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Can I reply to ad requiring SDL Trados if I have Wordfast ?
Thread poster: Pauline Eloi

Pauline Eloi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:43
English to French
+ ...
Nov 15, 2011

Hi everyone,

I recently started working as a freelance translator. I am thinking about investing in a CAT tool, as many clients ask for it. As I am just starting as a freelancer, I cannot really afford a Trados licence right now and was rather thinking about buying a Wordfast Pro licence. However, I've noticed that many ads actually require Trados. I was thus wondering if, when clients state that you need to have Trados to work on their project, does it really mean that you HAVE TO have Trados (in which case, given the proportion of ads requiring Trados compared to WF, I may rather wait a bit and invest only in Trados), or if they also work with you when you only have WF.
Apart from that, if any of you knows of a good reason why I should rather invest in one, rather than the other, feel free to let me know! Thanks for your help and have a nice day.

Pauline


 

MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:43
French to English
+ ...
TRADOS Nov 15, 2011

Hi Pauline

Trados is the only CAT tool I have ever been asked to use, it is if I am not mistaken the market leader!

I have, and have looked at other CAT tools, but after much time spent with TRADOS, I will almost certainly never use anything else! It also depends on what it is you are translating, I tend to have a lot of technical, so yes, it is a big help!

One thing to bear in mind, is compatibility, as a newcomer to the profession, if you bought the latest TRADOS version, you might have problems with files sent from agencies that are still using older versions, much older versions in some cases, so it might be worth spending a little time to research what is, and what is not compatible with regards to opening editing files etc.

One last thought, I would think very carfully about what you buy, CAT tools are not cheap!


 

Pauline Eloi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:43
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks for your advice, I'll check how easy previous versions's TM are to convert Nov 15, 2011

Thank you Martin.

You are not the first person to tell me that Trados is the absolute market leader. As you mentioned it, these software are really not cheap and it's going to be rather difficult for me to invest in Trados in the next weeks, or maybe months. Hence my question about the possibility of working with Wordfast when clients ask for Trados, as it is about €300 cheaper.
I will bear in mind that you are very happy with it, and will check how easy it is to convert files from previous versions of Trados into the 2011 version. Thanks again !


 

Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 01:43
French to English
Depend entirely on the deliverable Nov 15, 2011

Depends what your client wants you to deliver. Some insist on Trados because they don't know any better and they think it sounds good, and some really need it, and some are in between. If they actually want to you to deliver the translated file, and only that, then any CAT tool or no CAT tool at all is fine. If they want a TMX file, say, then you can use Wordfast (Classic, at least) to produce that. If they want a bilingual file, Wordfast Classic and other tools can produce that (although I have a feeling Wordfast Pro can't, or couldn't - I might be mistaken).

I have used Wordfast Classic to work with Trados-using clients for years without problems, managing to deliver files they can use just fine, although it must be said that I avoid file types outside of Microsoft Office and html/xml.

There have been a number of threads in the past on this point - a quick search should bring up more details and opinionsicon_smile.gif


 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:43
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
@Pauline Nov 15, 2011

I realise that when you are starting out, the cost of most CAT tools can be disheartening. However, you also need a computer with a genuine system (usually Windows) and, in most cases, a Small Business/Professional version of MS Office, which also cost some money. On the plus side, you can get a return on your investment really quickly (a single project could pay for a CAt tool).

There have been numerous discussions on these forums about whether to use CAT tools, which ones are better, and whether it is ok for agencies or clients to require specific tools. As a freelancer and former PM, I recommend that you do use Trados where it is required. It is possible to use different tools, but you need experience for that. You can also run into trouble with more complex files, and you'll end up as someone who lied.

The reason why agencies require specific tools (apart from the fact that they have invested in them) is that different tools segment text in (slightly) different ways, which affects the wordcount in the future. For example, you and a Polish translator receive a brand new user manual for product X. You use Wordfast and the Polish translator uses Trados. The agency collects your translations and updates its TMs. Now, the manual for project Y arrives. It turns out that the wordcount for either language is now different, because the Wordfast segments went into a Trados TM, and not all of them match the new text.


 

MartinPorto  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 01:43
French to English
+ ...
Which CAT? Nov 15, 2011

TRADOS is the alleged to be the market leader, assuming that is the case, then, it is not without reason!

In my experience, if you want to be taken seriously you need TRADOS
It has its problems, like any other piece of software, many people knock it, and most of them maybe don’t even have it! I have Studio installed on two machines, and have not had any problems whatsoever!

I just like Studio plain and simple!


 

Pauline Eloi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:43
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@ Charlie and Adam Nov 15, 2011

Thank you both for your advice!
So, what I understand from your answers is that they may be interchangeable but for wordcount reasons some agencies may only accept working on one tool rather than the other. And according to the ads I browsed recently, the main (if not only) CAT tool that's required is Trados. So maybe it would be less risky to buy Trados, despite its price... That's a hard decision to make when it is about such an investment! I will have a look at past threads, as you both advised me. Thanks a lot!


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Finnish to French
The wordcount argument doesn't wash Nov 15, 2011

Pauline Eloi wrote:
So, what I understand from your answers is that they may be interchangeable but for wordcount reasons some agencies may only accept working on one tool rather than the other.

Agencies can use their own tools for counting words, no problem with that. But why should *you* use the same tool just because of that? A word is a word, and there shouldn't be huge differences in wordcounts. Even if you use Wordfast, you can still run your own analysis in order to double-check the workcount given to you.
If you are not sure what tool to buy, start with a free one (eg. Wordfast Anywhere) or one that is functional enough in demo mode (eg. Wordfast Classic and/or Wordfast Pro). Why spend hundreds of euros upfront if you're not sure you're going to like it?


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Finnish to French
Ask for advice on the French Wf list! Nov 15, 2011

Pauline Eloi wrote:
I recently started working as a freelance translator. I am thinking about investing in a CAT tool, as many clients ask for it. As I am just starting as a freelancer, I cannot really afford a Trados licence right now and was rather thinking about buying a Wordfast Pro licence.

One more thing: do subscribe to the French Wordfast list at http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/Wordfast_FR/ and ask for advice there. There are plenty of colleagues who can tell you about their experience with "Trados compatibility"...


 

Pauline Eloi  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:43
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
@Dominique Nov 15, 2011

Thanks a lot for your opinion and the link Dominique. I have actually tried both wordfast and trados already, and I have to say I feel more comfortable with Trados, and it's also often the one that's asked in ads and briefs. The only problem is its price. That is why I was wondering if agencies usually accept that translators work with another software when they (the agencies) require Trados. I am going to ask on the wordfast group that you sent me what they think. Cheers!

 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:43
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
Wordcount Nov 15, 2011

Of course anyone can use any tool to count words. The problem is of a financial nature. If a translator uses a diffferent tool, which segments differently, and returns a bilingual file which the agency uses to update its TM, and then the agency analyses a new file with it, the numbers will be different. That means a greater cost to the agency and client.

 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:43
Finnish to French
Segmentation is a different issue Nov 15, 2011

Adam Łobatiuk wrote:
Of course anyone can use any tool to count words. The problem is of a financial nature. If a translator uses a diffferent tool, which segments differently, and returns a bilingual file which the agency uses to update its TM, and then the agency analyses a new file with it, the numbers will be different. That means a greater cost to the agency and client.

If segmentation is important to the agency, it can send pre-segmented files: a presegmented DOC translated in Wordfast Classic, a presegmented TTX translated in Wordfast Pro or a presegmented SDLXLIFF translated with memoQ will have exactly the same segmentation as if these files were translated in Trados Workbench, TagEditor or SDL Studio, respectively. Anyway, in many cases I don't think segmentation is such a big issue. memoQ has a very smart feature called "TM-driven segmentation" to address the issue. I'm surprised no one else seems to have implemented it.


 

philgoddard
United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Pauline Nov 15, 2011

A lot depends on what kind of texts you'll be translating.

If you're doing technical manuals, fine, go ahead and buy Trados. But if you do more creative and non-repetitive marketing texts, there's still plenty of work for non-Trados owners.

I've often found that if customers ask for Trados and I say I haven't got it, they'll quite happily accept Word.


 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:43
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
Segmentation Nov 15, 2011

Dominique Pivard wrote:
If segmentation is important to the agency, it can send pre-segmented files.


Segmentation IS the issue, because Pauline wants to know if she can use another CAT tool when an agency requires Trados. I explained why she shouldn't. How could a serious translator reply to a job offer and claim he or she does have Trados, and then ask the agency to segment the files? There are enough actual Trados users out there for agencies to choose.


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:43
Member (2008)
French to English
WF vs. Trados - again Nov 15, 2011

I have both Trados 2007, SDL Studio and Wordfast and I use them for different purposes. For most Word documents I find Wordfast much better. For some other formats, Studio is better. In times past there were agencies that insisted on Trados but it's now rare, especially since SDL Trados Studio and Trados 2007 are quite different from one another.

For years I only used Wordfast Classic and at that time agencies were using Trados Workbench - an uncleaned Wordfast document was easy for them to open in Trados and import into their TM. Only once do I recall losing one job due to not having Trados and then it was an uninformed PM who didn't know that he could open the WF document with Trados.

I recently ran a test on a large document counting words with Trados Workbench, Studio, Wordfast, MS Word and Finecount. Although they were all slightly different, the total deviation was 0.5%, which I didn't consider significant.

[Edited at 2011-11-15 19:50 GMT]


 
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