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Wordfast Users: What do you say to agencies who ask for Trados?
Thread poster: Caroline Lakey

Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:34
French to English
May 28, 2009

Hello,

I'm in the process of deciding on my first CAT tool purchase. In an ideal world it would be WordFast, (because I like it, and the cost is lower) but I'm concerned about cutting out a part of the market by not having Trados.

I'm interested to know how you react to agencies specifying Trados. Are you able to convince PMs to give you jobs when they were looking for a translator with Trados? (I know WF can't handle everything that Trados does, but I'm talking about in general terms.)

Many thanks in advance for any help you can give,

Caroline


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Terry Richards
France
Local time: 09:34
French to English
+ ...
I tell them the truth May 28, 2009

Wordfast can read and create tmx TMs and the bak files are 100% compatible with Trados.

If I didn't tell them, 99% of project managers wouldn't know I was using Wordfast for Office documents.

Terry.


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Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:34
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
Almost... May 28, 2009

... 100%, but one "very smart guy"...

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Lori Cirefice  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:34
French to English
Never been asked for Trados May 28, 2009

I don't apply for the jobs on ProZ that specify Trados. My clients know that I use Wordfast and that has never been a problem for me.

I have done some teamwork with WF-only teams and mixed Trados/WF teams. Everything went smoothly. Bilingual files are the same and can be sent back and forth for proofing and cleaning up to update a master TM.

A word of caution about Tag Editor files which are *not* compatible with Wordfast unless you do some major tweaking.

The important thing is to find out what your clients expect - do they just want the TMX and/or bilingual file back for proofreading? Or is there some other underlying reason why they specifically need Trados (perhaps justified)?


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Amazingly, the really good agencies don't May 28, 2009

I made a quick mental roundup of all agencies I've ever worked for, and the really good ones didn't care if I had Trados (I don't) nor WordFast (I have), and were even less interested if I'd be using any CAT tool. All they wanted was a fairly-priced top quality translation delivered on time.

Other agencies approached me demanding Trados and nothing else. Most ruled me out pronto for not having it. A few reluctantly accepted that I used WordFast, however they were mostly interested in how much discount I'd give them on each range of fuzzy matches (none!). They didn't seem to care much about my linguistic capabilities. Some of them had me rummage their messy FTP site to find anything that hadn't been translated yet to give an estimate; all the rest was reference material. The few jobs I got from these CAT-demanding agencies were fraught with last-minute radical changes in instructions and, ça va sans dire, late payment.

The agencies that simply don't care if I'm using any CAT tool work about as hard as I do to keep a good, friendly, mutually rewarding, and long-lasting business relationship.


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Maria Ramon  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:34
Dutch to English
+ ...
Agencies wanting Trados, want discounts May 29, 2009

I have found that most agencies that demand Trados only want to get the discounts for the fuzzys and matches and whatever. I just tell them I don't do discounts, the work is the same, I spent just the same amount of time translating and I like to get paid for my work, in full!

BTW, if we were to give discounts on all repeat words we would have to also consider giving discounts on the words: and, by, the, a, etc. becasue they get repeated a lot!

No, I don't do discounts, and if they don't like it, too bad, I won't do the job; only one agency wouldn't give me the job, which was fine with me, I saw that they also had a horrible rating on the BB so working for them would be too risky anyway.

Maria


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Daniel Grau  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
Actually, the question I'm asked is not "Do you have Trados?" May 29, 2009

The question from first-time clients has always been, "Can you handle Trados files?" To which I answer "Yes." However, I've always used Wordfast on a Mac.

Occasionally I've received TTX and TMX memories, which I just convert and then use with Wordfast. If a client happens to send me a TM in the proprietary TMW format, I just ask for an export. No one ever asked for reasons.

Personally, I don't think a first-time client would readily accept a statement like "I have a Mac, so I don't have Trados, but that's OK." I think I'm better off following the Army motto, "Don't ask, don't tell."

Regards,

Daniel


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Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 10:34
Russian to English
+ ...
Trados is an excuse to pay less. Ask them to remove "repeats" :) May 29, 2009

Maria Ramon wrote:

I have found that most agencies that demand Trados only want to get the discounts for the fuzzys and matches and whatever. I just tell them I don't do discounts, the work is the same, I spent just the same amount of time translating and I like to get paid for my work, in full!

BTW, if we were to give discounts on all repeat words we would have to also consider giving discounts on the words: and, by, the, a, etc. becasue they get repeated a lot!

No, I don't do discounts, and if they don't like it, too bad, I won't do the job; only one agency wouldn't give me the job, which was fine with me, I saw that they also had a horrible rating on the BB so working for them would be too risky anyway.

Maria


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Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:34
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
What can Trados handle over Wordfast? May 29, 2009

Very many thanks for all this advice, which is really helpful.

To help me make an informed decision, would someone be willing to explain which jobs I would have to turn down with WordFast, compared to a Trados/TagEditor user? (Unfortunately I'm not an IT expert, so I wouldn't be wanting to get in to lots of complicated file conversions!)


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John Rawlins  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:34
Spanish to English
+ ...
At the lower end of the market May 29, 2009

This may be an unfair generalisation, but I have the impression that agencies demanding Trados are mostly at the lower end of the market in quality and price.

The jobs requiring Trados seem to be the sort of jobs that you really don't want - vast plumbing and kitchenware catalogues paying 6 cents a word, less fuzzies, at 90 days.

I am sure there are some fine agencies paying good rates that require Trados. However, they would seem to be a minority in my combination (Spanish to English).


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:34
English to French
+ ...
tageditor is Trados only May 29, 2009

Caroline Lakey wrote:

Very many thanks for all this advice, which is really helpful.

To help me make an informed decision, would someone be willing to explain which jobs I would have to turn down with WordFast, compared to a Trados/TagEditor user? (Unfortunately I'm not an IT expert, so I wouldn't be wanting to get in to lots of complicated file conversions!)


To answer to your main question: You won't be able to handle HTML or other files prepared with Tageditor. It could be a problem if you want to do very technical jobs for the manufactoring industry, like catalogs or instructions which are converted from QuarkExpress/Framemaker or other specific formats.

BUT, if you have Wordfast classic :
TM can be imported/exported in tmx format, available with all major CAT tools, including Wordfast and Trados.

Word file are the easiest to handle, you can receive/deliver unclean file and TM.
Other MS Office files: PowerPoint and Excel can be handled with Wordfast too.

You can use all kind references/glossaries provided as bilingual tables in word/excel/txt/csv files - you just have to convert them into Wordfast glossary (very easy)

Usually I say I have Trados when registering in a database - or they never select you because you don't have the magic "Trados" keyword.
But then when they offer a job it is easy to ask for a TM in TMX format. If the agency doesn't seem to know what it means ... better not work with them.

WF also has an analyzing tool, so you can go for discount for repetition/fuzzy matches etc. if you feel it is acceptable in the context of a specific project.
Note that the result can be a little different between the 2 tools depending on initial settings - make sure you agree on all terms before taking the job.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:34
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Be honest and say what you can do May 29, 2009

Caroline Lakey wrote:
I'm interested to know how you react to agencies specifying Trados. Are you able to convince PMs to give you jobs when they were looking for a translator with Trados?


I don't set out to "convince" clients at all. In my first e-mail I usually tell people that I can do uncleaned RTF and TTX, and that I don't have Trados.

If a client has Trados but doesn't know what TTX and/or uncleaned RTF are, then odds are he doesn't know much about Trados anyway, and he might just end up asking me for something that I can't deliver even though I was honest with him from the beginning about what I can or can't deliver. But I'm generalising here.

I never had the impression that a client asking for Trados is necessarily or usually a lower-paying, less trustworthy, smaller, or lesser client. Big clients use CAT tools too.

Some translators believe it is unprofessional to be honest about what you can do, and that you should always present yourself as a large business capable of doing all sorts of things, but I disagree.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 09:34
English to Czech
+ ...
Of course May 29, 2009

Maria Ramon wrote:

I have found that most agencies that demand Trados only want to get the discounts for the fuzzys and matches and whatever. I just tell them I don't do discounts, the work is the same, I spent just the same amount of time translating and I like to get paid for my work, in full!

BTW, if we were to give discounts on all repeat words we would have to also consider giving discounts on the words: and, by, the, a, etc. becasue they get repeated a lot!
Maria


That's what translation memories are about. No problem getting paid for your own work, but if you have a document update with 20% of new text and 80% exact matches, why would anyone want to pay you for somebody else's job?

BTW, agencies don't want discounts on repeated words, but rather on repeated segments. It is rarely the case that a segment is a single word.

To Caroline's question: I can only second the other posters' opinions: tell the agency the truth. If the project managers are technically competent enough, they will let you work on Trados projects with different CAT tools, such as WordFast or MemoQ. The problem is, that at least here, in the Czech Rep., there are very few PMs who are technically competent enough...

[Upraveno: 2009-05-29 11:23 GMT]


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Susan van den Ende  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:34
English to Dutch
+ ...
Be honest May 29, 2009

As a Trados-using outsourcer, I'd suggest to simply be honest. With most jobs I'm fine with Wordfast as well.

But here's a scenario:

- translator responds to a Trados job post, stating Trados as one of the CAT tools in his profile
- all works well, happy cooperation starts
- big multilingual job comes in, right in his field
- I ask whether he's available and we work out a deadline
- I prep the files for for the entire team for Trados
- and then it turns out that he's using Wordfast

Extra work involved there that wasn't needed for the other team members. Not a nice surprise.

So, whatever tool you choose, be honest. In the long run, it's better for business. If you simply state Wordfast on your profile, most agencies will know exactly how to prep your files.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
There ARE legit Trados requests May 29, 2009

Samuel Murray wrote:
I never had the impression that a client asking for Trados is necessarily or usually a lower-paying, less trustworthy, smaller, or lesser client. Big clients use CAT tools too.


Some translation agencies handle huge multilingual jobs where most of the actual "translation" has been done, and it's mostly a matter of updating heavy files in all languages.

In these cases, it's pretty obvious that rates will be lower, not always because they are scroogey, but because the translation work is comparatively smaller, in spite of the number of words involved. As a result, sometimes it may not be so cost-effective to play tricks with WordFast to make it look like you are using Trados.

Nevertheless, such agencies will know if WordFast can do it adequately or not.


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