The basic functionality a translator expects simply isn’t available/usable in DW.
I don’t believe they ever tested the software with freelancers.

Kind regards,
Pedro


[Edited at 2007-09-16 15:54]

[Editada em 2007-09-16 22:58]


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Nulli
Local time: 17:52
English to German
I agree with Pedro Sep 18, 2007

Pedro is absolutely right: when you don't have to use Idiom, don't use Idiom. Might be fine for project management, but I'm a translator. Trados is certainly not perfect, but given the choice I would always choose TagEditor, not Idiom's Desktop Workbench.

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