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CAT vs MT Tools??
Thread poster: JonAnderson

Magdalena Kowalska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:24
Polish to English
+ ...
Just try Apr 13, 2015

FarkasAndras wrote:

Download the free trials of two or three main contenders and spend at least a day testing and researching each of them before you buy.


MemoQ has a generous trial period of 45 days. I would give it a try, and would take advantage of the whole trial, or at least enough to really test the software.

I find CAT's indispensable for technical translations, just because of the many repetitions in this kind of texts. Termbases are useful in any kind of translation to ensure consistency, something you do want to take seriously.

In short, MTs are usually full of rubbish, but with a CAT you get your own translations as a basis you can build on.

By the way, you can integrate MTs into MemoQ, if you wish, and check for yourself if it is helpful at all.

I started translating without any CAT tool,but now I wouldn't go without, it would be a huge waste of time.


 

Magdalena Kowalska  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:24
Polish to English
+ ...
Formatting without a CAT tool is a nightmare Apr 13, 2015

There is one more thing in favour of a CAT tool, apart from consistency, terminology etc. It is formatting. I don't even want to think about formatting a complicated Word or ppt file without a CAT tool. Been there, it was a nightmare in comparison.

 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 18:24
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
Different planets Apr 13, 2015

You can't do worse translating in OmegaT than in Word. If you have absolutely no use for TM, glossaries, matches, etc., the worst case scenario is that you're working the exact same way as you would have in Word. If you're translating prose, set segmentation by paragraph and it won't affect your ability to make adjustments to sentences, language flow, etc.

MT is another animal altogether. It's mostly useful when you don't actually want to do any translation yourself, because if the
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You can't do worse translating in OmegaT than in Word. If you have absolutely no use for TM, glossaries, matches, etc., the worst case scenario is that you're working the exact same way as you would have in Word. If you're translating prose, set segmentation by paragraph and it won't affect your ability to make adjustments to sentences, language flow, etc.

MT is another animal altogether. It's mostly useful when you don't actually want to do any translation yourself, because if the desired final product is human translation, you will not spend any less time producing that from an MT product than from a source text.
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Jean Lachaud  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:24
English to French
+ ...
You want to do what?! Apr 13, 2015

Translating 120,000 words will require several months working full time, regardless of the method and technology used (CAT, TM, plain old typing or long hand, whether together or not).

A project this size would be a major undertaking for a trained and experienced professional translator, which you are NOT, by your own admission. On average, a professional translator can translate 2500 words/day, which includes research (terminology and other), proofreading and editing. 120,000 word
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Translating 120,000 words will require several months working full time, regardless of the method and technology used (CAT, TM, plain old typing or long hand, whether together or not).

A project this size would be a major undertaking for a trained and experienced professional translator, which you are NOT, by your own admission. On average, a professional translator can translate 2500 words/day, which includes research (terminology and other), proofreading and editing. 120,000 words would thus require a minimum of 50 WORK days. Using a regular work week, that would be 10 weeks, assuming everything goes well, that the translator has no understanding issue requiring long back-and-forth exchanges with the document authors, that the translator knows perfectly the target language terminology (in the case of an application Help file, the knowledge of the application topic, such as accounting, manufacturing, CAD, deep-sea fishing, flying, whatever is also likely to be required both in the source and the target languages), to name a few factors.

One wonders how that would be compatible with your existing career, even without considering the two facts above.

Just saying.


JonAnderson wrote:

Hi,

I am completely new to the world of translation. A friend of mine
is an executive of a multinational company and is helping me out
financially by offering me some translation work. The first
project is a large (120,000 word help file for CRM software) which
will be followed by other translation projects.

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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:24
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
Big job Apr 14, 2015

I agree with the comments above. 120,000 words is indeed a large job. Machine Translation of something technical like a help file for CRM software is likely to make a complete mess of it. MT has its place, but accurate translation isn't one of them.

There is a myth out there, among people who know nothing about the profession of translation, that it's all done by computers now. Machine Translation is good for what is sometimes referred to as "gisting" - getting the gist of a tex
... See more
I agree with the comments above. 120,000 words is indeed a large job. Machine Translation of something technical like a help file for CRM software is likely to make a complete mess of it. MT has its place, but accurate translation isn't one of them.

There is a myth out there, among people who know nothing about the profession of translation, that it's all done by computers now. Machine Translation is good for what is sometimes referred to as "gisting" - getting the gist of a text in a foreign language. It is not useful for accurate translation. In fact, MT tends to often get things completely wrong. A professional translator who can touch-type efficiently can usually translate directly a lot faster than unraveling a machine translation and sorting out its errors, inconsistencies and tortured sentences.

A CAT tool is well worth the investment, IMO. Especially if you use free ones like OmegaT or Wordfast Anywhere. What a CAT tool does is help you to maintain consistency throughout a project, as well as helping with organizing the work and controlling formatting of the document. In a 120,000 word technical job, you will be hard-pressed to maintain consistency through the whole job without a CAT tool. A help file is likely to have numerous repetitions of phrases and terms, and a CAT tool will mean you only need to research a term once, even if the next use of the term is 100,000 words later.

Just by the way, a 120,000 word project would normally be handled by a team of full-time translators or a pair at very least, not one person. Here, even more, a CAT tool with some form of interoperability (remote server or at the very least sharing of TMs as the work goes on) is necessary to maintain consistency between team members.

[Edited at 2015-04-14 00:36 GMT]
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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 18:24
Chinese to English
Nice to have friends Apr 14, 2015

JonAnderson wrote:

A friend of mine is an executive of a multinational company and is helping me out financially by offering me some translation work...I am not planning to be a full-time translator...

I'm not sure if everyone else was being super-friendly, or polite, or what, but I'll say directly what JL01 was alluding to above. What on earth do you think you're playing at? This is a major, agency-sized job, or a job for an experienced translator. It's lovely that you have friends who are willing to waste their employer's money, but you ought to be aware that translation is a proper job, not a game. And it's somewhat insulting to turn up on a professional translators' forum advertising your lack of interest in the profession...

And then there's this daft MT idea...

Harrumph.

Having said that, here's practical advice:

1) Forget MT. I'm one of those people who are anti-MT, and I'll explain why: it ultimately takes more time to get a good result using MT, and a good result is what you want here. MT can be useful for gisting, or when no-one is actually going to read the output (surprisingly common situation). But a software help file? Think about your own experience. Have you ever screamed at a badly translated user's manual? Badly written software help is a nightmare, and your customer will not be happy with awkward, hard-to-follow text. CRM software needs to be so intuitive that even salespeople can use it, remember. For a help file you need good flow, and the only way to get it is by translating the text yourself. Editing a badly MTed sentence literally takes longer - try it and see.

2) Pick a CAT tool and learn it. I know SDL looks intimidating, but there are simpler tools out there, including several free tools. For a help file, CAT is perfect: it gives you consistency throughout the file.

But be clear, you will have to do this translation yourself. Your client has given you a translation job. Not an editing job. Not a software text processing job. If you don't actually want to translate, then for goodness' sake, give the job to someone who does.


 

Andy Watkinson
Spain
Local time: 11:24
Member
Catalan to English
+ ...
Emperor's new hobby? Apr 14, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:

I'm not sure if everyone else was being super-friendly, or polite, or what, but I'll say directly what JL01 was alluding to above. What on earth dIo you think you're playing at? This is a major, agency-sized job, or a job for an experienced translator. It's lovely that you have friends who are willing to waste their employer's money, but you ought to be aware that translation is a proper job, not a game. And it's somewhat insulting to turn up on a professional translators' forum advertising your lack of interest in the profession...


But Phil, you must admit we're all a very civilised bunch of people. Try telling a group of Chartered Accountants you're going to prepare a set of accounts, financial statements and whatnot without being one or ever intending to become one.

NB. Accountants can be vicious.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:24
Spanish to English
+ ...
Lacklustre attitude, non-sparkling outcomes Apr 14, 2015

I agree with Phil, the lack of commitment voiced is denigrating to those of us who are committed to the profession. If you're not really interested in translation as a vocation and already "have a career", why not stick to the day job? There are enough market busters out there already these days without half-hearted intruders to exacerbate the situation.

 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Jon Apr 14, 2015

JonAnderson wrote:
- is SYSTRAN Premium the better MT option available?
- and most importantly, is SYSTRAN MT initial translation high quality?


Since you're planning to buy Systran, I think you should send them a sample of about 2500 words to translate, and then compare that sample translation to e.g. Google Translate. Because if their translation isn't much better than Google Translate, then I would suggest getting a cheap, easy-to-use CAT tool (e.g. OmegaT) that allows you to use Google Translate in it. That way, you'd get advantages from both worlds.

If I compare the two by assuming that the paid version of Systran will be the same as or similar to the free version here, then I'm afraid it's not much better than Google Translate (I did a very quick FR-EN test).

- what are the major trade offs in using MT instead of CAT?


* An MT system (by itself) will always re-translate a sentence, even if that sentence is very, very similar to a sentence that you translated previously, whereas the CAT tool will suggest matches from sentences that you had translated and verified previously. This is why you're right to select an MT system with a TM component.
* If the MT system is rule- and dictionary-based, it may translate terms consistently, but if it uses a statistical component, it may translate terms inconsistently, whereas the glossary and concordance features of a CAT tool will help you to be consistent with terminology.

I fully realize that I will need to edit the initial translation and that having a TM tool inside the MT software is essential. This lead me to considering buying the SYSTRAN Premium (hybrid MT).


I assume you mean this one:
http://www.systransoft.com/translation-products/desktop/systran-7-premium-translator/

Are you sure it has TM capability, and that the TM offers fuzzy matching? I don't see that in the list of features. I see that you can create a TM from existing translations (by alignment) and that you can have a "TM" in your project, but it doesn't say what role the TM plays in translation.


[Edited at 2015-04-14 07:13 GMT]


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Neil Apr 14, 2015

neilmac wrote:
The lack of commitment voiced is denigrating to those of us who are committed to the profession. If you're not really interested in translation as a vocation and already "have a career", why not stick to the day job?


Who says it's wrong to make some money from a hobby?


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:24
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Phil Apr 14, 2015

Phil Hand wrote:
MT ultimately takes more time to get a good result using MT...


It depends on the language combination, on the subject matter, on how well the source text was written, on how easy the editor is to use and on whether the text is displayed in a way that is easy for your brain to make sense of. It is perfectly possible to get a good result with MT much faster than with TM alone, if the situation is optimal.

As translators we are able to evaluate (and correct) existing translations (including our own), but so can many other people who are good at language but not necessarily translators. It's possible for people who are good at language to be able to see whether or not a translation is acceptable, even if they are not translators themselves, even if they would struggle to create the translation themselves. For such people, an MT system may actually be faster and better than trying to perform a task (translation) that requires great skill.


 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:24
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
The right tool for the right job Apr 14, 2015

I'd say you just got a whole load of good, objective advice from the people that would normally carry out this sort of job.

Seeing as this hasn't turned into an MT-bashing thread, I don't mind giving my 2 cents:

I think MT would slow you down in this instance. Maybe if you had a whole host of training and experience in MT and understood exactly how it works, you could calibrate your MT software for this particular subject.

But it's probably best to learn ho
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I'd say you just got a whole load of good, objective advice from the people that would normally carry out this sort of job.

Seeing as this hasn't turned into an MT-bashing thread, I don't mind giving my 2 cents:

I think MT would slow you down in this instance. Maybe if you had a whole host of training and experience in MT and understood exactly how it works, you could calibrate your MT software for this particular subject.

But it's probably best to learn how conventional translation works first. And with 120,000 glorious words on how to use CRM software, you'll certainly have the chance to do that.

The basic utilities of a CAT tool can be picked up pretty fast. As can the basic concerns of creating an accurate translation if you decide to go with Word. If you go with MT, I'm sure you'll learn about its pitfalls soon enough too, but I suspect you need to be quite an experienced translator to deal with them.
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 11:24
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
You don't say what your other career is Apr 14, 2015

Many of us here pre-date actual training in translation, and many have qualifications in other subjects. You do not actually need an MA in linguistics to be a successful translator. Just ask some of the medical and legal specialists around!

You DO need to know the specialist language of your subject, but I am assuming you know enough about CRM in both languages for that to be in place.

My husband once translated a product list with specifications for his company, knowin
... See more
Many of us here pre-date actual training in translation, and many have qualifications in other subjects. You do not actually need an MA in linguistics to be a successful translator. Just ask some of the medical and legal specialists around!

You DO need to know the specialist language of your subject, but I am assuming you know enough about CRM in both languages for that to be in place.

My husband once translated a product list with specifications for his company, knowing that I and most of my colleagues would run away screaming! It was just too specialised, but he knew the technical stuff himself, or else he knew who could explain it for him in either language. (Danish to English.)

It did convince him that he would prefer to keep to his normal job, but it was obvious at the time that he was the best person available to do that translation.

What we did find annoying was that the text was not at all consistently set up, and we were not able to use Trados on it. For various reasons the original text was not revised and updated - the translation became the official version instead.
_______________________________

Another advantage of using a CAT is that if you have to update anything in future, you can go to the relevant places easily. You should still check for consistency... but the CAT will also help with that.

OK, if you are not convinced by now you never will be!

Best of luck with the project anyway!
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John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:24
Member (2008)
French to English
+ ...
What happened... Apr 14, 2015

...to the OP? He hasn't posted back since his first post.

 

Michael Grant
Japan
Local time: 19:24
Japanese to English
Call me overly skeptical if you like, but... Apr 15, 2015

I'm suspicious. Something sounds phoney about this whole scenario: why would a "multinational corporation" leave such a huge task (that is going to used and relied upon by people) to a half-interested newbie with another "career"?

The OP's post reads more like a SYSTRAN marketing person searching for opinions from real translators about his/her SYSTRAN product or an IT reporter doing background research for an article than a legitimate inquiry...


 
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