CAT tools for legal translations
Thread poster: Paula McMullan

Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
French to English
Nov 13, 2019

I've been reading the discussions about which CAT tools are popular with agencies and I'm wondering if there are any which are more favoured for legal translations than others.

I have been working direct for law firms who aren't bothered how I translate and am now starting to work more with agencies. The ones I'm working with so far haven't asked for a CAT tool, but I'm wondering if that's just them or whether agencies aren't so fussy about the tools used for legal translations.
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I've been reading the discussions about which CAT tools are popular with agencies and I'm wondering if there are any which are more favoured for legal translations than others.

I have been working direct for law firms who aren't bothered how I translate and am now starting to work more with agencies. The ones I'm working with so far haven't asked for a CAT tool, but I'm wondering if that's just them or whether agencies aren't so fussy about the tools used for legal translations.

I still have Trados 2011 so it needs an upgrade and have used Metatexis in the past although I don't find its segmentation very helpful. I can see that Café Trans might be a good investment for working with European agencies, but I don't want to splash out if it's not 100% necessary.

Thoughts, translation folk?

Thank you.
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Mr.Venturini
 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
SITE LOCALIZER
I think... Nov 13, 2019

Paula McMullan wrote:
I have been working direct for law firms who aren't bothered how I translate and am now starting to work more with agencies. The ones I'm working with so far haven't asked for a CAT tool...


I think you should wait before buying another CAT tool until after an agency or agencies start asking you to use a specific tool. It's not safe to try to guess which CAT tool might likely be favoured by the agencies that you're hoping to get jobs from. In addition, in many cases, while the agency might have a favoured tool, they may be perfectly capable of giving you work in an intermediary format that you can use in your own tool.


 

Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Sensible advice Nov 13, 2019

Samuel Murray wrote:

Paula McMullan wrote:
I have been working direct for law firms who aren't bothered how I translate and am now starting to work more with agencies. The ones I'm working with so far haven't asked for a CAT tool...


I think you should wait before buying another CAT tool until after an agency or agencies start asking you to use a specific tool. It's not safe to try to guess which CAT tool might likely be favoured by the agencies that you're hoping to get jobs from. In addition, in many cases, while the agency might have a favoured tool, they may be perfectly capable of giving you work in an intermediary format that you can use in your own tool.


Thanks, Samuel. That makes a lot of sense. I was just concerned that if I was pitching without specifying a CAT tool, I might get overlooked.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:52
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Then when? Nov 13, 2019

Paula McMullan wrote:
Thanks, Samuel. That makes a lot of sense. I was just concerned that if I was pitching without specifying a CAT tool, I might get overlooked.

Samuel's points are fair, but I do think you risk finding yourself in a catch-22 situation whereby clients don't bother offering you projects that require CAT tools because you don't have CAT tool skills, and you don't bother acquiring CAT tool skills because clients don't offer you projects that require CAT tools. The only way to break a cycle like that is to use CAT tools of your own volition.

If you are leaning towards CAT tools, it's probably better to go all-in rather than dabble. Set 2020 as your "year of CAT tools", bite the bullet and just learn how to use one of the major applications. Do training sessions if necessary. Of course it will cost time and money - nothing easily acquired is worth much - but at the end of 12 months you'll have a good idea of what CAT is all about and whether it works for you. And you'll be able to honestly make marketing claims to that effect.

Incidentally, it might be different in your language pair, and in law, but I have been explicitly told by my clients that one of the reasons I get work in finance because I'm ready and willing to use CAT tools (specifically, SDL Trados Studio), while most of my peers are not. I personally find CAT tools very useful and would not be without them.

Regards,
Dan


Anna Gorska
 

robinp
Hungary
Can use juremy.com for EU legal / financial searches Nov 15, 2019

A bit orthogonal to your original question, but Juremy.com is meant for legal translators (especially EU). Put simply, it is an online concordance search on top of the EUR-Lex database with super-fast lookups.

We have clients who work with EU legal / financial material that doesn't come with (decent quality) termbases, and they find it very helpful.

Link to an example FRA-ENG lookup: ...
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A bit orthogonal to your original question, but Juremy.com is meant for legal translators (especially EU). Put simply, it is an online concordance search on top of the EUR-Lex database with super-fast lookups.

We have clients who work with EU legal / financial material that doesn't come with (decent quality) termbases, and they find it very helpful.

Link to an example FRA-ENG lookup: service de la société de l’information. Hope it would prove valuable!

Robin
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Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:52
Member (2006)
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Sound advice Nov 28, 2019

Dan Lucas wrote:

Paula McMullan wrote:
Thanks, Samuel. That makes a lot of sense. I was just concerned that if I was pitching without specifying a CAT tool, I might get overlooked.

Samuel's points are fair, but I do think you risk finding yourself in a catch-22 situation whereby clients don't bother offering you projects that require CAT tools because you don't have CAT tool skills, and you don't bother acquiring CAT tool skills because clients don't offer you projects that require CAT tools. The only way to break a cycle like that is to use CAT tools of your own volition.

If you are leaning towards CAT tools, it's probably better to go all-in rather than dabble. Set 2020 as your "year of CAT tools", bite the bullet and just learn how to use one of the major applications. Do training sessions if necessary. Of course it will cost time and money - nothing easily acquired is worth much - but at the end of 12 months you'll have a good idea of what CAT is all about and whether it works for you. And you'll be able to honestly make marketing claims to that effect.

Incidentally, it might be different in your language pair, and in law, but I have been explicitly told by my clients that one of the reasons I get work in finance because I'm ready and willing to use CAT tools (specifically, SDL Trados Studio), while most of my peers are not. I personally find CAT tools very useful and would not be without them.

Regards,
Dan


Thanks for your thoughts, Dan, and apologies for my taking so long to reply.

You make a fair point too. I feel I will have much more flexibility if I use more CATs, particularly if bidding for work. My past experience was that, once I'd done a couple of pieces of work for an agency, they would leave it to me to produce the translations and it was up to me to ensure that I was on time and accurate.

Things are getting ever more competitive hence my question. I have SDL Trados, but don't particularly like it and would be delighted to find a more user-friendly piece of kit.


 


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