What is the most widely-used translation software? - suggestions needed
Thread poster: JamesH
May 11, 2009

Hello,
My company is about to launch a new line of business that involves translation of corporate/regulatory filings (Annual Reports & Press Releases, for example) from a number of different source languages into English. We plan to hire some full-time translators for certain languages and then work with freelance translators for the remaining languages.

As part of the process, we have seen demos or trials of WordFast, SDL Trados 2007 and 2009, Deja Vu, and Star.

Each company claims to be among the most widely-used software solutions available, but I'm wondering...

Is one of these software suites used more frequently than the others?
I'm curious about the perspective of both freelance translators and also those working with agencies.

Any input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2009-05-11 14:46 GMT]


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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German to English
Trados May 11, 2009

I would say the most widely used is without doubt Trados. That is not to say it is either the most user-friendly or best. It is the one that most people ask me for - and when I say people I mean agencies. I am not sure about end clients. And before you go spend thousands on it you should know SDL are about to bring out a completely new version that turns the software on its head, meaning the formats are all about to change so anybody using the new version will have to learn a new workflow etc.
Gillian Searl


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
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You'll get what you asked for May 11, 2009

They are all „right“, beause they are all among the most widely-used software solutions available.
Why do you belief that your post, giving no indication on volume, number of languages etc. will give you any useful feedback. What you will get is the full scale of ideas and opinions from different camps in the industry, but definitely not a lot of useful feedback. To provide better feedback, you would have to provide more info.
An even better idea would be to take your problem to some industry experts e.g. www.commonsenseadvisory.com, they might even be able to provide you with professional reports.

Siegfried


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Trados, but what does that matter? May 11, 2009

JamesH wrote:
As part of the process, we have seen demos or trials of WordFast, SDL Trados 2007 and 2009, Deja Vu, and Star. ... Each company claims to be among the most widely-used software solutions available.


Trados is without a doubt the most widely used software. However, for your inhouse translations, surely it does not matter whether the software you use is widely used or not. All that matters is that the end products are useful to your clients, and that you are able to standardise inhouse on your processes.

If you choose Trados, then your freelancers can still use Wordfast or DVX if they want to. If you choose Star (Transit), then your freelancers are forced to use Star, so you'll be limiting your pool of freelancers to those willing to use Star.

If you do use Trados, though, you can ask your freelancers to deliver uncleaned files. That way, the freelancers can still use whatever tools they want to, but you are able to add their translations to your own Trados TM easily. Translators who can't deliver uncleaned files, can then deliver a translation, plus a TMX file. If you use Trados but send your translators TTX files, then you are limiting yourself again, because fewer translators can handle TTX files.

Note that "TMX" is not "TTX"

It is not necessary, surely, that your freelance translators and your inhouse translators use the same system, unless you will sometimes outsource some of your inhouse languages to freelance translators.

The system that will allow you the widest selection of freelancers is a system in which you send the source files to the translators, and require them to deliver either an uncleaned file or a translated file plus a TMX TM file.

[Edited at 2009-05-11 17:06 GMT]


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Sally Loren
Germany
Local time: 15:09
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Trados vs. Wordfast May 11, 2009

Hi James,

Without doubt Trados is the most widely-used of all. But as one of my other colleagues said, it doesn't mean it's the best.

I am a Wordfast Classic user. Wordfast is quite intuitive to use and small (what a rarity these days!) It is basically an elaborate macro which you open in Word itself. You do not have to open yet another application, but use it within Word itself.

Its major advantage is that it is relatively inexpensive compared with the other software (about half the price for a three-year licence.) This is a consideration if you're working with freelancers and indeed in times where pressure is on budgets too.

The terminology or glossaries are stored either in Word as tab-delimited text or in Excel. So all your translators will be able to read them and incorporate them into Wordfast without any problems. You could also theoretically export the lists to customers.

Wordfast is also compatible with Trados, but that is NOT important for you. The end customer is not interested in what you use, they just want the translation. Translation agencies state that they will only accept Trados, but many of them just simply don't know that Wordfast is compatible with Trados too. There are freeware tools to overcome the problems of working with powerpoints and Co. I use it for everything and find it excellent. I've tried working with other translation software and find the user interface tiring to work with (especially when your text is divided into tables.) One software I used didn't even have a spell checker (that cost extra!)

Have a look at the Wordfast website. You can download a demo version and try it out.

Good luck!

Regards

Sally


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Gillian Searl  Identity Verified
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Catch up time May 12, 2009

"If you choose Trados, then your freelancers can still use Wordfast or DVX if they want to."

It will take Wordfast and DVX time to catch up to the new Trados when it is launched in June.
Gillian Searl


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
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Don't bet on it May 12, 2009

Gillian Searl wrote:
It will take Wordfast and DVX time to catch up to the new Trados when it is launched in June.


Not really. The XLIFF format used by the new SDL Trados Studio 2009 can be dealt with in the existing technologies for handling XML in many other tools. Moreover, I believe there are active efforts at filter development for the "packages".

The topic poster's sparse information will indeed get him little useful information. There is no indication, for example, of how he plans to operate this new business. Are there plans to maintain resources on a server or run projects from there with multiple translators? If yes, then a number of tools are cut from the running at the start.

With SDL Trados about to introduce a radically different tool which is in many ways not backward compatible, it's rather silly at this point to talk about the market share of any tool as long as the company is established and likely to be around for a while. The most important issues should be standards compliance, stability and - if relevant - server technology.


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Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
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Another issue... May 12, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:
With SDL Trados about to introduce a radically different tool which is in many ways not backward compatible, it's rather silly at this point to talk about the market share of any tool as long as the company is established and likely to be around for a while.


This poses yet another problem - if you invest in the old version (2007 Suite) you will soon find yourself with a tool which is outdated and not compatible with new versions. On the other hand, if you buy version 2009, you get yourself a solution which is practically unproven and which may poses problems for which there are no solutions yet (2007 has its share of quirks and issues, but for most of them solutions or workarounds have been found).

Anyway, the decision has to be made based on information which you have not provided. One has to analyze your (planned) workflow, volume of work, planned number of suppliers, even the specifics of the typical texts (repeatability, versioning, etc.). I, for one, would be very wary to advise a specific solution based on such scant information.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
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Trados... May 12, 2009

...as they are setting the standard in translation memory tools. You can of course go for a "compatible" tool. The question is simply a matter of budget. How much do you have for this investment?

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Intergraf  Identity Verified
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Setting the standard?? May 12, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
Trados...
...as they are setting the standard in translation memory tools.


And just what flavor Kool-Aid did they give you?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
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Kool-Aid May 12, 2009

Intergraf wrote:
And just what flavor Kool-Aid did they give you?


Very probably they are enjoying Kool-Aid with my money, but... Luckily I don't get paid for my opinions, so I can say whatever I please. Cheers!

If you think Trados is not setting the pace in TM technology, I encourage you to explain why! It would be interesting reading.

[Edited at 2009-05-12 10:09 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Let's wait for June before we say that May 12, 2009

Gillian Searl wrote:
Samuel wrote:
If you choose Trados, then your freelancers can still use Wordfast or DVX if they want to.

It will take Wordfast and DVX time to catch up to the new Trados when it is launched in June.


Who knows? I have seen too many broken promises (and threats) from software developers to put much faith in them until the product is actually released. I would be very surprised if the new version of Trados is incapable of incorporating uncleaned files in its workflow.


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Aniello Scognamiglio  Identity Verified
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The question was May 12, 2009

"Is one of these software suites used more frequently than the others?"

The answer is "YES", it is...

The undisputed market leader in terms of market share is SDL Trados which does not necessarily mean that it is the most reliable and userfriendly CAT system.

According to a 2004 survey by the Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA), Trados held an estimated 71% global market share among LSPs.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SDL_Trados

Best,
Aniello


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Intergraf  Identity Verified
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The most "popular" may not do what you need... May 12, 2009

JamesH wrote:
As part of the process, we have seen demos or trials of WordFast, SDL Trados 2007 and 2009, Deja Vu, and Star.

You might want to take a look at MemoQ as well ( http://www.kilgray.com ). It has a server edition and some interesting licensing options for its corporate users.

Is one of these software suites used more frequently than the others?
I'm curious about the perspective of both freelance translators and also those working with agencies.

It doesn't matter which is used more frequently by freelancers or agencies. What should matter to you is which suits your purposes best, since your staff will have to work with it day in and day out. Freelancers and agencies can adapt to whatever you choose.

Several people have mentioned Trados. A lot of people do use it, but I suspect that many got locked into it back when it was one of the few CAT tools on the market.

Many agencies want their freelancers to use Trados and may even list it as a requirement, but most freelancers I know handle Trados jobs using other tools. Some of them may even own a Trados license, but that doesn't mean they actually use it to get their work done -- unless it's such a fiddly job that it absolutely must be done in it...

Kevin Lossner wrote:
The XLIFF format used by the new SDL Trados Studio 2009 can be dealt with in the existing technologies for handling XML in many other tools.

I think I read somewhere that their new format doesn't conform to established standards, but my memory could be faulty. However, standards-compliance on the part of the various CAT tools may be something James might want to look into as well.

Siegfried Armbruster mentioned the Common Sense Advisory site, and they have a report that might be of interest -- Evolution and Revolution in Translation Management at http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/research/report_view.php?id=65 -- but it's almost a year old, and that's an eternity in the CAT tool world.

They also do consulting -- see details at http://www.commonsenseadvisory.com/consulting/consulting.php .

Another source for advice is Jost Zetzsche, a translator and translation/localization consultant who is well respected in the industry. You can read about him at http://www.internationalwriters.com/aboutus/jost.html .

Good luck in your search for the best CAT tool for your company! It's not a decision that should be taken lightly, since you'll be using it for years to come.


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Intergraf  Identity Verified
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MemoQ and DVX, for two... May 12, 2009

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
If you think Trados is not setting the pace in TM technology, I encourage you to explain why! It would be interesting reading.

Here's an excerpt of an article by Jost Zetzsche which was reprinted on Kevin Lossner's blog (you can read the entire post at http://simmer-lossner.blogspot.com/2009/04/memoq-35-march-of-progress-continues.html ):
Rememo Me?
(republished from The 137th Tool Kit - Premium Edition
© 2009 International Writers' Group)

For the last few months I have been keeping tabs on MemoQ's latest releases, which have come out with refreshing regularity. Every so often there was enough interesting material to write about, but I always held out. Until now.

This last week MemoQ 3.5 was released, and here are the new features according to Kilgray (the Hungarian company behind MemoQ):

· Longest substring concordance
· Wildcard concordance and wildcard in terms
· STAR Transit filter
· Bi-directional language enhancements
· Horizontal edit view
· XML preview feature
· PowerPoint 2007 filter
· Drastic server speed improvements

I downloaded the new version and specifically looked at the first three features, which I found truly ground-breaking.

Now, not everybody likes MemoQ - especially many DVX users, who don't want to give up some of the features they've come to rely on over time and which MemoQ doesn't have as yet. Only time will tell which ones might get implemented, and when.

So I'd say those two CAT tools are leading the pack right now - maybe not in market share yet, but certainly in technology.

Déjà Vu X - http://www.atril.com
MemoQ - http://www.kilgray.com


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