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Which CAT tool do you recommend for a new translation department?
Thread poster: Talerone

Talerone  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:30
Nov 14, 2012

Hi,
I was recently hired to set up a new translation department. I am now asked to provide a list of softwares that the translator(s) could use. So money is not really an object. My main concerns are

-efficiency
-user friendliness

I am familiar with Trados Workbench (which I hear is no longer part of Trados) and Wordfast (updating the glossary seems to be more lenghty then in Trados 2007). I am also hearing a lot of good things about MemoQ...

So my question is, which one of these 3 CAT tools would you recommend in my situation?

Thank you!

Kathy


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Nikolai Muraviev  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:30
English to Russian
+ ...
Hi, Nov 14, 2012

You may find general info here:
http://www.proz.com/?sp=proz_store&store_mode=lsp

At my experience, TRADOS is the most common and reliable CAT system.


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Trevor Chichester  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:30
Member (2012)
German to English
+ ...
Trados Studio Nov 14, 2012

I would highly recommend Trados 2011 Studio. It is MUCH more user-friendly in terms of translation workspace, the recognition software and TM implementation is flawless and on top of this it is the most used tool in the industry, which could make working with other freelancers easier.

Keep in mind I'm also an owner of Wordfast Pro, Omega T, Memo Q, Swordfish and The Translation Workspace (TWS).

In my opinion Trados is the superior product.



Cheers,


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 15:30
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Who will use it? Nov 14, 2012

Talerone wrote:
I was recently hired to set up a new translation department.


* Are the translators generally computer literate?
* What are the usual source text formats and target text formats?


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
More questions Nov 14, 2012

Are the translators in-house or external people?

How many translators do you foresee will be working at any time / simultaneously in the same projects?

What kind of yearly volumes (adding all languages) do you think the software will have to handle?

(May I say that it really strikes me that people so happily recommend a tool without first getting some idea of your needs.)


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
LOL! Nov 14, 2012

Trevor Chichester wrote:
I would highly recommend Trados 2011 Studio. It is MUCH more user-friendly in terms of translation workspace...

Thanks for the laughs Trevor!! It's dead busy here and I really needed it.


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Gyula Erdész
Hungary
Local time: 15:30
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Please be more specific Nov 14, 2012

A couple of questions that crossed my mind after I read your post:

-What is the estimated output of the department? (words/week, words/year)
-Do you need to handle multilingual projects with more than 2-10-50 languages?
-Which file formats do you want to handle?
-How many translators work in the department?
-Do you want to outsource works? Do you need a system to do this?
-Do you want to share your databases on-line among your colleagues and/or your freelancers?

Honestly, I do not think that your post is serious. Establishing a translation department is a bit more than choosing the right freelance CAT tool from 3 options.

Cheers,

Gyula


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Talerone  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:30
TOPIC STARTER
Here are the details Nov 14, 2012

To answer your questions:

I will be alone to start but we need to anticipate bringing in "translation vendors" during busy periods, they will most likely not be on site.

The output will vary since there is high and low seasons.

The content will be mostly related to the marketing and packaging of products.

File formats are Word2007, Excel and PowerPoint.

Translations in only two languages: French and English.

Sharing the database online would be a big plus.

Thank you very much for your help! Really appreciated!

Kathy


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
How about the price? Nov 15, 2012

Hi Kathy,

I don't know if money plays a role here, but it might be worth while comparing the prices for the "corporate" editions of the solutions you are zooming in on (sorry for quoting them in Euro, prices might be different for your market):

SDL Trados Studio 2011 Professional: 2.171 €
MemoQ Project Manager Edition: 1.500 €
Wordfast will probably be the cheapest. Not familiar with it, since I do not really consider it an appropriate tool for me.
You might also give Deja Vu X2 Workgroup a try, which comes for 1180.00 €.

If you intend to work with translation vendors, please bear in mind that not everyone is working with the same software and is not necessarily willing to switch to another tool.
From a translator's point of view, there are two different types of outsourcers: those who leave the choice of tool to you, as long as you deliver something compatible or those who strictly limit you to the use of their tool. If you want to share databases online, it would unfortunately still put you in the second category, since there is no compatiblity between the server systems of the particular tools yet (I hope there will be some day, but I am not too optimistic).

Anyway, good luck with choosing the right tool. I'd advise to try before you buy (yes, all of them can be testdriven).

W.


Talerone wrote:

To answer your questions:

I will be alone to start but we need to anticipate bringing in "translation vendors" during busy periods, they will most likely not be on site.

The output will vary since there is high and low seasons.

The content will be mostly related to the marketing and packaging of products.

File formats are Word2007, Excel and PowerPoint.

Translations in only two languages: French and English.

Sharing the database online would be a big plus.

Thank you very much for your help! Really appreciated!

Kathy


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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:30
English to German
+ ...
Pick any software - as long as you can provide free copies to your vendors Nov 15, 2012

CAT tools pretty much work the same - more or less annoying. I expect my clients to send me a copy of their preferred software at no charge, editor versions / "Lite" versions are welcome. Not being able to do so and to restrict your selection of vendors to users of one specific CAT tool is - forgive me - the dumbest thing a language services provider can possibly do on this planet.

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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
And I would be the last one to use such a "free copy" Nov 15, 2012

Most self respecting vendors will have their own system into which they invested money to buy it and time to master it.
Most of the "free copies" delivered by outsourcers that I have seen had very limited capabilities and slowed me down considerably. Not only do they get me out of my routine, they also cut me off from my resources that I have gathered in several years.

I do not agree with the statement that the choice for a specific CAT tool limits your selection of vendors to that specific tool. As long as you know what you are doing, an exchange of data and projects between different CAT tools is quite feasible, even though you might not achieve 100% compatibility.

My advice is to be as flexible as you expect your future vendors to be, while developing a workflow that suits you.

[Edited at 2012-11-15 05:08 GMT]


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Steven Segaert  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 16:30
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Try one out Nov 15, 2012

Hi Kathy,

As it would just be you to start with, I would suggest you test some of the tools and decide on what you are most happy with to translate yourself.

Most tools have ways of being compatible with other tools. Once you have decided on your own flavour, it is then just a matter of finding out how to import / export documents from different CAT tools in it. You can then ask vendors to deliver files "compatible with XYZ".

You can help that along by sending them source files which you have prepared in your own tool (pre-segmented).

Working with shared translation memories (TMs) is not always a good choice. People have different styles, and using the translations of others for this part, and your own translation for another, usually doesn't do much good for the overall readability of a translation. You'll end up with a mish-mash of styles, and mistakes risk being perpetuated.

Putting these TMs online is again a different thing, and - from what I understand - makes for expensive solutions that need to be supported and maintained. It may be a better idea to maintain and update TM's locally, and to send tmx files (or representative reference files) along with the source files.

I personally maintain a TM per client, and maintain these TMs on the basis of the feedback I receive. This represents some work, but it also benefits me directly when a new project comes in.

In that respect: maintaining a Term Base (a glossary) with the correct terminology for your company is probably a better investment. Many smart companies hire a specialised translator to get the technical terms right, and have the marketing materials done by others. Again, Term Bases can be shared without being server-based.

In your shoes, I would put most effort into finding a few good and reliable freelancers with whom you can build a long-term working relation. You could set a budget for ordering test translations and for proofreading, and also test on file compatibility to make sure you get what you need in the way you need it. If you ask potential translators to proofread eachothers work, you will quickly get a sense of what each of them is worth as a translator and as a proofreader.

With a known number of familair and reliable translators on your contact list, it will be easier to maintain consistency in style and terminology. And it will avoid a lot of headache in case of rush jobs.

For what it is worth, in order to decide how many vendors you may need, 2000 words per day per person is a safe number.

The tool you use is a lot less important than the workflow...


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Talerone  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 09:30
TOPIC STARTER
Made up my mind Nov 15, 2012

Thank you for all this knowledge! I decided on Trados Studio 2011 after a bit of research. Efficiency was on top of my list. You have all been very helpful. Thanks again.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:30
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
On what grounds? Nov 15, 2012

Who told you, and on what grounds, that Studio was more efficient than other tools, or how did you reach that conclusion? It would be interesting to know.

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Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:30
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Wow! Nov 15, 2012

Some years ago I spent a few weeks reading up on different CAT tools and then several more weeks trying out two in particular. Since then I've tested four others fairly thoroughly.

Nowadays it's easier because there's more information out there to help you pick and choose. It's likely to take some time to come to a definite decision because all CAT tools are pretty efficient, and yet they all have some special features that turn them into a favourite tool for a particular translator (or for a particular job).

To learn more you can:

- download most tools as demos to test them.

- watch videos to compare them:
http://www.translatorstraining.com/sito/index.php
http://www.youtube.com/user/CATguruEN

- take courses on CAT tool comparisons:
http://www.proz.com/translator-training/course/2965-comparison-and-analysis-of-cat-tools-trados-wordfast-across-memoq-and-deja-vu

- follow heated discussions:
http://www.proz.com/forum/cat_tools_technical_help/236501-which_cat_tool_is_the_easiest_to_learn_and_use_effectively.html

- and read endless blogs:
http://www.translationtribulations.com/2012/09/memoq-for-trados-studio-users.html
http://localizationlocalisation.wordpress.com/category/cat-tools-comparison/
http://signsandsymptomsoftranslation.com/2012/11/09/memsource/ (disclosure: this one's by me!)

You've made up your mind in 24 hours? I'm speechless!


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