Best affordable CAT tools
Thread poster: bernade

bernade
Cambodia
Local time: 23:57
English to French
Feb 24, 2009

Hello,

What CAT tools would you recommend for a small team of translators within a small organisation with a limited budget. I am looking for something easy to work with.

Thank you

Bernadette


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Nguyen Dieu  Identity Verified
Vietnam
Local time: 23:57
Member (2008)
English to Vietnamese
+ ...
CAT tools Feb 25, 2009

There are many CAT tools available. Wordfast is also a good choice. You can also try free tools such as OmegaT.

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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 23:57
English to Indonesian
+ ...
omegat Feb 25, 2009

- handles common file format, i.e., doc, xls, ppt, (via openoffice.org), html
- cross platform
- (can be) portable
- supports tmx
- spellchecker
- search function
- automatic backup
- did i mention that it's free?


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
OmegaT Feb 25, 2009

I am a Déjà Vu X user, and I'll argue with anyone that DVX is probably the most versatile, effective tool available on the market for a huge range of projects. Even its competitors admit (often very quietly and privately) that it is the gold standard for user friendliness. However, it's not cheap, and all the ROI arguments I can make for my language pair may not apply to you. The Workgroup version is extremely powerful and can create satellite projects which can be worked on with free versions of the program or even as RTF table exports to be translated in a word processor. I've been doing some very productive testing using DVX as a "master repository" and project coordinator for translations which actually get done with Trados or OmegaT, and the results are quite gratifying.

Fast approaching DVX in sophistication is MemoQ from Kilgray. This is an application worth watching. It's cheaper than DVX, and one can get an astonishing amount of useful work done using the free version. A useful mode of working might be to have a full master license for MemoQ and, as with DVX, create satellite projects to be done with the free version of the program until full licenses can be afforded. MemoQ is cheaper than DVX, and with the exception of a few features that matter a lot to me, the technology is more advanced in many ways. The future of this application should be very interesting.

Both DVX and MemoQ offer you a huge range of file formats which can be processed. This may be important for commercial work where many Office and layout formats, etc. must be worked on. OmegaT is very limited in this regard, though those limits are expanding rapidly in some cases, and I expect some technical breakthroughs soon which may considerably expand the scope of projects which can be taken on.

However, despite my initial strong skepticism regarding the Open Source project OmegaT, once I began working with it for tests, I was very impressed by many of its features and by its simplicity. There are a few things which drive me nuts, but one of these - the lack of fuzzy matching for glossary terms - is apparently doing well in beta tests or some such thing and should soon be widely available. I love how fragment matches are displayed and how match insertion functions. The simple organization of projects in folders may be baffling to those who don't know how to navigate folders, but I find it beautifully straightforward. If you understand the limits of the tool and work within them, perhaps include a more powerful commercial tool for project coordination and central management of TM and glossary data, etc., OmegaT is a very serious contender for getting good work done. If your budget is really bad, it may be your only option, but it's an option that will allow you to become familiar with CAT concepts, be productive and decide where you want to go next. And because it is Open Source, there is always the possibility of adding your own extensions of its functionality if you have the skill to do so or work with someone who does.

My affection and respect for the OmegaT project increases the more I work with it. I don't have a lot of patience for the "it's free" line, because in my commercial world, opportunity costs can be huge, and I would probably earn far less as a translator working with just OmegaT in my specialties. That's reality. However, it is also reality that "free" can be damned important if you are in a school or organization that literally has no budget to speak of and needs CAT technology. Kicking off my custom-made, European commercial shoes and putting on ones fitted to the situation of many others, I see that I can walk very far with OmegaT.

[Edited at 2009-02-25 04:16 GMT]


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:57
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
For a team of translators Feb 25, 2009

bernade wrote:
What CAT tools would you recommend for a small team of translators within a small organisation with a limited budget. I am looking for something easy to work with.


If you're a team, and you'd like to try OmegaT, remember that you can share TMs by placing them all in a single location on the network, and always specifying that location as the /tm/ folder when you create new projects. Every time a translator is finished with a project (or anytime inbetween) he renames the exported TM to something useful (eg TranslatornameClientnameDate.tmx and copies it to the /tm/ folder. The other translators' OmegaT instances will use the newly added TMs automatically next time they reload their projects.

Unfortunately OmegaT does not offer the ability to share a live TM. As far as I know, Wordfast Classic does have that feature (it's fairly cheap per licence) but Wordfast is limited in the number of old TMs it can use (in fact, it can't use even one -- you have to merge all old TMs with the current TM into a single file before using it). With OmegaT, you can use an unlimited number of old TMs, renamed to something recognisable.


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Mulyadi Subali  Identity Verified
Indonesia
Local time: 23:57
English to Indonesian
+ ...
client's requirement Feb 25, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

I don't have a lot of patience for the "it's free" line, because in my commercial world, opportunity costs can be huge, and I would probably earn far less as a translator working with just OmegaT in my specialties. That's reality.


i work mostly with office files and html. spending a fortune on trados just to handle these file formats seems to be unnecessary when the free omegat can handle them perfectly. for more exotic format, my clients usually provide their own proprietary tool.
however, in reality, most of the time, certain tool is 'required' by the client. this is where opportunity cost comes in. you have to have 'it' to get the job.
i'm not saying that i'm idealistic because i'm not. i gave in to 'temptation'. i do have trados, lol, although i know that i don't have to use it to provide good translation.


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Volodymyr Kukharenko
Ukraine
Local time: 18:57
Member (2009)
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Anymem Feb 25, 2009

bernade wrote:

Hello,

What CAT tools would you recommend for a small team of translators within a small organisation with a limited budget. I am looking for something easy to work with.

Thank you

Bernadette



You can check AnyMem:

http://www.anymem.com/user-friendly-translation-memory-software/translation-memory-quick-start

It's not expensive and TMX-compatible


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bernade
Cambodia
Local time: 23:57
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much Feb 25, 2009

for all your great comments. I've been working with Multitrans for a few years at work. But I'm leaving and wanted to find something less expensive and with a friendlier support team!

Bernadette


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 16:57
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Thumbs up to OmegaT Feb 25, 2009

Mulyadi Subali wrote:
most of the time, certain tool is 'required' by the client. this is where opportunity cost comes in. you have to have 'it' to get the job.
i'm not saying that i'm idealistic because i'm not. i gave in to 'temptation'. i do have trados, lol, although i know that i don't have to use it to provide good translation.


You need your brain and a pencil for a good translation, but unfortunately these days more is usually expected.

I'm not so much concerned about the client demanding a particular tool as I am about dealing with particular formats. InDesign tagged formats, a Trados TTY and others. That's where the limitations of some tools can begin to hit the pocketbook if you aren't booked full with simpler formats.

With regard to doing DOC files and possibly others through OO conversion: usually it works brilliantly, but sometimes the format is trashed. Particularly with the sort of complex Word layouts I hate most.

In any case, OmegaT is a good tool with potential that continues to expand. I see nothing wrong with using it if the limitations don't cause you economic distress by causing you to miss out on jobs you need. It is very "übersichtlich" as the Germans say: well-organized and easy to get an overview of. If I were to teach an intro to CAT seminar at a school somewhere, I would most likely use this tool.


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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:57
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Depends Feb 26, 2009

Kevin Lossner wrote:

With regard to doing DOC files and possibly others through OO conversion: usually it works brilliantly, but sometimes the format is trashed. Particularly with the sort of complex Word layouts I hate most.


Yes, complex layout in Word documents is problematic, but you may encounter quite similar problems opening the same document in different versions of Word. Excel → ODS and back normally is fine. Unfortunately, PowerPoint → ODP and back is quite often problematic (however, translating PPT files with other CAT tools also causes issues of corrupted formatting).

Note that files in the formats of the latest MS Office (2007 for Windows / 2008 for Mac) can be translated in OmegaT directly without any conversion.


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