Wordfast vs Trados (and vice versa)
Thread poster: Frank Foley

Frank Foley  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
French to English
+ ...
Feb 5, 2014

I was hoping to find a comparison of these 2 packages somewhere in cyberspace, or even here in the fora and flauna of Proz: I googled "Wordfast vs Trados", and I also tried it here, but I can find no direct comparison.

Why have I limited myself to these two? Well, I've used both in the past, and Trados I imagine is the "industry standard", so I can't exclude it, much as I find it clunky and unfriendly (that would be Studio 2011).

Maybe I should contact Which? magazine and ask them to compare the top 6 translation packages (I refuse to use the terms "tools" or TenTs or whatever that cumbersome acronym is) ?

So, to recap and backtrack and possibly breakdance at the same time: I need to buy one of these 2 for a reasonably large corporate project in the short term, and for my own purposes in the long term: does anyone use both, and have a preference for either?

I believe Wf is cheaper (I bought my copy years ago, so I'm a bit out of touch), but it is easier to use, and more importantly, does it come with a free replica of T'Rosetta Stone?

All comments welcome, even from Frenchies who think that Champollion decoded the Stone. (Je plaisante !)



Tony M
Local time: 02:04
French to English
+ ...
Many, many discussions on the pros and cons of various CAT tools Feb 5, 2014

I don't expect you will find a direct comparison between those two, but there is very extensive discussion on various CAT tools in these forums.

Personally, I'm biassed. I tried Trados once (ages ago, mind!) and found it so cumbersome and counter-intuitive, it put me off for life.

When I tried Wordfast (now 'Classic'), I found it logical, adequate for my needs, and intuitive; I have stuck with an ancient version because of all the scare stories I've read about more recent incarnations.

It reminds me a bit of my first experience with computers — in 1982, I went on a 2-day course to learn about PCs; came way with my mind reeling and never wanting to touch one again. Then a few months later, I saw this little Mac Classic sitting in a room with a smile on its face; I went and had a play, took to it at once, and have never looked back since (though I admit I've had no choice but to go over to the PC camp now). I feel the same way about Trados vs. W/f...


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:04
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Get Translator's toolbox Feb 6, 2014


There you find information about all translation related tools and their details.


cynwhitehead  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:04
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
Wordfast is fast and easy Feb 6, 2014

I had to buy and learn wf for a job this weekend. After failing to get the free or classic versions to work on my Mac, I bought wf pro and sailed away. Very clear, quick and easy to learn and use. My previous experience was with MemoQ, which I found exceedingly clunky and does not work on Mac.


Local time: 02:04
English to Italian
+ ...
Try OmegaT Feb 6, 2014

As you have to chose between two proprietary software, before buying anything, why don't you try OmegaT, a wonderful opensource CAT tool.
It has been improved a lot in the last year and I found it now the best tool on the market (even if it is not on the market, being free software).
I suggest to use the Latest version: it has a lot of new features and keyboard shortcuts: http://www.omegat.org/en/download_selector/win_jre.php

If you use Linux or Mac, see here: http://www.omegat.org/en/download_selector/ui.php

It is really really easy to use: you just create a new project and omegaT creates a folder structure in the path you chose. Then you put the files to translate in the "source" folder, press F5 in omegaT and start your job. You can add as many glossaries as you want (they are simple text file tab separated).
I use regularly Studio, MemoQ and sometimes Wordfast, but I haven't found a better concordancer than omegaT. And then it is extremely fast, you don't need to waste time in long importing and exporting operations.
You will find a lot of documentation online (apart from the included guide) and if you have a problem, just write to the omegat forum (https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/OmegaT/conversations/topics). Someone (usually one of the developer) will send you a solution in less than an hour. The fastest support service I have ever seen on a CAT tool. Developers of this project are translators and not IT engineers, so they know what the translator want (and not what is cool from a developer point of view).


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
Spanish to English
+ ...
WF every time Feb 6, 2014

Tony M wrote:
... I tried Trados once (ages ago, mind!) and found it so cumbersome and counter-intuitive, it put me off for life.

When I tried Wordfast (now 'Classic'), I found it logical, adequate for my needs, and intuitive; I have stuck with an ancient version because of all the scare stories I've read about more recent incarnations.

Same here. I tried out WF Pro and found I didn't need any of its extra features, and I am also wary of anything net-dependent or cloud-based, so decided to give Anywhere a miss too. I find that WF Classic does everything I need or want it to - in fact I've been using it for several years now and still haven't got round to exploiting all of its features. I'm happy with it.

PS: I dislike everything about Trados. Absoutely everything.


Cécile Andrade
United States
Local time: 20:04
Member (2010)
Portuguese to French
+ ...
I find Trados not intuitive and hard to grasp... Feb 6, 2014

expensive licenses and training, gave up. Love Wordfast (all versions Pro, Classic, Anywhere) it is easy, provides choices for everyone, Anywhere is free on line. It's reasonably priced, not complicated to get around and more importantly, it works with any platform and they are not pushy on purchases.


Frank Foley  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:04
French to English
+ ...
Food for thought Feb 6, 2014

Thanks for all the replies so far! Grist to the mill and all that.
I agree with all the pro Wf comments (and the pro Wf-Pro comments): I got working on Classic without any problems when I first used it many years ago, and even the manual was beautifully written. (I do believe Yves Champollion himself wrote it way back then, et en anglais, messieurs dames!)

I've also used Wf Anywhere, and agree that it works extremely well.
I've also found another use for Wf Anywhere: my Abbyy Fine Reader went t##s up at one point, so as an experiment I uploaded a PDF to see if it would scan it, and lo and behold, it did a really top-class conversion, which I then downloaded as a readable Word doc.


John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:04
Member (2008)
French to English
memoQ Feb 6, 2014

If I could add my $0.02, I have both Trados Studio and Wordfast, and my favourite CAT tool is.... memoQ! I bought it last year and have never turned back. It has all the good points of both plus speed, efficiency, ease of use, broad range of filetypes, fast response in the rare event support is needed and a light footprint (50 mb install).

[Edited at 2014-02-06 17:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-02-06 21:26 GMT]


Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:04
French to English
+ ...
Horses for courses Feb 6, 2014

I use both Wordfast (Classic) and Trados Studio 2009 (though I am intending to upgrade to 2014 soon) and find that each has its merits. I've been using Wordfast for longest and it's probably still my tool of choice for straightforward Word files. As others have said, it's easy to use, intuitive and relatively straightforward. I love the newish autosuggest facility, which saves on typing effort, although I sometimes wish I could use more TMs (only 1 + BTM) or glossaries (only 3).

I bought Trados a few years ago at the instigation of a couple of good clients (one direct, one agency), who promised me lots more work if I had Trados. One has been as good as its word, whereas the other hasn't sent me much work at all since, but I have found that I've been able to accept interesting jobs I wouldn't otherwise have been offered purely because I had Trados - so it was worthwhile. I found it a very steep learning curve initially, and depended a lot on my very helpful clients in the early stages, but eventually got up and running and now quite like the interface. I find it much better for PowerPoint documents than Wordfast Classic, although admittedly I haven't tried Pro. It also deals better with complicated Excel files with line breaks within the cells, whereas Wordfast tended to lose the formatting after extracting the text from Excel and reinserting - a pain in a 30,000 word file!

I can understand why agencies like freelancers who work with Trados, especially for very big projects - as it means you can make use of all their huge TMs, and termbases, Autosuggest dictionaries, etc, which just wouldn't be as readily available for any other tool. It also makes the whole process more streamlined.

I quite like having the two tools side-by-side - it adds to the variety of working practices and means you can offer more strings to your bow. I definitely wouldn't recommend relearning both at the same time though, as that would be extremely confusing - master one, and only then take up another.

Good luck!


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