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Wordfast - is it still drven by the translation community (and for that community)?
Thread poster: big_fish

big_fish  Identity Verified
Polish to English
+ ...
Jul 12, 2012

Hello,
I would like to share my reflections after using Wordfast for over a decade.
First of all I have always considered WF great for its simplicity. Suffice it to say, it was so simple that I could train a computer literate non-translator to use WF Classic over the phone in 15 minutes. This has basically not changed.
However the original tool, at at time seemingly developed partly as crowdware, has been greatly extended and another Pro tool was built.
I purchased the licence some two years ago for both Classic and Pro.
This is a three year licence including an annual subscription for technical support.
I asked those nice people a dozen or so more or less silly questions. They were always prompt and helpful, no complaint here.
However, now I am no longer entitled to technical support that is included in the price of the licence (you can buy it separately, yet the licence has to be renewed every 3 yrs).
I started using Wordfast Pro and find many features just don't work (e.g. uppercase/lowercase SHift+F3, or nothing was shown when I tried to display segments with transcheck errors). The software keeps freezing very often, returns error messages. Additionally, whenever I tried to look for something in the online help it wasn't there.
Ultimately, I am at the mercy and goodwill of my colleagues, and I do have a feeling that with this support and licensing policy + poor online help is not exactly what the translation community expects now.
Or maybe I am just getting it totally wrong?
Best regards,
Krzysztof


 

Dušan Ján Hlísta  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 20:52
English to Slovak
+ ...
Wordfast Pro versus Classic Jul 12, 2012

I am using Wordfast Classic since 2003. I am still satisfied with it. One of the new features which are in Wordfast Pro is to use of *.pdf documents. After some experiments I decided to transfer *.pdf document into *.doc and then simply use Wordfast Classic. I do not see any other contribution of Wordfast Pro than usage of other formats of files than is Word type, which is also very questionable. So I do not risk learning and using Wordfast Pro. I believe in Wordfast Classic.
Dušan Ján Hlísta alias "škopko"

[Edited at 2012-07-12 18:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-12 18:54 GMT]


 

John Di Rico  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:52
Member (2006)
French to English
Shift+F3 and support Jul 12, 2012

big_fish wrote:
I started using Wordfast Pro and find many features just don't work (e.g. uppercase/lowercase SHift+F3...


Hi Krzysztof,

With Pro, you have to select the entire word for Shift+F3 to work (unlike in Word where you can simply have the cursor on it or at the end of it). I do however think this should be change to resemble the MS-Word behavior.

As far as the support goes, most of the tech support are constantly monitoring this forum as well as the Yahoo user groups and provide "free" tech support there. The advantage of providing support in these forums is the advice becomes public and searchable so when others have the same or similar problems, they get the answers they need right away. This also saves tech support time answering the same questions over and over again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gugbMw4LigY&feature=related).

I suggest joining the Yahoo groups dedicated to Pro and Classic, search for answers first and then post new topics if you can't find anything helpful.

You could also buy on-demand tech supporticon_wink.gif Check it out: http://fiverr.com/jmdirico/answer-a-question-about-wordfast

Good luck!

John Di Rico
Wordfast Trainer
www.apextra.net


 

Jeff Allen  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:52
Multiplelanguages
+ ...
Wordfast direction Jul 12, 2012

These two links should help in seeing where focus is placed. Wordfast is positioned as a range of desktop to enterprise products offered in the portfolio of products offered by Translations.com, based on the news releases below.

http://www.translations.com/products/wordfast

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20080905005610/en/Translations.com-Wordfast-Strengthen-Alliance-Translation-Memory-Software

http://www.translations.com/about/news/pr/pr_080905_wordfast.html

The presence and support in the various online communities of desktop users keep the Wordfast products focused on needs of such users.

The introduction of TMXL format support comes from the relationship between Translations.com (GlobalLink product suite), Wordfast and Alchemy.

See a short description of TXML at the Alchemy software site at:
http://www.alchemysoftware.ie/livedocs/publisher20/navigating_the_publisher_interface/file_menu/export_to_globallink_txml.htm

Jeff


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 20:52
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Krzysztof Jul 12, 2012

big_fish wrote:
However the original tool, at at time seemingly developed partly as crowdware, has been greatly extended and another Pro tool was built. ... This is a three year licence including an annual subscription for technical support. ... Ultimately, I am at the mercy and goodwill of my colleagues, and I do have a feeling that with this support and licensing policy + poor online help is not exactly what the translation community expects now.


I share you feelings that Wordfast's developers were a lot more responsive in the earlier years, and added many features whenever anyone asked for it. That is no longer how Wordfast is being developed. However, I understand that when a product matures, it has to trim itself of lesser features and focus on specific other features.

It is interesting that you got most of your support from the developers during those first years, as I have never had any support directly from them. In fact, one of the things that I like about Wordfast is that its users are so knowledgeable -- and all of my support in the past has been from users, mostly on the Wordfast Yahoogroup mailing list.

Samuel


 

big_fish  Identity Verified
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Shift+F3+whole word Jul 12, 2012

John Di Rico wrote:
With Pro, you have to select the entire word for Shift+F3 to work (unlike in Word where you can simply have the cursor on it or at the end of it). I do however think this should be change to resemble the MS-Word behavior.


Thanks, that's true, it works with whole words.
Somewhat counter-intuitive, considering the key combination shared with MS Word.
Best regards,
Krzysztof


 

big_fish  Identity Verified
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How fo find an answer to "my WF Pro freezes every once in a while for no apparent reason" Jul 12, 2012

John Di Rico wrote:
As far as the support goes, most of the tech support are constantly monitoring this forum as well as the Yahoo user groups and provide "free" tech support there. The advantage of providing support in these forums is the advice becomes public and searchable so when others have the same or similar problems, they get the answers they need right away. This also saves tech support time answering the same questions over and over again (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gugbMw4LigY&feature=related).

I suggest joining the Yahoo groups dedicated to Pro and Classic, search for answers first and then post new topics if you can't find anything helpful.

You could also buy on-demand tech supporticon_wink.gif Check it out: http://fiverr.com/jmdirico/answer-a-question-about-wordfast


To supplement your youtube suggestion, let me share my favourite, showing the gist of problems users encounter with new systems. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNKjUaE54yI
K


 

Sabine Deutsch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:52
French to German
+ ...
Love it Jul 12, 2012

To supplement your youtube suggestion, let me share my favourite, showing the gist of problems users encounter with new systems. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNKjUaE54yI
K [/quote]




[Edited at 2012-07-12 20:32 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-12 20:32 GMT]


 

Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:52
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Wordfast and the community have changed Jul 12, 2012

The early development of Wordfast for Word was driven by the wishes of an internet community of translators, but that was around ten years ago. Wordfast for Word, currently marketed as Wordfast Classic and WFC, has always been the work of only one developer: Yves Champollion. All other Wordfast products have as far as I know been developed by teams.

Wordfast Pro and Wordfast Anywhere were never the result of the wishes of the community that had helped with the early development of Wordfast Classic. By the time you bought your first Wordfast license, Wordfast as a commercial endeavour had already changed its strategy for years.

At the start of this century Wordfast users were often Microsoft Word buffs who didn’t mind hitting Ctrl+Z a few times when something unexpected happened. Yves in return didn’t mind spending a night or two writing code to hack Trados TMs or to convert PDFs. All Wordfast users were happy and probably went faster than other translators.

But they were not as demanding as the next generation of CAT users. Nowadays, many of the magic features Wordfast had in the old days have been deprecated because users complain when they do not work all the time. New CAT users don’t put up with Word crashing when Wordfast encounters a table in a footnote and they (prefer to) know far less about what’s happening under the hood of Microsoft Office and PCs in general.

The Wordfast Classic installed user base has become too big to implement a user’s wishes just to see what happens. Introducing new features even leads to heated complaints about old bugs that still haven’t been solved.

The introduction of Machine Translation in WFC is a good example of the current development strategy. I’m a member of the Yahoo groups for Wordfast Classic and for Wordfast beta releases and I don’t recall anyone asking for MT or any serious discussions about introducing the feature. Then Yves proposed a first beta version with MT, and a second beta, and a twentieth. Developing the MT feature wasn’t community driven. The first versions were too hard to use for mainstream CAT users and Yves would have never released them to the public.

MT is more or less Click and Go in the current public version of WFC. Although one or two of my remarks were considered during development, 10 or 100 translators aren’t a community. Still, I’m mighty pleased with MT within WFC.

Cheers,
Gerard


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:52
Spanish to English
+ ...
Me too Jul 13, 2012

skopko wrote:

I am using Wordfast Classic since 2003. I am still satisfied with it. One of the new features which are in Wordfast Pro is to use of *.pdf documents. After some experiments I decided to transfer *.pdf document into *.doc and then simply use Wordfast Classic. I do not see any other contribution of Wordfast Pro than usage of other formats of files than is Word type, which is also very questionable. So I do not risk learning and using Wordfast Pro. I believe in Wordfast Classic.
Dušan Ján Hlísta alias "škopko"

[Edited at 2012-07-12 18:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-12 18:54 GMT]


I agree. I'm still happy with the simplicity of WFC after 5 years and I haven't even used half of its features.


 

big_fish  Identity Verified
Polish to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
It's best whenever you Jul 13, 2012

neilmac wrote:

skopko wrote:

I am using Wordfast Classic since 2003. I am still satisfied with it. One of the new features which are in Wordfast Pro is to use of *.pdf documents. After some experiments I decided to transfer *.pdf document into *.doc and then simply use Wordfast Classic. I do not see any other contribution of Wordfast Pro than usage of other formats of files than is Word type, which is also very questionable. So I do not risk learning and using Wordfast Pro. I believe in Wordfast Classic.
Dušan Ján Hlísta alias "škopko"

[Edited at 2012-07-12 18:53 GMT]

[Edited at 2012-07-12 18:54 GMT]


I agree. I'm still happy with the simplicity of WFC after 5 years and I haven't even used half of its features.


I believe it was Yves' guiding idea in the early days.
That's why I hardly ever launched my WF Pro for over a year.
Now I am frustrated because I haven't tested it during the first year, when I was entitled to support. And it keeps freezing.
You cannot however do ttx or many other files with WF Classic.


 

Dušan Ján Hlísta  Identity Verified
Slovakia
Local time: 20:52
English to Slovak
+ ...
WFC Jul 13, 2012

That's why I hardly ever launched my WF Pro for over a year.
Now I am frustrated because I haven't tested it during the first year, when I was entitled to support. And it keeps freezing.
You cannot however do ttx or many other files with WF Classic. [/quote]

> That is truth, but until now I haven’t had any demand of this kind so I really do not care about Wordfast Pro and Anywhere because WFC is here to stay (like rock and roll...).
DJH

[Edited at 2012-07-13 08:20 GMT]


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 20:52
English to Czech
+ ...
Some thoughts Jul 17, 2012

big_fish wrote:
However the original tool, at at time seemingly developed partly as crowdware, has been greatly extended and another Pro tool was built.

A natural move. WFC could not respond to the new requirements on the translation market any more. Most other developers have introduced their dedicated translation environments too and that's what WF had to do if they didn't want to fall behind the latest developments.

This is a three year licence including an annual subscription for technical support.
...
However, now I am no longer entitled to technical support that is included in the price of the licence (you can buy it separately, yet the licence has to be renewed every 3 yrs).
...
...and I do have a feeling that with this support and licensing policy + poor online help is not exactly what the translation community expects now.


This licensing policy, i.e. that you have to renew your license every three years, is exactly why I dropped WordFast a long time ago. If I puchase a license, I want to be granted the right to use it till the end of times, unless I upgrade to a later version. No other software I know, except for anti-virus software, requires me to renew my license periodically. A smart strategy for the developer to secure his revenues, but a poor one to secure a solid user base, IMO.

[Upraveno: 2012-07-17 10:14 GMT]


 

Daina Jauntirans  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:52
German to English
+ ...
Pro/Support Jul 17, 2012

I have also used WFC for 10 years and have always been happy with it. The minor glitches (losing formatting being the main one I have come across) were always worth it, and I will use WFC as long as I possibly can, even now that I have Trados.

Then, last year, I needed to use WFPro for a large, one-off project. Whoa. I found the program difficult to use at best, but I have to say, the tech support (which I was contacting practically every other day during this project!) was superb. My only gripe was that whenever we hit a wall with a question I had, the answer was "send me your TM" - well, if you have NDAs with clients, that's never going to be OK, so a different approach is in order.

PS Jeff, thanks for the Translation.com information! Very interesting.


 

Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:52
Finnish to French
Total cost of ownership Jul 17, 2012

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:
This licensing policy, i.e. that you have to renew your license every three years, is exactly why I dropped WordFast a long time ago. If I puchase a license, I want to be granted the right to use it till the end of times, unless I upgrade to a later version.

What matters is the total price you will pay for a software in the long run. In your case, you paid 90 euros for your Wordfast license in 2005 (the advantage of living in the Czech Republic, a country eligible for the 50% discount). If you had renewed your license in 2008, you would have paid 62.50 euros (normal price of new license then: 250 euros -> price of renewal: 125 euros -> with country discount: 62.50 euros). Your license would have expired in 2011, and you would then have had to pay 87.50 euros (normal price of new Classic license in 2011: 350 euros) or 125 euros if you had wanted to get both Classic and Pro included in your license. So over the years (2005-2014), you would have paid 90+62.50+87.50 = 240 euros (Classic only) or 90+62.50+125 = 277.50 euros (Classic + Pro).

As it happens, 2005 was the year SDL purchased Trados. You could have purchased SDL Trados 2006 (their first common product) in late 2005 or 2006, instead of making the "mistake" of purchasing Wordfast. How much would you have paid for SDL Trados 2006 back then? And more importantly, would you be still using that version today, on the basis that their license is granted "forever"? Maybe you would have skipped SDL Trados 2007 and waited until Studio 2009. Maybe you would have skipped Studio 2011 and waited for Studio 2013 (?). Whatever the case, chances are you would have purchased at least two upgrades by 2014, and paid way more than with Wordfast.

The reality is that no one uses a given version of a CAT tool "forever", and that even five years is an eternity in our business, for a number of reasons. It just makes sense for you as a Trados user to use the current version (Studio 2011) rather than some antiquated 2005 version. And it just makes sense for a Wordfast user to use Classic 6.03t and/or Pro 3.0, rather than versions that are several years old. You have to factor in the cost of staying current with various tools. If/when you do so, you will see that the subscription model of Wordfast is very reasonably priced.


 
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