CAT: When should one acquire software?
Thread poster: Simon Hase
Simon Hase
United States
Local time: 00:48
German to English
+ ...
Jun 10, 2005

At what point should a translator buy CAT software? How useful of a tool is it?

Would you deem it a neccesity for anyone that is considering being a pretty serious freelancer?

Any other comments are appreciated!


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:48
German to English
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CAT: When should one acquire software? Jun 10, 2005

Simon Hase wrote:

At what point should a translator buy CAT software?


You shouldn't wait until an order arrives which requires CAT (either because the customer requires it, or because it can't otherwise be done efficiently). Much better to get to grips with CAT in advance, so that you're not struggling with new technology and a tight deadline at the same time.

How useful of a tool is it?


Try a few products and decide for yourself.

Would you deem it a neccesity for anyone that is considering being a pretty serious freelancer?


If your work is so diverse that you never need to refer back to past translations to find how you translated the same term or phrase last time, you don't need CAT. If you have a photographic memory and can recall how you translated any term or phrase in the past, you don't need CAT. Otherwise, CAT is likely to be well worth having.

See here:

http://www.proz.com/?sp=cat/tools

for some of the more popular CAT tools. Some of these have demonstration versions you can try out; one of them is even free, and provides a good taster of the technology.

Marc


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Klaus Herrmann  Identity Verified
Germany
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Member (2002)
English to German
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There's no such thing as eidetic typing Jun 10, 2005

MarcPrior wrote:
If you have a photographic memory and can recall how you translated any term or phrase in the past, you don't need CAT.

Even with eidetic memory the sentence needs to be typed. Fetching it from a TM will be faster than typing.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
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Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
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Try the various types while you can... Jun 10, 2005

Simon Hase wrote:
At what point should a translator buy CAT software? How useful of a tool is it? ... Would you deem it a neccesity for anyone that is considering being a pretty serious freelancer?


You can either calculate mathematical sums using pen and paper, or you can use a calculator. The CAT tool is like the calculator... it's useful but not necessary; but if you're going to do work in which you might use it a lot, it may be worth buying it.

It is a good idea for any translator to continually keep up to date with the range of software available to him. After trying several, you might settle on a single one; alternatively, after trying just one of them you might decide not to bother with the rest and leave it at that.

For TM and segmentation (the main issues of CAT, I think), there are basically two work methods: inline and non-inline. A free inline CAT tool is Wordfast (free for small to medium projects), which requires MS Office. A free non-inline tool is OmegaT (free always), which requires Java and OpenOffice.org. Trying out these two tools can give you an idea about how the two methods work.

Once you know more or less how CAT works, you can also download the trial versions of Trados and DVX etc to see how they fare.


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Konstantin Kisin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
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Member (2004)
Russian to English
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you don't need to _buy_ CAT software Jun 10, 2005

You can start by using Wordfast's fully-functional trial version (which you can use forever). You may be able to gauge its usefullness to you and then decide to buy it or another CAT tool. Don't splash out $1k on TRADOS just because "every translator must have it".

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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:48
English to French
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Wordfast/Trados Jun 10, 2005

Konstantin Kisin wrote:

You can start by using Wordfast's fully-functional trial version (which you can use forever). ..... Don't splash out $1k on TRADOS just because "every translator must have it".


And besides, I have used Wordfast for jobs where Trados was required. It is now compatible although I belive that it is not fully so. But I have never met any such problem.

[Edited at 2005-06-10 09:26]


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:48
German to English
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There's no such thing as eidetic typing Jun 10, 2005

Klaus Herrmann wrote:

Even with eidetic memory the sentence needs to be typed. Fetching it from a TM will be faster than typing.


At sentence level, agreed. But I was trying to make the point that CAT is useful for recalling past translations on the word or phrase level.

Marc


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:48
German to English
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Going on from Marc's statement Jun 10, 2005

But I was trying to make the point that CAT is useful for recalling past translations on the word or phrase level.


Let's assume you have translated say a long manual/technical doc which has meant researching quite a few tricky terms.

Six months on, the client comes back to you with something completely different, maybe a PPT or an XLS file.

The TM you created earlier probably won't find many - if any - segments that it can fully or approximately translate for you. BUT - if you open up the TM when you start seeing these terms, then two clicks to highlight the word in the source language, press one button and there it is, smiling at you in both languages.

This is also useful for ensuring consistency within any translation. A banal example would be: "Aha. Did I call a 'Schaufel' a spade or a shovel?". Same procedure as above and you are there, firmly dug in;-).

I know a colleague who because of, or rather despite of, the nature of her work, has still boosted her productivity by about 30%, thanks to using that aspect of TM's ALONE.

[Edited at 2005-06-10 12:13]

[Edited at 2005-06-10 12:14]


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:48
Member (2003)
English to German
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Free trial versions of other tools, too Jun 10, 2005

Konstantin Kisin wrote:
You can start by using Wordfast's fully-functional trial version (which you can use forever).


I just downloaded DéjàVu's free trial version, and am using it for a project right now. And I believe other TM tools offer free trial versions as well. Maybe you would like to give those a try before buying a full license.

Working with TM tools can be confusing and time-consuming at the beginning. But once you understood the basics, you should be able to speed up your translation process, thus making the investment worth it. Also, some clients send the translation files in a specific format that can only be processed with a TM tool. If you don't have one, you might loose the deal.

As to which one suits your needs best, it seems to be pretty much a question of personal preference. Some colleagues just love working in SDLX, others use Trados only because they like it best, and so on.

Good luck with the decision and happy translating,
Stefanie


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Stefanie Sendelbach  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:48
Member (2003)
English to German
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Links Jun 10, 2005

Hi Simon,

Here is a list with CAT tools: http://www.locguide.com/references/tools/computer_aided_translation_tools.htm

I includes links to each program's website, where you should be able to find downloads of free trials.

Hope you'll like it
Stefanie


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:48
English to Czech
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Hello Simon! Aug 12, 2005

Dear Simon,
if you want to maintain consistency in terms, you just have to use a TM. Sooner or later will you realize that you just cannot remember all the terms and phrases you are repeatedly using in your translations.
I used the free version of WordFast for quite a long time. The only limitation of the free version is that one translation memory cannot contain more than 500 translation units.
The way to "avoid" this limitation is to create separate translation memories for various companies you are translating for.
Nevertheless, you as time goes by, you will realize that merging multiple translation memories would be a good idea. Then you need to buy the full version of WordFast. It costs around 120,- Euros.
In my opinion, WordFast is a much better choice than Trados, as it is fully sufficient for freelancers like you and me. Moreover, the "application" is in fact just one single MS Word template which only has around 1,5 MB (compared to Trados - some 150 MB).
If you need more information on WordFast, refer to www.wordfast.net

Good luck!


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