MemoQ MemoQ MemoQ till 18th
Thread poster: Juliana Mraz

Juliana Mraz
Germany
Local time: 15:12
Slovak to German
+ ...
Dec 16, 2009

Hello folks,

where are the forty strong group buyers of MemoQ? We need eight more people to implement the group purchase of this tool. I suggest potential buyers/ people looking for a perfect tool read more about it in the forum in case there are (always) problems with Trados or in case you'd rather buy a new tool instead of an upgrade.
I am one of those literary bugs, who have not worked with the CATs yet.

The letters on the forum about tools helped me choose which one!
Furthermore, I wanted to ask the experts whether -if MemoQ really converts any file plus is supposed to be the user-friendliest interface - then can't I just mark that I am using Trados as well on my application sheet for larger companies? They wouldn't notice, or would they?


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:12
German to English
Ethical issue Dec 17, 2009

Juliana Mraz wrote:
can't I just mark that I am using Trados as well on my application sheet for larger companies? They wouldn't notice, or would they?


Although I've found that MemoQ does a good job with most file types, there's always the risk of coming across a file that can only be processed with one of the Trados products (or some other software). I would strongly suggest that you NOT claim to have software capability if you don't actually have it. MemoQ can process a wide variety of formats, but in many cases, it cannot create a file type.

I can think of one example where you might be caught up short. (sorry to be using unfamiliar terms, but you should be able to get the drift of what I'm saying) Let's say a client sends you an sgml file and a Trados translation memory (TM), saying that they want an uncleaned TagEditor file as well as the target sgml file. What then? The client may have a specific workflow based on SDL products. He/she is not going to go through various gyrations to accommodate your inability to create TagEditor files or work with a Trados TM. You might be lucky to get a segmented TagEditor file, and if it's an ongoing project, a TM in text format which you can convert to tmx with a utility, but in many, if not most, cases you are expected to meet the customer's specifications on your own.


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Know what you are doing Dec 17, 2009

While "CAT hopping" is widely practiced by some translators, you actually should know what you are doing when processing a text with another tool than the one the client required. In your case, you should at least get familiar with the usual workflow in Trados. There are (almost) always means and ways, even for the situation Kevin described, but you need to be at least a little CAT-savvy and you will sometimes need a little help from your friends who own the appropriate licences.

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Juliana Mraz
Germany
Local time: 15:12
Slovak to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hello Kevin, hello Wolfgang/Beginner's Cat-tools/DIN Dec 18, 2009

First, thank you Kevin very much for your help with technical jargon - I see that the whole issue is quite comlicated. That's what probably explains my dismay towards CAt-toos in the beginning.

Now it is true that I cannot expand my wide field of expertise towards more profitable/common segments. Basically I will not get any job without a Cat-tool - even those that I could still do without.

Last year, I would have imagined a Cat-tool as a program with dictionaries and standard sentences in technics, law, medicine etc. in all my three languages. What I heard now from colleagues - as I have not had anyone to turn to - is that you have to nourish the baby yourself first and later it will do what you've told it for many times - but that even with fuzzy matches it has just worked with single sentences.

Then, after seeing the problems with Trados and reading on the forum, I figured the most important thing would be the ability of importing files called: TMT, TXT, XLIFF etc.
Furthermore, the following sentence convinced me :

Why? Because with MemoQ you can use the very best tools to process any file format - including TTX/bilingual DOC, and almost every CAT tool file format.

Thankx for having a critical situation in mind (to make me even more crazy about it). Please do just explain what a uncleaned and segmented TagEditor file ist - and I will be able to follow you technically.

Now, I thought I knew what I was doing - thank you, Wolfgang, I don't know whether you are a "hopper" yourself or not, but thanks to help in high places I heard that I would get the status of the old trados concerning compatibility- and seeing how expensive the new trados incl. schooling is - (in a month without any jobs) nor do they offer "Ratenzahlung", I think I should keep my stakes where I put them in the first place. I always contribute to smaller firms and they all go broke.

Furthermore I still see myself as a more of a language artist and not a computer freak and still hope to get more linguistic challenge rather then being a slave to some computer-programe imperium. Besides, what do outsourcers do beside import and export files? Why can't they take care of just that - or then why don't more people split jobs into proofreading - talking about the new DIN standard?

I know it is sometimes impossible to be the "good guys".

My last question is: do men rather hop and do women rather tend to DIN?


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:12
German to English
Problem is not processing files, but generating work files Dec 19, 2009

I think you've grasped the problem, Juliana. As Wolfgang pointed out, MemoQ is very good at processing file types, and it is rapidly becoming my tool of choice *when I have the option of choosing my tool*.

I'll admit to being a "hopper" sometimes, using what Brother Lossner calls the "round trip approach", that is, using the specified tool to set up a work file, then using a tool of choice to translate, then importing the final product into the specified tool for quality control purposes. I originally bought Trados Workbench so I could process files to use with Déjà vu.

The issue has to do with generating a work file/output file that will meet the client's specifications. Many, if not most outsources provide their translators with an MS Office file (Word/Excel/PPT) or xml/sgml file and in some cases, a translation memory and expect a bilingual (uncleaned) file in return. Some agency will presegment (divide the text into source/target segments) their files and send a txt-based or tmx translation memory. In those cases, the outsourcer may not care what tool you use, as he/she will use the uncleaned file to update the master translation memory.

On those occasions when I outsource a job, I generally don't care what tool the translator uses -- I'm interested in the finished product. Whenever possible I try to supply a translation memory, if I have one for the particular client/subject matter. I'm happy if the translator can provide me with an updated TM.

CAT tools are just that -- tools to help you work more efficiently. If you have a lot of one-off jobs, it may take a while to reap the benefit -- if any -- of the software. They can be useful for keeping track of terminology, and for that reason I use them for every job possible. They're indispensable for ongoing projects, as they provide a readily-accessible corpus of terminology and phrases that may recur regularly.

"Besides, what do outsourcers do beside import and export files?"
Good ones provide terminology assistance, quality control, and in some instances, technical support. Good outsourcers shield the translators against the chaos of dealing with inexperienced buyers of translation by establishing sensible requirements regarding layout, deadlines and reasonable expectations for performance, e.g. informing the end client that translators aren't mind readers.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:12
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
MemoQ and translation tools Dec 20, 2009

Hi Juliana,

In the present state of things, it's hardly possible to give advice on translation environment tools that will fit every situation. The best you can do is to understand your target market clearly and find a combination of tools that will let you address it most effectively and understand exactly where the limits of your technology are. In the coming months I plan to see if I can cover some of these compatibility topics on my blog in a matrix approach (for easy reference) and produce some clearer guidelines that will hopefully make it easier for everyone to find information often buried deeply in forum threads and online discussion groups. I'm sure to miss a lot of points, but maybe the attempt to cover things systematically will provoke enough experts to correct me that in the end something useful will result.

MemoQ is excellent software, and it has a lot of advantages for someone making her first acquaintance with software of this kind. Your misconception about standard resources isn't uncommon really; I remember years ago how a salesman at a software company I worked for demanded that he be given a copy of the software I had just introduced to the translation department (Déjà Vu), and when I told him it would not automatically translate his letters, brochures, contracts, etc. he thought I was lying to protect the jobs of the translators. Depending on what sort of work you do, however, you may be able to get some benefit from public resources like the EU translation memories. Many of your customers will also provide reference materials that may be useful, and you can feed old work or bilingual resources you have to the system after going through the process of "alignment".

Even in the early days of using software like MemoQ or Trados you can benefit a lot from using the terminology management capabilities for:
- reference during the project, perhaps with a term survey and agreement at the start of the project;
- quality assurance checks for terminology using integrated features in the software; and
- delivery to the customer of a list of terminology recorded during the project, perhaps as a nicely formatted PDF glossary or an RTF table with a column for comments.

The last item is helpful to reviewers (the agency, an editor, the end customer, etc.) and often achieves a extra good will for very little effort.

A lot of people have the idea that software of this kind is only useful if you do repetitive texts like instruction manuals. That's not true at all. While TEnTs are brilliant for handling repetition, re-use and similarities in texts, for me personally the real value lies in easy concordancing. At the touch of a button I can look up terms in my collected work from the past ten years. Given that some of the very difficult terminology I work with may take many hours to research and the terms may not be encountered again for a long time, this is simply wonderful.

Technically, MemoQ will give you anything you would probably need at this stage where there are not specific requirements for other tools. Where another tool like Trados is specified, you will have to look very carefully at the specific case to see what steps are necessary and if you can manage alone, if you require preparation work by the agency or if a colleague or partner may have to provide assistance. It's "easy" once you have a bit of experience, but there are many pitfalls for beginners, so proceed carefully and seek advice whenever there is any doubt. Try some "practice runs" with test files that allow you to gain experience with different scenarios.

In one very important respect I think MemoQ is probably the best choice for many people even where another tool might offer a few technical advantages for specific situations. MemoQ *support* is excellent. Fast, clear answers to problems with no stonewalling. That's not to say that others are utterly hopeless all the time. Even SDL, a company which I criticize often for the uneven quality of its products and its bulldozer approach to marketing, has some excellent staff who help a lot of people. If the fellow who supports their products in the ProZ forums were cloned and these clones were seeded throughout the company, things might look a little differently. But if I need honest answers and no BS to sort out project problems, I know that I can depend on the Kilgray team.

Ultimately, for technical reasons, you may find it useful to purchase licenses for other tools for a number of reasons. Do so when it is clear that those investments will really pay off. To get started down the path of using professional grade translation environment tools, MemoQ is one of the best choices you could make for now.


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:12
English to Dutch
+ ...
Honesty / work files Dec 20, 2009

Hi Juliana,

Congrats on going CAT!

One important point: as an agency, we use Trados and appreciate it if our translators do so as well (I've explained why in different threads already). Appreciate here is to be taken literally: we like it but for most jobs it's not non-negotiable. What *is* non-negotiable though is honesty: don't state that you work with Trados when you don't.

Yes, many tools are compatible for many file types. But it often requires a bit of know-how to make things work, and if you're just starting out you're simply not likely to have that know-how. Sooner rather than later you'll find yourself unable to deliver upon your promises. If you tell people beforehand that you're working with MemoQ though, that allows them to adapt to your workflow at an early stage.

Just imagine: if you spend an hour prepping files and outlining specific TM settings in foolproof instructions for a non-standard project, and the translator then tells you that he doesn't really understand at all because *actually* he doesn't work with Trados... Let's say that that's not beneficial for the business relationship!

Regarding Kevin F's comment on work files: I also value uncleaned files for proofreading purposes. In a cleaned text I'm not likely to spot that a translator too readily accepted a high fuzzy match. Nothing to raise my eyebrows in a text about oils stating that this specific oil can only be used in diesel engines. But when I have the uncleaned file in front of me it's much easier to notice that actually for this oil it wasn't diesel engines...


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 14:12
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Great example! Dec 20, 2009

Susan van den Ende wrote:
Just imagine: if you spend an hour prepping files and outlining specific TM settings in foolproof instructions for a non-standard project, and the translator then tells you that he doesn't really understand at all because *actually* he doesn't work with Trados... Let's say that that's not beneficial for the business relationship!

Regarding Kevin F's comment on work files: I also value uncleaned files for proofreading purposes. In a cleaned text I'm not likely to spot that a translator too readily accepted a high fuzzy match. Nothing to raise my eyebrows in a text about oils stating that this specific oil can only be used in diesel engines. But when I have the uncleaned file in front of me it's much easier to notice that actually for this oil it wasn't diesel engines...


Thank you, Susan, for an excellent example of a case where access to a functioning copy of Trados is important; if there is a large associated TM with this non-standard project, then you need access to a LICENSED copy in order to carry out your pre-segmentation for other tools more effectively. Possibly even adjustment of bad segmentation as well, which can drive you nuts in the middle of a project. I did develop a technique for combining TagEditor segments in MemoQ or DVX, but it's not for the faint-hearted, and I don't know if anyone has actually been gutsy enough to use it in a real project. (I have, but then I'm nuts, not brave.)

As for proofreading, a MQ user can provide you with a bilingual DOC file (for any source format) to enable you to proofread. In many cases this will have to be re-imported into the original project after correction, sort of like the workflow with Déjà Vu and RTF tables for review by persons without CAT tools. However, even here one must be cautious - there are two Trados bilingual options in MemoQ, and a complex Word source document will often not be re-importable if it is not exported as a bilingual file with "simple" formatting. MQ also doesn't forbid "illegal stuff" like hard returns in a segment.

In summary: be very, very sure of what you are doing, test everything before you start working (round-trip with a pseudotranslation) and get help any time you are in doubt. And always communicate clearly in advance with your agencies or other customers/collaborators who use other technology.


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