CAT Tools

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Cad tools cat tools are quite important, and you will hear quite a bit about them. I've had quite a few people ask me about Cat Cat, first of all stands for computer assisted translation. And in fact, quite a few people ask me about cat tools, and those who've been translating for some time have no doubt come across them. Clients or fellow translators might ask you if you use traddles, or word fast, or any other number of cad tools, so what are they? And are they worth it? Well, just briefly, what are cad tools?

First of all, they are programs that help with a translation process, usually by memorizing certain terms and translations as you come across them. This is so you can use them easily in the future. You can find a decent list of cat tools at this website that I'm showing you Sorry, it's not that simple, but it's a Wikipedia page. And if you search for computer assisted translation, then this page should pop up. Also, don't confuse capitals with machine translation or empty machine translation is a translation performed by a machine think Bing or Google Translate even or more likely, the Skype Translate Option, etc, etc. These are instances where the machine translates for you.

And as we all know, the quality on those is not really good. Cat tools, however, don't perform any translation for you, but they just keep the translations you've performed in their memory. And so they can recreate the translations if they come across again in the future. And they also usually recreate the format of the original documents, so you don't have to worry about that. Just as an example to make it clear as to how they work. Say you're translating a long document, very long document that will take a long amount of time.

And you come across the term that you're not familiar with, you know, you don't know how to translate it. So you search for the correct translation on the forums, maybe ask some people some questions, and you come across in 20 minutes, or even I don't know, maybe you get an answer later that afternoon, so several hours later. In other words, it basically takes you a long time to find a translation for this term. Then you keep continuing with your translation and 30 pages later, say a few days later, a week later, the same term comes up, except you totally forgot what the translation was and what you decided to use at the end, and you don't know where to search for it. And so basically, you can waste another hour trying to go and find out where you found the translation and what the term was.

Cat tools help you with this tremendously because with a cat tool, it will automatically be translated. If you translated a term before the cat tool remembers it. And when the same term comes up again, boom automatically is translated the same way it was before. Once again, if you have no CAD tool, you'll have to go back and search for your translation and waste a lot of time. So a CAD tool can be a real time saver in this sense. This also works not only for just terms or words, but for whole phrases.

So if you have a whole sentence or even a paragraph that is exactly the same, then it works well. And it also works for new documents. So say you translate an annual report for a company and then a year later you translate their new annual report. Chances are a lot of the paragraphs are copy and pasted from the old report, right? But it was a year ago. So you don't remember what translation you use that you don't want to search for it.

The cat tool automatically have them pop up. So it can be as I said, extremely useful. So what's the catch? What's wrong with them? Basically, there is one main thing wrong with them and that is the cost. The most popular CAD tool by far is what's called STL traddles.

I've heard as well but it's a German company so I'm pretty sure it's pronounced traddles or something along those lines. Anyway, as of this recording SDL traddles Studio 2015 professional single user costs 2595 euros and I'm not kidding. Of course, this is the professional version and there's a freelancer version as well, which costs only 521 euros actually 695 euros but there's a discount at this moment while I'm recording it that puts it down to 521. And, and other things if you want to add to it, it goes up from there the minimum will be 521 with the discount. The next most popular version is called memo Q and this one cost 620 euros or 770 US dollars. Once again at the time of this recording.

Another popular one is the word fast which is 400 euros and so on and so forth. And by the way, if you have a Mac you cannot Use shadows or memo queue, they have a pared down version of traddles. Now, which I have not tried, but I've heard it's very pared down and not worth what the original traddles is worth. Another point to remember as well is that clients often asked for discounts based on repetitions when using cat tools. So say if a certain text has, I don't know, 1800 words, they may only pay you for 1500 because 300 of those words are repetitions, and their progress programs that automatically calculate how many repetitions so it's not like you can kind of fake it STL traddles and other programs usually calculate how many words are repeated and because they are automatically reproduced with this program, the client won't pay you for those repetitions, which basically means that any advantage you have is lost.

So it makes sense for them. Because they decide if it's to repeat, we don't want to pay you for it. But you paid for the cat tool in the first place, and you paid quite a bit for it if you bought the cat tool. So even the advantage of having repetitions has a cost, if you will. So you do want to get paid for those repetitions because you need to cover the cost that you paid in the first place for that program, right. And another thing I don't like about it is that this would not work in most other industries.

If a web designer used a similar template for different web designs, the client doesn't get to pay the designer less. Likewise, a lawyer doesn't get paid less for using similar contracts for different clients. So how can we translators get paid less because we have similar terms and expressions and two different translations. Now, some people might argue that the time you save helps you recoup the money, but I would disagree because keep in mind that any memorize terms must be entered in by the user, you are entering these terms that cat tool does not translate it for you. So there's no internalized dictionary or glossary. It's purely Based on your input, so it might be easier just to develop your own glossary or translated terms, at least when you're starting out.

And I'll cover this later on where I talk about keeping a glossary, but in essence is something you could just keep in Excel. And you can refer to whenever needed, or simply just keep it open. And this, quite frankly, will perform 70 to 80% of what a CAD tool does. Now, having said all this, there are certain instances or occasions where a CAD tool could be useful. First of all, if you can get a group of translators together to split the cost, then why not? You know, make sure ahead of time that you all have access to it, you know, will you be using different computers?

And if so, can you all use it under the same license, etc, etc. But if you can, then maybe it could be worth it. Secondly, if you have a client, who you know with 100% certainty is a repeat client. And if this client requires a cat tool, and we'll pay you back the cost of this tool in you know, several months at most, you know, based on their jobs that they give you, then it might be worth it. This, unfortunately, is a calculation, you'll have to do yourself, you'll have to think, okay, if I spent X number of dollars on the cat tool, and I get paid X amount guaranteed by this client, and it saves me X amount of time, then it's a calculation that you'll have to do yourself. But my recommendation is, at least at first not to buy one, I would recommend not using them until later on.

But however, if you want to test the concept out, you can with some free versions, and some of them admittedly, they're not as good as the paid versions, but they can still help you out pretty much. One is omega t, which produces t max files. dmx files are the same ones that are produced by traddles. So I've actually used omega t a couple times instead of traddles. And the client has been perfectly happy with them. Again, they weren't complicated files by any means, but It can be a substitute sometimes.

Also word fest anywhere is also free. And across WordPress anywhere is web based across is only for MS Office users. But it's probably the oldest free cat tool out there. And so it's quite often used by other translators. If you want more information by the way, feel free to go into a forum and talk to other translators about this. you'll usually find quite a bit of discussion about cat tools.

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