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Opinions solicited: Trados vs Wordfast?
Thread poster: mkirkland

mkirkland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:45
Spanish to English
May 5, 2009

I am looking into options regarding Translation Memory software and wanted to solicit opinions of those who have used either or both: which program is better?

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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
make your own impression May 5, 2009

Why don’t you try free trial/demos of both?

As for me I think that WF classic (not standalone PRO) is
1) the tiniest ever == very portable (~1.5MB);
2) process via MS WORD (quite visual and flexible);
3) less tricky settings and setting-up procedures;
4) good compatibility with other (industrial) standards;
. . .
Also you might consider using free CATs.
Certainly, it’s just my subjective sentiment

Cheers


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 19:45
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Look farther May 5, 2009

Both packages are undergoing a major change to completely new interfaces, so comparisons will be largely irrelevant for you if you don't currently use a CAT tool.

If you want to see for yourself how different packages work on the same task, it's worth investing a few dollars in a year's subscription to TranslatorsTraining.com.

I've been a big fan of DVX for years and use it for most of my work (see www.atril.com), but I think for commercial CAT tools, MemoQ currently has the most to offer at the best price.

If you just want to become familiar with basic CAT concepts and do a little work with a simple tool while you consider the return on investment for something better, by all means have a look at OmegaT.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Can you describe the type of work you do? May 5, 2009

That way we might be able to tell you what tool is best. If you don't expect an intensive use of CAT tools, you might want to go for a cheaper piece of software. If you expect heavy CAT use, you might want to go to a more industrial app like Trados.

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mkirkland  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:45
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
freelance as well as salaried work May 5, 2009

These repsonses have been so helpful! Thank you all!

I have a two-fold reason for investigating TM software. One reason is that I am currenly working on my Master's degree in Spanish and my thesis project will be in literary translation. Upon completion of my schoolwork, I will have extra time and may pursue freelance work for extra money. I have considered pursuing CAT tools as an immediate as well as long-term investment in this respect.

In addition to this, I currently work as a translator for a company where I translate everything from letters and handouts to legal documents. This is where I see a more immediate benefit in the way of translation consistency.

I have never used any of this software, and I wanted to post to this forum to see what other professionals recommended. I was surprised upon posting this that there are so many programs available. I had no idea. I had only heard of Trados and Wordfast.


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Lesley Clarke  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:45
Spanish to English
IMHO May 6, 2009

I have only ever tried Trados and wordfast.

A few years ago I had Trados and found the manual unintelligible . Some kind prozian had written a very easy to follow beginner's guide and that was the only thing that allowed me to use it. Eventually I had to upgrade my operating system and the Trados was no longer compatible and I would have had to spend a considerable amount to get the updated version.

For half that I was able to get wordfast (what is now known as wordfast classic) and it is so wonderfully clear. The manual is very easy to follow and so much of it is intuitive.

That has been my experience, though I feel my experience with Trados is totally out of date at this stage.


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Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:45
German to English
+ ...
Wordfast May 6, 2009

I put in my vote for Wordfast, but it really depends on what feels most comfortable for you.

Apart from what has already been said above, I love Wordfast's easy way of handling terminology. First, create your glossary - I usually set up a Word table with 2 or 3 columns and then convert it to a text file with tabs separating the columns. Choose select glossary when setting up the project, and the terms in the list will appear highlighted in the source sentences you are translating. While you are translating, if you want to add a term, click Ctrl + Alt + T and you can add terms to up to three glossaries. There is no way I could deal with those cumbersome client-provided 2,000-term lists without this function.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
I am a declared "Tradosist"... May 6, 2009

...but as you only want to start gathering experiences with translation memory technology and the bulk of your work does not seem to be bigger, repetitive translations, I'd say you could buy a cheaper translation memory tool and move into Trados when things get serious.

A cheaper CAT tool can help you gather the typical translations needed in legal documents, help you ensure long-term consistency in your work, etc. But when you really start doing longer jobs that can have repetitions (like annual reports, court and attorney documents, user manuals, etc.), Trados would be your best option as a professional tool. Just my personal opinion!


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 20:45
English to Dutch
+ ...
Another question... May 6, 2009

Do you intend to use a CAT-tool to *do* your work, or also to *get* work?

If the latter is the case, you might want to have a look at job posts in your language combination... There's quite a few threads in the forums on "why so many job posts require Trados". No idea whether this is also the case for your language pair?

In general I think it's a good idea to think about what you want to achieve with getting a CAT too. Though I haven't been able to find the link just now, I recall Kevin's explanation, that he also considers his CAT tools as marketings tools.

If you already have a solid client base and you just want to smoothen your workflow, that's a different thing of course.


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Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
English to German
+ ...
Groundhog day "Trados vs Wordfast" ,-) May 6, 2009

Hello,

it's really amazing that people are willing to answer to the same question again and again. It's like groundhog day. There must be similar threads about: should I buy a car for pedestrians, should I buy a computer for typists, etc.

Regards

Noe

[Edited at 2009-05-06 22:21 GMT]


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DZiW
Ukraine
English to Russian
+ ...
No, it's a May-Day workers' rally ;) May 6, 2009

Noe, you're right that it’s but a new question of old things yet
1) even children at school learn and repeat the things over and over - for the common good;
2) one can find almost any (very contrary) answers in the Internet but it requires a bit of digging too, for as for me I would like to learn from very this services sector;
3) previous topics are rather outdated now, so I see no wrong to create a new one with a fresh look regarding new subjs versions.

Although the forum can enrich one's knowledge it still cannot replace one’s personal experience, so he has to try something to learn about it himself IMO.

P.S. I think that there’s no need to merge ‘almost parallel’ topics into a huge unreadable one (for example I almost never read too lengthy topics but the first and the last pages - oops))


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havy_havy_hay
Local time: 01:45
thank you very much May 6, 2009

thank you very much

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Noe Tessmann  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:45
English to German
+ ...
May Day or you made my day? May 6, 2009

DZiW wrote:

Noe, you're right that it’s but a new question of old things yet


yes, but the asker doesn't even say hello, just one sentence, no answer, no thanks. Does this look like someone who looked up all the existing threads and is desperately looking for the right answer?

I am just amazed that people are willing to write again and again the same answers. Maybe they have some templates somewhere for copy paste.

Regards

Noe


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:45
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You are so lucky! May 7, 2009

Noe Tessmann wrote:
it's really amazing that people are willing to answer to the same question again and again. It's like groundhog day. There must be similar threads about: should I buy a car for pedestrians, should I buy a computer for typists, etc.


You are so lucky that the "Skoda or Audi" discussion never happens in your family and friend gatherings! So boring!! (the discussion, not your gatherings, I hope).


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Ulf Samuelsson  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 13:45
Member (2007)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Reasons for using Wordfast May 7, 2009

OK, I have a fully licenced version of Trados, but I prefer to use Wordfast for a number of reasons:

1. In Wordfast, there is a quality control function that you can customize (it can warn you for double spaces, deviation from a customer-specific glossary, certain style errors or changed numbers/tags, and you can even set it to check the spelling before moving to the next segment). You can also use a list of unwanted terms as a blacklist so Wordfast will warn you if these words are found in the text. This is useful when a client has made changes in the terminology - just put the old term in the blacklist, and you'll be warned if it is still in the text when you try to go to the next segment.
2. You can use several memories at the same time, e.g. a customer-specific main memory and a general background memory, and receive suggestions from both (and you can decide which of these memories which is to take precedence if the same matching is found in both memories. You can also add a third memory that is only used for 100% matching and searching.
3. You can use three different glossaries (in text format) with direct automatic translation of these terms, and you can copy these translations to the target segment with the same function that you use for copying of tags and numbers. It is very useful to set Glossary 1 to a glossary with customer-specific terms that have to be translated in a certain way (and then also activate the quality control function for that glossary so that Wordfast will warn you if a term in that glossary hasn't been translated correctly). Glossary 2 can then be a subject glossary and Glossary 3 a general glossary.
4. You can link to your favourite dictionary program and press Alt+Ctrl+D to look up a term directly in Webster's, WordFinder or Oxford, depending on which dictionary you have linked to.
5. You can use Alt+Ctrl+F to start any program of your choice – another dictionary or e.g. Internet Explorer to start searching directly in Google (or any Internet site with a search box).
6. You can search in several reference files at the same time with the keys Alt+Ctrl+N. These files don't necessarily have to be memory files, but can be glossaries or other references in various formats (.doc, .rtf, .xls, .txt, .bak, .htm). You can even set several different folders to be searched.
7. You can set Wordfast to automatically correct the quotation marks to the style used in your language (you don't have to change it manually every time).
8. You can (and should) save each project setting as a separate .ini file, which means that you can have a separate .ini file for each client, with all customer-specific settings (memories, glossaries, reference files, quality control, etc.). This also means that you can easily do a small job while working on a large job. You just switch .ini file while doing the smaller job and then switch back again to resume your large assignment, without worrying about changing memory and other settings.
9. If no matching is found in the memory for a complete segment, then a partial match can be proposed (five or more words in a row that is found in the same sequence in a segment in the memory). Very useful if a manual have been re-written and large sentences been broken up or shorter ones been joined.
10. You can easily select any text as a segment and press Alt+Shift+Down to use that selected text as the next segment (it is useful if you want to skip some text or use a longer or shorter segment than what would be opened if you go to the next segment as usual).
11. You can mark any text that should not be translated with a temporary text attribute (e.g. marching red ants or double strikethrough). This text attribute is then esily removed after the translation is finished.
12. It is possible to delete a suggested segment from the memory (Alt+Ctrl+Backspace) if you notice that it contains errors (you then do not have to make a note of the error so that you can edit the memory afterwards manually).
13. The memory file is in text format (*.txt) and this means that it is very easy to make changes in a memory if you find that you need to change the terminology (or if the client requests that certain changes is to be done to earlier translations). You can either open the memory in any text editor or use the included memory editor (it is recommended that you use the memory editor as it has many useful maintenance functions and it is possible to search and replace only in the translation if you change untranslated terms into a new translation).

I've probably forgotten something, but these are my reasons for preferring to use Wordfast, until I find another CAT tool that has more to offer.

Ulf


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