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Which CAT to choose?
Thread poster: Wouter Vanhees

Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
Belgium
English to Flemish
+ ...
Aug 16, 2010

Hi everyone,

I'm looking into the possibilities of investing in a CAT tool, but find it hard to decide which one to choose.

It would be my first CAT tool, and although I realise there's always a bit of a learning curve in the beginning, I'd appreciate a tool that is quite intuitive and not too complex to get started with. It should be able to handle all the usual file formats (MS Office files, Adobe InDesign files, XML, HTML, TMX,...). Another requirement is compatibility with Trados' workflow and specific files (like TTX). I've noticed more and more projects in my language pair require Trados, or at least a CAT compatible with Trados, so this requirement is pretty important.

Of course Trados itself is an option, but after having read the posts here, it seems Trados 2009 is a pretty tough nut to crack, and there seem to be user-friendlier tools out there. It's still on my shortlist though, together with Wordfast Pro, MemoQ Pro, Déjà Vu and Swordfish.

Which one of those would you suggest? Or are there any other ones that fit the requirements (and aren't too expensive)?

Cheers for your input!

Wouter


 

Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:33
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Well, I disagree on that Aug 16, 2010

Glocalise wrote:
...
Of course Trados itself is an option, but after having read the posts here, it seems Trados 2009 is a pretty tough nut to crack, and there seem to be user-friendlier tools out there. It's still on my shortlist though, together with Wordfast Pro, MemoQ Pro, Déjà Vu and Swordfish.
...

Download a test version of Studio (www.translationzone.com) and make your own picture.
The only problem with Studio is, that it is a tool for a wide variety of options and possible jobs, what causes it having tons of options and possibilities. Other tools have mostly the same features, but those are hidden better then in Studio. So what might look simple in the beginning may very fast tur out to be a disaster, if you need to go for something more sophisticaded than just open a doc and translate. BTW, open a doc and translate straight away is also possible in Studio.
So if you will not go for the crazy click-counting way, but build your own picture out of experience, you will see, that Studio is an amazing, easy to use and powerful tool.


 

Fernando Toledo  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 04:33
German to Spanish
A point to be considered Aug 16, 2010

Is how much will you spend the next 10 - 20 years in futures updates.

I don't think you will make a big mistake if you buy one of then: Studio, MemoQ or DVX, etc. But take the "time machine" and see how much you would have spent if you had bought it 10 years ago.


Regards


 

Anja Weggel  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:33
Member (2007)
English to German
Trados 2009 Aug 16, 2010

Hi Wouter,

I am with Jerzy on this pointicon_smile.gif
I started to use Trados with Trados 5 and kept upgraded so now I work with Trados 2009. In the course of my career I also tried Wordfast, Transit and Idiom and I have to say that I am very fond of the 2009 version of Trados. It is a real improvement over the previous versions and better than any of the other tools I tried. In general, I find it to be stable, user friendly and intuitive. It can handle all the formats you mentioned and more. There is also the integrated Multiterm which works mostly well (it sometimes has problems with my Java installation). I virtually translate everything with it.

Of course, no software is perfect so I could tell you what I dislike about Trados, most of these things are preferential though, for example being a Mac user I'd love to have a Mac version of it. I also dislike the way they display the changes in this version. Some things I do not need or find not too useful, like sending packages.

So I would give you the same advice. Test it and look for yourself if you like it. And if you have any questions, feel free to askicon_smile.gif

Happy translating
Kind regard
Anja


 

Kamila Štofirová
Slovakia
Local time: 04:33
English to Slovak
Go for trial versions Aug 16, 2010

Hi Wouter,

When I was facing the same question couple years ago, I cut my short list down to DejaVu and MemoQ, installed a trial version....and chose the lattericon_smile.gif I also use SDL Trados 2007 at work, but greatly prefer the working environment of MemoQ even though I don't have the latest version, whose interface is even nicer.

Every one of us has their own preferences. The answers you'll get will be based mostly on personal experience. Go for the software that gives you the opportunity of free trial. Your own experience is the most valuable factor. This way you can find out if a particular tool meets your criteria (such as intuitive interface).


Good luck in making your decision!

Kamila


 

Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 09:33
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
WordFast Classic Aug 16, 2010

I started practical use of WordFast Classic 3.0 to utilize good points of CAT tools. It was free of charge in those days but now you can do trial translation with rather big files and you can earn without paying. Algorithm of CATs are mostly the same and you can invest on more complex CATs later.

Best regards,
Soonthon Lupkitaro


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Can you tell us a bit more about your work? Aug 16, 2010

I honestly think we have all jumped to conclusions about the tool you need. The tool you need depends on:

A. Whether your customers require or plan to use any tool in particular.
B. The type of work you do (repetitive, non repetitive, reusable stuff in it?).
C. Your budget (not just now, but yearly).
D. Your proficiency in the use of computer tools in general (also, do you mostly use PC or Mac)


 

Kristyna Marrero  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:33
Why not try Wordfast Anywhere? Aug 17, 2010

Hi Wouter,

You can try our free web-based TM tool, Wordfast Anywhere, which will enable you to work on translation projects and access your TMs and glossaries from anywhere you have a web-browser. There is no software to download and install; you can deploy Wordfast Anywhere instantly by going to www.FreeTM.com and registering for a free account. Wordfast Anywhere allows you to share TMs and glossaries with your colleagues and gives you the option to access machine translation and public, donated TM (the VLTM). However, your TM assets will remain completely confidential and are not shared with anyone (unless you invite them).

Start translating now at www.FreeTM.com and be sure to share any feedback you have.

Sincerely,

Kristyna Marrero


 

Wouter Vanhees  Identity Verified
Belgium
English to Flemish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
more info Aug 17, 2010

Thanks very much for all your input so far. It's been very helpful already. To reply to Tomás' questions:


A. Whether your customers require or plan to use any tool in particular: Trados or anything Trados-compatible
B. The type of work you do (repetitive, non repetitive, reusable stuff in it?): depends (mostly non repetitive, but some reusable)
C. Your budget (not just now, but yearly): no set budget, but I don't want to spend too much on yearly upgrades/support
D. Your proficiency in the use of computer tools in general (also, do you mostly use PC or Mac): computer proficiency OK, and I use PC


 

Grzegorz Gryc  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:33
French to Polish
+ ...
Varia Aug 17, 2010

Glocalise wrote:

Thanks very much for all your input so far. It's been very helpful already. To reply to Tomás' questions:

A. Whether your customers require or plan to use any tool in particular: Trados or anything Trados-compatible

Generally almost all CAT tools claim they're Trados compatible but the Trados compatibility may be very tricky.
Practically, I never translate in Trados but I know very well where DVX or memoQ may fail and I know how to avoid it.
It needs some experience.
MQ and DVX are just an example.

BTW, you have 3 Trados file types, i.e. bilingual DOC/RTF, TTX and SDLXLIFF.
The compatibility level is different for different tools.
E.g. memoQ doesn't handle footnotes in the bilingual DOC/RTF, so if you have jobs like that, it's not the right tool for you but it handles TTX in a more human way than DVX.
You should define well your needs.

B. The type of work you do (repetitive, non repetitive, reusable stuff in it?): depends (mostly non repetitive, but some reusable)

You need good and reliable terminology management.
As "terminology", I understand not only the difficult terms but the most frequent ones.
Probably memoQ is the most flexible tool now but you need to understant it's logic, the default options are not necessarily the best.
They're perfect for the English-Hungarian pair but the Polish-French need some modding.
The English-Flemish should work rather well with the default settings icon_smile.gif

C. Your budget (not just now, but yearly): no set budget, but I don't want to spend too much on yearly upgrades/support

The Saas like model is growing now and the annual support is getting frequent.
Sometimes it's worth of it 'cause you see the progress.
BTW, what means "too much"? icon_smile.gif

D. Your proficiency in the use of computer tools in general (also, do you mostly use PC or Mac): computer proficiency OK, and I use PC

In this case, any tool should do the job icon_smile.gif

You should spend some time to test 'em and find the right one for you.
It's very personal.
E.g. I appreciate a lot Wordfast Classic and Metatexis (both are monsters in their class) but I don't like the translation environment in Word, so I don't use 'em.
The permanent Metatexis license is only 140 euro and the updates are free, AFAIK...

Cheers
GG


 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 04:33
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
A bird in the hand... Aug 17, 2010

Grzegorz Gryc wrote:


C. Your budget (not just now, but yearly): no set budget, but I don't want to spend too much on yearly upgrades/support

The Saas like model is growing now and the annual support is getting frequent.
Sometimes it's worth of it 'cause you see the progress.
BTW, what means "too much"? icon_smile.gif


I've always worked with Trados, so I'll stick to that example. SDL Trados release substantial, paid upgrades about every 2 years. SDL Trados Studio is a completely different program, but you could probably expect future versions to be compatible enough with it. So, upgrades are not really obligatory, and you can usually keep working without them.

Upgrades are obviously much cheaper than full versions, and they can be cheaper still from local distributors. So, when you add up 2 years' fees for you SaaS provider (say, 50 euros/month), you might find that you'd be better off getting your own software.

There's the question of paid support - well, I've never used that. The manual, help, support site and forums like this one have helped me solve all problems I've ever had, unless they've been ignored by SDL altogether.

The main thing is: get the software your clients require. Conversions are always risky, as Grzegorz wrote, and they also cost you time.


 

Attila Kosik  Identity Verified
Hungary
Local time: 04:33
English to Hungarian
+ ...
to Trados or not to Trados? Aug 17, 2010

I would go with those who suggested taking your time and using trial versions. Personally I used MemoQ from Kilgray (they are Hungarian, so it was a straightforward choice), Swordfish II - which I simply love for saving two of my projects when my Trados collapsed for no apparent reason - and Trados - which is more or less the industry standard these days. I stuck with Trados (I use 2007 at the moment), because even though it seemed quite expensive - it still is - and is buggy from time to time, it just proved to be the most suitable solution for me.

However, this doesn't mean that the case will be the same for you. I can only suggest that you try out a wide range of products and decide later. You should note by the way, that handling ttx files usually mean no problem for these softwares, TM's on the other hand can prove tricky (as Swordfish for example can manage TMX format only, which can be converted from TMW by Trados only), and that, and terminology management are the real boon of CAT softwares.


 

Michael Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:33
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Everything is more fun in memoQ, Because Brand Matters. Aug 17, 2010

Wouter:

Get memoQ pro. It's the best.

-project management
-TMs
-terminology
-aligning
etc

SDL is losing its monopoly and memoQ looks like it might be just what was needed to finally finish off Trados once and for all.

If you want to really learn more about the different CATs, I suggest that you subscribe to each of their mailing lists. All you need to do is scan the Subjects of the posts ... and you will see a very clear picture emerging from:

TW_users@yahoogroups.com
memoQ@yahoogroups.com
swordfish_support@yahoogroups.com
WF_PRO@yahoogroups.com +
wordfast@yahoogroups.com

Michael

[Edited at 2010-08-17 14:33 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-08-17 15:12 GMT]


 

Grzegorz Gryc  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:33
French to Polish
+ ...
Business models... Aug 17, 2010

Adam Łobatiuk wrote:

I've always worked with Trados, so I'll stick to that example. SDL Trados release substantial, paid upgrades about every 2 years.

It's an exceptional situation now.
Normally Trados and SDLX were delivered every year 'til 2007 and I suppose SDL will try to reestablish this cycle in the future.
Generally the market saturation level is achieved for most software now and the main problem is not to sell new licences but propose upgrades and maintenance services as subscription in order to achieve permanent and stable revenues.
SDL is just a typical example of this situation.

The current 2 year cycle is due to the SDLX-Trados fusion process i.e. the 2007 Suite was a pure extortion (a paid service pack with no serious new functions) and the 2009 Studio was unusable during approx. 4-5 months after the release the because it was marketed prematurely.
The people are not enough stupid to accept the annual Trados tax in these conditions.

So, when you add up 2 years' fees for you SaaS provider (say, 50 euros/month), you might find that you'd be better off getting your own software.

You're right but I don't speak about the Logoport/Geoworkz like crapware.
An example ot the SaaS-like licensing model is Trados Studio Starter but the temporary license model is/was used by many other CAT players (e.g. 3 year Wordfast license or the first Similis approach based on the number of translated words etc.).

There's the question of paid support - well, I've never used that.

I did it.
I had a Trados PSMA and I was disappointed.
In my case (a couple of Pro licenses) the support was not worth the money I paid.
But at least I received the upgrade icon_smile.gif

The main thing is: get the software your clients require. Conversions are always risky, as Grzegorz wrote, and they also cost you time.

It depends.
My standard conversions need just few minutes.
Of course, for very small projects, it's getting frustrating.
For a 15000-20000 word project I work on now it has no impact at all but I work as a human... in DVX... icon_smile.gif

Cheers
GG

[Edited at 2010-08-17 14:43 GMT]


 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 04:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Trados, very probably still a major player Aug 17, 2010

Michael J.W. Beijer wrote:
SDL is losing its monopoly and memoQ looks like it might be just what was needed to finally finish off Trados once and for wall.

I think this is a rather triumphalistic statement. Trados still has a long way to go in my opinion. I just hope the people at SDL listen to what translators have to say about the tool and reshape their development. Kilgray has meant a dramatic change to the better in our team since we decided to buy MemoQ a year ago, but I still see Trados as a major player in the future.... as long as they can keep the pace of other vendors!


 
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