Buying CAT tools
Thread poster: Alain Alameddine

Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 12:01
Member (2009)
English to French
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Jun 24, 2009

I've been in the translation industry for two years and I'm quite reluctant to pay $1000+ on CAT tools. So my question is, from your personal experience, how helpful have CAT tools been?

I've also notice a huge price difference between Trados and Wordfast. I've also noticed that much more projects require Trados, not Wordfast. What is the difference due to? And what do you Trados/Wordfast/other CAT tool users recommend?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
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English to Spanish
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"Walk!" Jun 24, 2009

Alain Alameddine wrote:
I've been in the translation industry for two years and I'm quite reluctant to pay $1000+ on CAT tools. So my question is, from your personal experience, how helpful have CAT tools been?


What kind of work do you do? Can you briefly describe it?

[Edited at 2009-06-24 10:21 GMT]


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Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 12:01
Member (2009)
English to French
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TOPIC STARTER
Freelance translator Jun 24, 2009

I'm a freelance translator, I specialize in the business, financial and legal fields.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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English to Afrikaans
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If you're reluctant, don't do it. Jun 24, 2009

Alain Alameddine wrote:
I've been in the translation industry for two years and I'm quite reluctant to pay $1000+ on CAT tools. So my question is, from your personal experience, how helpful have CAT tools been?


They're quite helpful, but you have to decide whether you want to use them for your own personal pleasure or because you're targeting a certain market that uses a certain document format. If you want to target a certain market, then obviously you'd need to spend money to "break into it". If you just want to use CAT to improve your own speed, consistency and translation pleasure, use a free one -- and preferably a simple one, like Wordfast, OmegaT, Anaphraseus, etc. Once you know what CAT tools do, you'll know whether it is worth the investment to pay for a CAT tool.

I've also notice a huge price difference between Trados and Wordfast. I've also noticed that much more projects require Trados, not Wordfast.


If a client uses Wordfast, it is generally not necessary that the translator use Wordfast as well (except if he is using Wordfast Pro). But if a client uses Trados, it is often necessary that the translator often use Trados (or that is what clients think). Trados has more functions than Wordfast. The question is whether those extra functions are the ones you're willing to pay more for.


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Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 12:01
Member (2009)
English to French
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Which free CAT tool do you suggest? Jun 24, 2009

Alright Samuel, thanks for your input, especially for making me think about whether my aim is to target a certain market or to increase my speed/consistency.

About free CAT tools, which do you suggest?


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Volodymyr Kukharenko
Ukraine
Local time: 12:01
Member (2009)
English to Ukrainian
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It depends on what king of files you are translating... Jun 24, 2009

If you are dealing with different file formats like inx, html, sgml and many others, you may really need the huge tools with like Trados, MemoQ, Transit and the like.

But if you are just working in Word and your customers never force you into usage of definite CAT-tool, you may chose simpler and cheaper ones, like Anymem ( http://www.anymem.com/user-friendly-translation-memory-software/translation-memory-quick-start ) or even free ones, like OmegaT ( http://www.omegat.org ).

Actually, you can see the list of known tools here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAT_tools and then decide which one may be suitable for you.

[Edited at 2009-06-24 12:58 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-06-24 13:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2009-06-24 13:42 GMT]


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Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
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English to Swedish
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Free CAT tools Jun 24, 2009

There are several free CAT tools that you can try out, but which you choose to start with depends on your situation.

1. There is still a free version of Wordfast available, but it is the version from 2002 - quite different than the current version. The advantage would be that it is fairly easy to learn and does produce a Trados-compatible format in Word, meaning that you could send your translated files in bilingual format to someone else who use Trados.

2. MemoQ is available as a trial version that will switch to a free version if you do not pay after a month (or it might be 45 days). The limitations of the free version is that you can only use the memory on a per-job basis, which means that for each job, you start with an empty memory.
Using MemoQ in this manner is good if you plan to buy it if you like it, as you can use it with all it's functions for the first few weeks and see if you really need more than a memory function for just the job you do each time.

3. Across is another free tool that you can use, and there are no limitations on the free freelance version, but it might be a bit complicated to install and learn to use.

4. OmegaT is a good free tool, but it doesn't support the MS Office format directly, so you have to convert MS Office files using Open Office before you can translate them. The main advantage with OmegaT is that it can be used in a Linux environment.

There are also a few other free tools, but these are, in my opinion, the best options.

Ulf


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John Jory  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:01
Member (2004)
English to German
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Where CAT tools are useful Jun 24, 2009

CAT tools are most useful with repetitive/similar texts, such as operating manuals, data sheets, etc.

I use Wordfast.
It comes in most useful with one of my clients. Example: The client introduces a new product, and within a few weeks I am typically asked to translate:
a) A press release
b) A flyer
c) A short description for the website
d) An operating manual

As you can imagine, these separate jobs involve many repetitions/similar statements, which makes the translation of b) to d) a lot easier.

If a similar product has been introduced e.g. the year before, my translation memory usually provides even more information, so that the translations are completed even faster.

Quite a few agencies use Trados, but are happy to accept the "uncleaned" Wordfast file (containing both languages), which they simply import into Trados.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:01
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Trados compatibility Jun 24, 2009

Ulf Samuelsson wrote:
1. There is still a free version of Wordfast available, but it is the version from 2002 - quite different than the current version. The advantage would be that it is fairly easy to learn and does produce a Trados-compatible format in Word, meaning that you could send your translated files in bilingual format to someone else who use Trados.


Please note:

1. The files created by Wordfast Classic are compatible with Trados 2007 and earlier versions, but not with the new Trados 2009.

2. The free version Ulf is talking about was a special edition of Wordfast 3.35x, which has no TM limits. You have to ask around if you want it -- the Wordfast people do not distribute it themselves.

3. All versions of Wordfast Classic can be used for free for as long as you want, but there is a TM limit of 500 TUs per TM (you can create an unlimited number of TMs, though (although you can only use one TM at a time)).


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Alain Alameddine  Identity Verified
Lebanon
Local time: 12:01
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Thanks! Jun 24, 2009

Alright, thanks for all the info

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