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Not feeling comfortable with CAT... Did you experience this?
Thread poster: Sandrine A.
Sandrine A.  Identity Verified

Local time: 00:38
English to French
Oct 7, 2009

I am due to start freelancing in a few months and have been dabbling with CAT for some time. Well, at least free tools or demo modes like Wordfast's.

And while I appreciate the versatility of CAT, I have to admit that I do much better translating the good old way as I have always done, i.e. with Word.

Yesterday I translated a small document using Wordfast (demo mode). Today I am reading the translated Word file and, well, let's just say I can make it a whole lot better! When I use Wordfast, I feel as though I'm sort of losing the overall vision of the text.

Did you experience this? How did you solve this problem? I certainly don't expect to get much work if I don't get round to using CAT.

Your insight will be very much appreciated!

Many thanks,
Sandrine


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Russell Jones  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:38
Italian to English
Checking process Oct 7, 2009

Reading the cleaned Word file is my first step in checking my translation. IMHO using both is an essential part of the quality assurance process.

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 00:38
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Two solutions Oct 7, 2009

Sandrine A wrote:
Yesterday I translated a small document using Wordfast (demo mode). Today I am reading the translated Word file and, well, let's just say I can make it a whole lot better! When I use Wordfast, I feel as though I'm sort of losing the overall vision of the text.


1. Try using Wordfast with paragraph segmentation instead of sentence segmentation.

2. Translate with WF and without WF a few times more, and try to see how you're losing vision. Then try to train your brain not to lose the vision. You are losing the vision because your brain or eyes aren't used to seeing segments separately. Once you get used to that, it'll go better.


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Andreas Nieckele  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 20:38
English to Portuguese
Try something different Oct 7, 2009

Try translating an excerpt from a manual or something similar with lots of repeated sentences and instructions, and you'll see how you will magically start feeling much more acquainted!

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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 19:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Wordfast as assurance of volume of work Oct 7, 2009

Knock on wood, I do not have any CAT tools installed on my machine, but I am still getting enough job offers to keep me busy.

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Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 06:38
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
Welcome Oct 7, 2009

Welcome to the business. Your observations are discerning.

CAT tools are extremely useful for translating technical, legal, and financial texts. They save you a lot of time copying/pasting and will enhance consistent use of terminology and standard expressions.
When it comes to creative texts such as marketing material, descriptive tourist guides, and any other kind of texts where the free flowing mind should be given the liberty to excel; CAT tools are like a chain around your ankles. Then, I find using a CAT tool extremely bothersome for the very same reasons that you have just described.
But, hey, I am an engineer and a technical translator. Without my CAT tools I wouldn't be doing much business.

Have you already decided what kind of translator you want to be?

Sandrine A wrote:

I am due to start freelancing in a few months ....
--snip--
I feel as though I'm sort of losing the overall vision of the text.

Did you experience this? How did you solve this problem? I certainly don't expect to get much work if I don't get round to using CAT.

Your insight will be very much appreciated!

Many thanks,
Sandrine



Samuel Murrays suggestion to segment on paragraphs is a good one.

[Edited at 2009-10-07 13:16 GMT]


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Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 18:38
Member
Spanish
+ ...
You need to try different CAT tools Oct 7, 2009

CAT tools are not for every job. But even if the text is not repetitive enough, I find them useful for segmentation purposes. Also, not all CAT tools are the same, you need to try several before you settle with one, if that even happens. I personally dislike Wordfast very much, dunno why. When I started, I used Metatexis and found it extremely user-friendly and easy to integrate in my workflow.

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Yasutomo Kanazawa  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:38
English to Japanese
+ ...
Not Wordfast but Trados Oct 7, 2009

I've never used Wordfast, so I don't know how good it is compared to other CAT tools, but from my experience using Trados, the most uncomfortable part is when the segment is broken down into little pieces or middle of sentences. In my major language pair, Eng-Jap, I get very frustrated, since the Japanese word order is very different.

For example, if there was a sentence "I go to school", the word order in Japanese would be "I school to go". So, if the CAT tool tears this short sentence into two, "I go" and "to school", I'll have to translate "I school" and "to go", where in the source segment, technically speaking, the target segment (translation) would be a mistake. This is one of the simple examples that I wrote, but if the sentence was three lines long and cut up in five segments, and later a certain part of the segment of the broken pieces appears in a different sentence, the TM already has the memory to the bits of the first translation and 99% would not fit in the context.

Very frustrating and uncomfortable.


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 00:38
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Fix your documents, fix your segmentation rules, fix segmentation Oct 7, 2009

Yasutomo Kanazawa wrote:

I've never used Wordfast, so I don't know how good it is compared to other CAT tools, but from my experience using Trados, the most uncomfortable part is when the segment is broken down into little pieces or middle of sentences. In my major language pair, Eng-Jap, I get very frustrated, since the Japanese word order is very different.


If you don't like the segmentation, I suggest you do something about it.
If you're translating a copied pdf with lots of carriage returns in it (which trados makes a segment boundary), take 1 minute per 10 pages to fix it with search and replace in Word. Ctrl-h, replace ^p with a space.
Otherwise, tweak segmentation rules and, if all else fails, expand segments as you go. CTRL-Alt-PgDn.


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Monika Elisabeth Sieger  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:38
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Try different CAT tools such as Across Oct 7, 2009

Hello Sandrine,
I am working as a freelancer as well and I have tried several of these tools.
I feel quite comfortable using Across, which is for freelancers completely free of any costs.
MemQ is another possiblity, but I must admit that I did not like the layout too much. It is available as a free download as well.
I am a legal translator and so I get very often the same usage of terms again and again. I started from the first day onwards building my own glossary and it is a great time saver nowadays!

After having translated my text I always correct it in a normal Word document and this works fine.

The advantage of such a CAT tool such as Across is that you can build your own glossaries and in comparing it automaically with already translated texts you saved within the system you will soon get a lot of work done by the tool already as it suggests with showing previous translations of the terms or whole passages of a text a possibility on how you might like to translate it.
In Across you can upload even texts and translations from several other CAT tools and programs. So nothing you have done so far is lost.
When I began I found it unnecessary to work with a CAT tool as well. But nowadays I do not want to miss it anymore.
And once you have started your own glossary it makes your working process a lot faster as the glossary will show up automatically in the new text if the system recognizes a term you previously have translated.
I cannot commend on Trados/SDL as I have never tried it. A trial free of charge is seemingly not available.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:38
Portuguese to English
+ ...
I had the same experience Oct 7, 2009

Although I am sure CAT tools are very useful for certain types of documents (the type I usually don't translate!), with many repetitions, etc., I used Trados for around a year because a company I was working for required it. I found it very claustrophobic and limiting. The texts I was doing for this company were press releases, newspaper articles, etc., and to me it was totally unnecessary to use a CAT tool to translate them. After I stopped working for this company I never used a CAT tool again and so far I'm doing just fine.

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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Off topic, but I just have to... Oct 7, 2009

Not feeling comfortable with CAT? You might consider getting a DOG instead

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Milada Major
Slovakia
Local time: 00:38
Member (2010)
Slovak to English
+ ...
Not to worry Oct 7, 2009

As titi-at-home pointed out, you must first decide what kind of a translator you want to be, and what a language pair (pairs) you want to profess.
In my experience, CAT tools are useful with SW localization, technical and medical translations, but not with many other fields. They really do hamper smooth and fast translation flow.
Besides, I think they´ve been primarily designed as EN-to-other-language translation tools, and thus are better suited for translations from EN (or other isolating/analytical language) to other languages than to the other way round, e.g. I translate from SK/CZ (synthetic languages) to EN, mostly legal or business docs, and I´ve hardly come across identical sentences in SK/CZ (in terms of form) in my 15-year translation experience, even docs like contracts, which have essential elements, are produced in such a variety that I would spend min. double the time checking concordance and constant overwriting.
You may still get much work even if you do not master CAT tools.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:38
French to German
+ ...
OT followed ;) Oct 7, 2009

Wolfgang Jörissen wrote:

Not feeling comfortable with CAT? You might consider getting a DOG instead


OFF topic: Meeeow, protesting out loud about such a discrimination.

ON topic: as written in previous posts, you should have a try at different CAT tools (even free software like OmegaT or Anaphraseus) until you find the one that suits you. And please, please, please - don't let anyone fool you about any kind of "mandatory" CAT tool: the TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) format was thought of to ensure data exchange between otherwise incompatible programs.
And experiment with the segmentation rules, yes - this may prove to be very interesting!

[Edited at 2009-10-07 20:16 GMT]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:38
Italian to English
CATS, DOGS and OTher animals Oct 7, 2009

Milada Major wrote:

You may still get much work even if you do not master CAT tools.



If you do want to keep a pet, ease and flexibility of use are two important criteria. Try to find a Helpful And Mostly Simple Tool Everyone Respects (HAMSTER).

Giles


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