Trados, Deja Vu, Wordfast or what? Which CAT tool should I choose?

spiros · 12 · 28849

spiros

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 811629
    • Gender:Male
  • point d’amour
A while ago somebody asked me which CAT program to buy, a tricky question indeed!

Currently the market leader, with the highest number of translators (10.326) reporting ownership (based on proz data) is Trados, then comes Wordfast with 3913 and SDLX with 2186. Deja Vu is conspicuous with its absence on this list (I suspect because Atril did not agree on special deals for proz promotions. They do however have a sneaky "Admin: Show all tools" link which works only... you guessed correctly, for administrators!).  Is Trados' popularity owed to the fact that it is the best tool? It is indisputably the best-marketed tool - this however does not mean that it is the best tool.

Many agencies ask for Trados. However, most jobs requiring Trados can be done with Wordfast, Metatexis, even Deja Vu (check out Editing, Importing, Exporting Trados files and memories in Deja Vu and Deja Vu-Trados Compatibility Guide by Atril for compatibility information). This means that you can deliver Trados files and memories without owning Trados! All these programs support tmx export which is the universal format for memory exchange.

Cost-wise, Trados is the most expensive (albeit the one with the lowest ratings by translators). Wordfast is the cheapest and with the top ratings. Interesting paradox? And Metatexis is the upcoming player - which in many points outperforms Wordfast and is far more intuitive. However, few people know of its existence! An extra advantage of MetaTexis is its licensing as a Wordfast license is only temporary  (3 years I think and if you want updates after this period you have to pay) as well as the fact that it is considerably cheaper.

Proz.com used to have a detailed CAT tools comparison but now it is unavailable as it is beeing overhauled (being ovehauled for over a year now? Isn't this strange?). As far as I can remember the two top tools as they were rated by translators for a number of features were Wordfast and Deja Vu. Trados was far below.

Bear in mind that Deja Vu and Trados are as different as two CAT tools can be. Trados (as well as Wordfast / Metatexis) is Word based (however you have to run separate applications as well in the case of Trados) whereas Deja Vu is more like Excel.

See also a short comparison of CAT tools and the translation memory tools and reviews page.
« Last Edit: 07 Mar, 2006, 17:19:57 by spiros »


tonybaldwin

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 7
    • Gender:Male
You fail to mention two excellent CAT tools.
OmegaT and Anaphraseus,
both of which are Free Open Source Software, and excellent tools.



spiros

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 811629
    • Gender:Male
  • point d’amour

tonybaldwin

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 7
    • Gender:Male
No, I have not failed — see links at end of post ;)
Free? Yes! Excellent, hmmm...

Free is good!
Can't beat the price!

:)

Oh, and yeah, those links do the trick, I suppose.



spiros

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 811629
    • Gender:Male
  • point d’amour
Free is definetely good! Sometimes though not as good as necessary ;)

And you are preaching to the converted here. Sadly, though, when it comes to CAT tools, open source is well behind commercial products.


tonybaldwin

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 7
    • Gender:Male
Sadly, though, when it comes to CAT tools, open source is well behind commercial products.

I beg to differ there.
I use only Free/open source software, and I am rather successful, both as a freelance translator and as a small agency, outsourcing work to other providers.
I haven't used a commercial/proprietary product in 10 years.
OmegaT is truly an incredible tool, versatile (wide range of file formats), simple to use, efficient.
I also use Anaphraseus for something, but, may agree that anaphraseus has room for improvement.
Nonetheless, it is useful when I have to deal with "unclean" doc files.
My company, Baldwin Linguas, is not the only agency using only free/open source tools, either.
There are others, and many successful freelancers who do the same.


spiros

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 811629
    • Gender:Male
  • point d’amour
Have you used in your projects tools like MetaTexis and Wordfast (I guess you have experience of Trados, DVX)?


tonybaldwin

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 7
    • Gender:Male
Have you used in your projects tools like MetaTexis and Wordfast (I guess you have experience of Trados, DVX)?

Nope.
I have not used any proprietary or commercial software in 10 years.
None.
It is completely possible to work in our industry without it, and be quite successful.
There are many advantages, in fact.
To begin with, gnu.linux and free/open source software are more efficient, less expensive, more stable, more secure, and, as such, keep overhead down,
allow me to focus more on work than maintaining and fixing errant software, etc.
Just the $$ I save in software licenses for OS, office tools, cat tools, and the AV software I would need to protect a leaky windows system reach into the thousands of dollars.
My system is stable, has never, in 10 years, had a crash or interruption, intrusion, spyware, malware or related problem, allowing me to focus on translation work,
not tech admin work.
I wouldn't have the patience to work with proprietary software, spending all the money and then having so many problems with viruses, crashes, etc.]


spiros

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 811629
    • Gender:Male
  • point d’amour
Yes, I agree with your list 100%. The point is that if you do not have in-depth experience of two (or more) different things, then comparison is not as easy as it sounds (when it comes to functionality).


tonybaldwin

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 7
    • Gender:Male
Yes, I agree with your list 100%. The point is that if you do not have in-depth experience of two (or more) different things, then comparison is not as easy as it sounds (when it comes to functionality).

True, I can't really compare with some of those tools
I have tried other CAT software, including but not limited to Heartsome, Cafetrans, Transolution Java Open Language Tools, Esperantilo, and swordfish, all of which run on Linux.
I don't think you mention a few of those.  Some are open source (transolution, java olt, esperantilo), others are not, but they are all available for linux..  
Swordfish is a pretty good tool, proprietary, although much less expensive than most others,
and the developer, Rodolfo, worked for SDLX, on Trados, to my knowledge, so he knows how to build successful commercial tools.
I was almost tempted to purchase a license, but, when it really came down to brass tacks, as they say, I couldn't see any advantage therein over OmegaT.
And that is the real bottom line for me.

How do any other tools stack up against OmegaT in terms of efficiency, versatility, ease of use, and cost of ownership?

What I do know about trados, et al, is that they are expensive, and, most importantly, rely on an operating system that makes me tear my hair out.

I stopped using Windows ten, almost  eleven years ago, and haven't looked back since.  At that time, I was a language teacher, and had not begun working
as a translator.  When I started translating professionally, everybody said I was going to need windows and to use commercial software.
I new better, sought out other options, and, now, I have been working since 2005 as a translator, without using any proprietary software.
The tools available to me have served me very well, allowed me to serve a broad variety of clients...I haven't felt any need to seek out other solutions.
I try other products from time to time, out of curiosity, but haven't found anything that is as easy to use and efficient as OmegaT.
From discussion with other colleagues, using common, popular proprietary tools, I have learned that I am not missing anything.
My productivity is greater.  Most of my colleagues report translating 2500 to 4000 words/day, while I have routinely translated as much as 6000 words/day
on a regular basis using the tools I have.

I know some people are afraid that "you get what you pay for", but the real truth is, OmegaT is an excellent tool.
And I especially could not give up my OmegaT for any tool that would require me to change my operating system and use Windows.
(yes, omegat runs on windows, mac and linux, for anyone wondering)


spiros

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
    • Posts: 811629
    • Gender:Male
  • point d’amour
You see, you greatly limit yourself! I have both Linux and Windows so I can have the best of both worlds when I need so. Free is not necessarily better (you seem to turn the tables on the argument "you get what you pay for" which is not correct either) or more functional due to the sheer fact of being free, and of course I am not necessary talking about Trados (which I consider, well, for the past 10 years the least developed of the major players in terms of functionality).

Subjective output is not an objective indication of the tool's versatility or functionality (so many other parameters: how intimate you are with the tool's inner workings, how fast a typist you are, how good a translator you are, how many hours you work, etc.). For example I could say that I can translate 10.000 words a day given the right TM and cleverly using seamless machine translation with MetaTexis. Would that convince you to switch to MetaTexis?

You catch my drift.
« Last Edit: 12 Mar, 2010, 19:07:47 by spiros »


tonybaldwin

  • Semi-Newbie
  • *
    • Posts: 7
    • Gender:Male
Free is not necessarily better

Well, I think it is.
Free as in Freedom (gratis/libre/livre), I mean, of course.

I do acknowledge that it is my subjective opinion, based on philosophical and political reasons, and not everyone agrees.
Nonetheless, I also believe that, philosophical or political speculation aside, much Free (open source) Software is vastly superior to proprietary tools of a similar nature, and,
especially in respect to operating systems.  

I also believe a strong argument can be made for the importance of open file format standards in lieu of the proprietary file formats used by company's like SDLX in attempts to enslave users with vendor lock-in.  In fact, open standards for file format are, in my estimation, far more important than what software one uses, because open file formats allow users to choose any tool capable of functioning with those open standards.  When companies like Trados and others dominate an industry and impose the use of their closed, proprietary file formats, I believe that is bad for any industry.
I suppose none of that has much to do with what CAT tools works for you or anybody else, but I believe that, at least in regards to file formats, that it is an important consideration.
Of course, that's moving into the whole realm of philosophical and political matters, but I believe with very miportant practical ramifications for the future of our industry or any other.
« Last Edit: 12 Mar, 2010, 19:21:21 by tonybaldwin »


 

Search Tools