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What is the point of TRADOS?
Thread poster: Allesklar

Allesklar  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 21:15
English to German
+ ...
Apr 25, 2008

I have just bought Trados in the last TGB and can't help thinking of emperors and new clothes.

I got some .ttx files recently and after all the suggested workarounds for doing them in Wordfast turned out to be too much of a pain, I decided to bite the bullet. As far as I can see now, I need to juggle between 3 different applications and I am just amazed at how many things I never needed to know about when translating in WF.

I know that things might smooth out as I learn more about it, but is it really worth the bother? Even importing an Excel glossary which takes less than a minute in Wordfast becomes this whole production and the rest of the workflow also seems unnecessarily complicated.

Are there other people here who have migrated from Wordfast to Trados and can explain the benefits (if there are any)?


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Sergei Tumanov  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:45
English to Russian
+ ...
you did not trust Apr 25, 2008

other people.

Now you see yourself. I regret to say that the price is too high...

I have migrated from Trados to WF for the reasons...
But you know Wordfast benefits, don't you?

[Edited at 2008-04-25 05:40]


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Allesklar  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 21:15
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Well... Apr 25, 2008

the idea was to keep using WF for the bulk of my work and have Trados for files that I couldn't handle otherwise.

Of course, with Trados being so appallingly inefficient (or me being so appallingly inefficient with Trados), it turns out to be easier to just pass up those ttx files and do more of my normal work.

Still, the money wasn't such an issue since I claim it on my tax and who knows, maybe it turns out to be useful at some point. I am still puzzled at running all these applications separately however - what is that supposed to be good for and why don't they integrate them? And what about those intricately complicated file formats for glossaries and TMs and all the indexing files and what have you that go with them - are they actually doing anything useful or are they just there to prevent third party applications from handling them?

[Edited at 2008-04-25 06:54]

[Edited at 2008-04-25 07:03]


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:45
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Answer to that one is very easy: Apr 25, 2008

And what about those intricately complicated file formats for glossaries and TMs…


Not to let other parties develop compatible applications, to have you and other users shell out big bucks for purchasing and upgrading (as newer versions are not back compatible to older). This all is called marketing.


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 12:45
German
+ ...
Reasons Apr 25, 2008

Allesklar wrote:

I am still puzzled at running all these applications separately however - what is that supposed to be good for and why don't they integrate them?

This has historical reasons. It started out with the Workbench as tool to be used with MS Word. Then MultiTerm came along and finally the TagEditor. They may integrate all those programs in the future, although for some tasks, I'm glad I don't have to run a bloated all-in-one program.

And what about those intricately complicated file formats for glossaries and TMs and all the indexing files and what have you that go with them - are they actually doing anything useful or are they just there to prevent third party applications from handling them?

They use those for two reasons, presumably: to enhance performance and to keep away the competition.

And the complexity of those TTX file jobs is mainly due to the intricacies of the source file format, isn't it?


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OlafK
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:45
English to German
+ ...
forum postings Apr 25, 2008

In the most recent forum postings 11 out of 20 are about Trados and most of the rest about other technical problems. Translation quality, business questions etc. seem to become insignificant in comparison. Maybe you should get your priorities right, dump agencies that force you to use certain tools and concentrate on translating and earning a living in the process.

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gianfranco  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:45
Member (2001)
English to Italian
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Good news: the software comes complete with manuals Apr 25, 2008

OlafK wrote:
In the most recent forum postings 11 out of 20 are about Trados and most of the rest about other technical problems.

And 10 out of those 11 have never opened the manual and not even bothered to search for a solution in the forum, where the same (often trivial) problem has been already discussed and solved.

bye
Gianfranco




[Edited at 2008-04-25 14:06]


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 12:45
German
+ ...
Never trust statistics... Apr 25, 2008

OlafK wrote:

In the most recent forum postings 11 out of 20 are about Trados and most of the rest about other technical problems. Translation quality, business questions etc. seem to become insignificant in comparison. Maybe you should get your priorities right, dump agencies that force you to use certain tools and concentrate on translating and earning a living in the process.

Well, most translators seem to be using Trados - the "problem density" may be even worse for competition products, but we don't get to see that because so few people use them...also, with certain products such as WordFast, the average translator cannot even handle certain, complex projects, so of course they don't have any questions or issues.

There's another thing that your "statistics" might show, and that is a lack of business savvy or just interest in business things on the part of many translators. That may be worth looking into...

Regards,
Benjamin

P.S.: I'm with Gianfranco.

[Edited at 2008-04-25 14:18]


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Allesklar  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 21:15
English to German
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TOPIC STARTER
Why I started this thread... Apr 25, 2008

tectranslate wrote:
with certain products such as WordFast, the average translator cannot even handle certain, complex projects, so of course they don't have any questions or issues.

There's another thing that your "statistics" might show, and that is a lack of business savvy or just interest in business things on the part of many translators.


That's what I was trying to get at in this thread (apart from having a good old whinge):
What are those certain complex projects (a rough outline will do)?

And "lack of business savvy" is me all over but I'm willing to learn, so an example of Trados being useful you in your business where Wordfast folds would be very appreciated - just to kindle my interested in reading that manual, which so far has had a rather soporific effect on me.

Thanks for replying everyone


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tectranslate ITS GmbH
Local time: 12:45
German
+ ...
Formats Apr 25, 2008

Allesklar wrote:
That's what I was trying to get at in this thread (apart from having a good old whinge):
What are those certain complex projects (a rough outline will do)?

Well, unless you're a tech wizard who is great at inventing conversion algorithms, programming macros where necessary, modifying files using complex find-and-replace patterns etc. Wordfast is no good for:

  • most DTP formats such as PageMaker, FrameMaker, Quicksilver, Quark Xpress, InDesign (all of which are supported by Trados/TagEditor)
  • all tagged file formats such as SGML, XML, dunno about HTML (I guess, again, it comes down to the translator's proficiency in making these work in WordFast - I know the PlusTools are somewhat helpful here)
  • certain localization files such as .properties and .rc files etc.
  • projects involving a great number of individual files (can be combined using SDL Trados Glue, making it much easier to maintain consistency)
  • Powerpoint and Excel files
  • etc. etc.

Obviously, all this comes at a price - even with the SDL Trados software at hand, you still need to delve into the workings of tags and stuff to be able to work efficiently and produce quality output, but that can't be helped with software. The intelligent one is still the guy sitting at the mouse and keyboard, not his computer. If it were intelligent enough to rid you of all this, you'd probably be out of work.


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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:45
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nice one Apr 25, 2008

gianfranco wrote:

OlafK wrote:
In the most recent forum postings 11 out of 20 are about Trados and most of the rest about other technical problems.

And 10 out of those 11 have never opened the manual and not even bothered to search for a solution in the forum, where the same (often trivial) problem has been already discussed and solved.

bye
Gianfranco




Couldn't help smiling ....


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Allesklar  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 21:15
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Formats Apr 26, 2008

I have done HTML files in Wordfast without a hitch, there might have been some xml files as well at some point and that all was fine.
Any Excel and PowerPoint jobs I have had to date could just be copied and pasted as text without too much of a hassle, but apparently there is a new macro template called Werecat which imports them into and out of Wordfast - haven't tried that yet but it seems to work for some.

Don't know how useful the gluing of files is going to be, I have found opening and closing files and translating them with the same TM and glossary quite satisfactory.

And the clients I work for usually send me any DTP jobs as a text table in Excel or Word, which they then put back into the original. As I understand it, even Trados translated DTP files have to be reformatted manually because the length of the text changes, line breaks get switched around etc. Same goes for localisation files, the ones I have had all came as Excel tables and got re-imported on the client's side, never seen a .rc file.

I'm not saying Wordfast is perfect, though. One annoying thing that started to happen is that since I have let my main TM get a bit large (20000 TUs or so), some segments are not recognised by the fuzzy logic although they come up as 100% matches in a concordance search.

So far, these ttx files were the first thing I have come across in three+ years of full time translating I needed Trados for - and I could have even quite easily given that job a miss, I just took it on to expand my horizon a bit. So the issue for me to work out now is how far I want to take this and whether the additional complexity of Trados will be justified by any benefits. It will have to happen in my spare time though, because I still have some translating to do.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:45
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Problem density, etc. Apr 26, 2008

OlafK wrote:
In the most recent forum postings 11 out of 20 are about Trados and most of the rest about other technical problems.


Trados is a "technical problem" How appropriate.

tectranslate wrote:
Well, most translators seem to be using Trados - the "problem density" may be even worse for competition products


You're possibly right on that when it comes to Star Transit and a few others, but certainly not for more logically designed, integrated software like Déjà Vu - and Wordfast it would seem (though I don't know that from personal experience). As you know from our many discussions on the subject, I can use most of the modules/features of Trados, but I choose to do the work with other tools because of the appallingly clumsy workflow in SDL Trados. All the manual reading, all the spam mail propaganda and phony certifications in the world won't change that. Like many small German software companies, Trados outsourced the development of many of its modules, and I doubt that even with the added resources of SDL the company has the will or the skill to weave them all together into a user-friendly whole. It's easier to send out another batch of fear-invoking spam mail to send the user base scurrying to buy the latest upgrade.

Given the abusive, manipulative marketing tactics of SDL Trados I think it is appropriate to follow any reasonable alternatives. In many cases the alternative tools and workflows produce "Trados-compatible" results that are every bit as "good" as if they had been done with the original Dark Side software, and the translator can save a small fortune in upgrade fees and a lot of grey hair.

As for the hint at RTFM for those with Trados troubles, I strongly believe that good software should follow certain basic, intuitive interface principles which require very little resort to manuals. Such principles have led to a transformation of the computing world, which used to be a ghetto for those with a taste for adolescent arcana but is now open to use by the majority. Trados has too much teenage arcana about it, and if it weren't for the marketing fantasies that the company dreams up to entrap users, its market share would have collapsed long ago.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:45
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree Apr 26, 2008

OlafK wrote:

In the most recent forum postings 11 out of 20 are about Trados and most of the rest about other technical problems. Translation quality, business questions etc. seem to become insignificant in comparison. Maybe you should get your priorities right, dump agencies that force you to use certain tools and concentrate on translating and earning a living in the process.


I agree - it seems Trados has taken over, and I even posted a thread about this recently. Since then, I am simply telling translation companies that I don't use CAT tools. I'm hoping I can hold to that and not be forced to buy one.


Amy


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 12:45
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I have to admit I search the forum first... Apr 27, 2008

If I have trouble with Trados, I note the error number and search the Proz.com forum before I start poking about in the manuals, let alone the Trados help site. It is just too difficult to find what I need in the 'official ' places!

So THANKS to Ralf Lemster, Jerzy Czopik and all the others who have taken the time and trouble to explain how to solve the issues - concisely and effectively. I rarely need to post new questions.

I can't do without some kind of CAT tool - or prefer not to. I miss both Trados and Multiterm when clients send PDF files that cannot be converted by OCR. But I have never tried anything other than Trados and a really awful client-specific system which, believe me, was far worse.

I am beginning to think I should go over to Wordfast, however.

My 2 cents...


[Edited at 2008-04-27 10:18]


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