CAT tools are becoming a bureaucratic step
Thread poster: Daniel Grau

Daniel Grau  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
Aug 22, 2012

I have a several clients for whom I've worked for years. I'm required to send them segmented files.

For the last couple of years, they've been increasingly pre-translating text and managing their own translation memories. Some send me the resulting files, others just the low or no matches. After I email the translated files, such segments are never sent back to me for translation.

As a result, my translation memories have become increasingly useless, as I mostly use the
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I have a several clients for whom I've worked for years. I'm required to send them segmented files.

For the last couple of years, they've been increasingly pre-translating text and managing their own translation memories. Some send me the resulting files, others just the low or no matches. After I email the translated files, such segments are never sent back to me for translation.

As a result, my translation memories have become increasingly useless, as I mostly use them now to find terminology. Since I have extensive glossaries for most clients, this concordance need is well covered by those glossaries in lieu of concordance searches, if not by old-fashioned brain power, as I know most terminology by heart.

Thus, my CAT tool has been downgraded to a processing requirement for delivery purposes, a mere bureaucratic step. All those translator-convenience features in my CAT tool are going to waste and I suspect that there could be no need for me to upgrade my CAT application until they pry the keyboard from my cold, dead fingers.
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yellycheung
Local time: 16:37
English to Chinese
Use what you've possessed to seek for more opportunities Aug 22, 2012

More and more clients use the CAT tools to minimize their costs, that's the case.

However, if you can take a full advantage of your expertise and CAT database, you can find more clients of the same industry instead.

Isn't that a good thing?


 

Clarisa Moraña  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 05:37
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Merge the translation memories Aug 22, 2012

I do have a merged translation memory (well, in fact, more than one). They are merged following some criterias: subject or field, end client... I have created a nice group of translation memories that are useful as reference. For my own translation job, when no translation memory is required I use "My own translation memory", which is updated with my own job, and as reference "My compilated translation memory" (read only mode).

Of course, I need the habit to export every single tr
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I do have a merged translation memory (well, in fact, more than one). They are merged following some criterias: subject or field, end client... I have created a nice group of translation memories that are useful as reference. For my own translation job, when no translation memory is required I use "My own translation memory", which is updated with my own job, and as reference "My compilated translation memory" (read only mode).

Of course, I need the habit to export every single translation job done by me into a tmx format, and to import it into my compilated translation memory.

Regards

Clarisa
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christela (X)
This is entirely true, if you do nothing Aug 22, 2012

Daniel Grau wrote:

Thus, my CAT tool has been downgraded to a processing requirement for delivery purposes, a mere bureaucratic step. All those translator-convenience features in my CAT tool are going to waste


So update your TMs regularly. Either by cleaning a copy of the translated files, either by merging old and new TMs.

You can also use a CAT which enables you to use several TMs at a time and to set priorities (client's TM first, even if you don't like it).

They can also decide to send the material, TMs included, to other translators. Be happy, you know the subject, you kept the contact with this client.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Low-and-no match clients Aug 22, 2012

Daniel Grau wrote:
For the last couple of years, they've been increasingly pre-translating text and managing their own translation memories. Some send me the resulting files, others just the low or no matches.


I have a few such clients who send me only the low-and-no matches, and no TM (or: a TM that contains only matches for those low-and-no segments). While I have no objection to translating this, it does mean that I have to translate blinder than usual. Normally, if I have a term query, I would check the rest of the file (the 100% pre-translated segments) to see how the term was tranlasted in that file, but if I get only the low-and-no matching segments, and no TM other than those segments specifically, I can't do any concordance/TM searching, and so every translation is guesswork. This doesn't seem to bother these clients, though.


 

Steffen Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 09:37
Member (2002)
English to German
+ ...
Translation vs. guesswork Aug 22, 2012

Samuel Murray wrote:

Daniel Grau wrote:
For the last couple of years, they've been increasingly pre-translating text and managing their own translation memories. Some send me the resulting files, others just the low or no matches.


I have a few such clients who send me only the low-and-no matches, and no TM (or: a TM that contains only matches for those low-and-no segments). While I have no objection to translating this, it does mean that I have to translate blinder than usual. Normally, if I have a term query, I would check the rest of the file (the 100% pre-translated segments) to see how the term was tranlasted in that file, but if I get only the low-and-no matching segments, and no TM other than those segments specifically, I can't do any concordance/TM searching, and so every translation is guesswork. This doesn't seem to bother these clients, though.



@ Samuel: Why don't you reject such client requests in the first place? As you say, this is pure guesswork rather than translation, and thus a disgrace to our profession.


 

Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:37
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
Ideal clients versus real clients Aug 22, 2012

Steffen Walter wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
If I get only the low-and-no matching segments, and no TM other than those segments specifically, I can't do any concordance/TM searching, and so every translation is guesswork. This doesn't seem to bother these clients, though.

Why don't you reject such client requests in the first place? As you say, this is pure guesswork rather than translation, and thus a disgrace to our profession.


I don't see it as a disgrace to the profession. There are different translation processes out there, and in each of them the translator has a role to play, and each has restrictions that may not be ideal. A choosy translator can, of course, choose to take on only ideal types of jobs.

I get the impression that most low-and-no clients use extensive quality control procedures anyway, so anything that the translator is incapable of doing will hopefully eventually be caught.

I realise that some clients need to be educated, and I agree that as translators we have a duty to do that, if possible. But some clients use processes that they're happy with, and then the translator can simply either accept the job or not accept it.

If the amount of effort required for such jobs is reasonable and if the liability of the translator for issues out of his control is sufficiently limited, then I see no reason not to do such jobs, except for eventual boredom, dissatisfaction, and frustration.


 

Daniel Grau  Identity Verified
Argentina
English to Spanish
TOPIC STARTER
The tendency of it all Aug 22, 2012

I do keep my TMs updated, but I just send segmented files to my clients, not TMs.

However, for most of my clients my TMs are no longer serving matches. All I need is to maintain consistency with existing texts (glossary), some contextual reference (client-supplied), a spell checker (Word), and a way to insert the purple segment delimiters (a Word macro with search and replace operations could do it). Such needs don't necessarily have to be satisfied by a CAT tool, so why would I nee
... See more
I do keep my TMs updated, but I just send segmented files to my clients, not TMs.

However, for most of my clients my TMs are no longer serving matches. All I need is to maintain consistency with existing texts (glossary), some contextual reference (client-supplied), a spell checker (Word), and a way to insert the purple segment delimiters (a Word macro with search and replace operations could do it). Such needs don't necessarily have to be satisfied by a CAT tool, so why would I need to update it? To be able to process new file formats? Clients already do that for me.

I don't think that I'm alone in this. Thus, if translators no longer find the need to acquire the latest and greatest translation tool, while agencies just use such tools to pre-translate and update their TMs, what's the point of continuing their development? Could this tendency cause the CAT tool market to stagnate or even shrink?

In fact, translation agencies appear to share similar concerns. An article in the February 2012 issue of The ATA Chronicle said this:
Clients, the buyers of translation services, are more sophisticated because they are getting smarter. For instance, they know about translation memory tools. As Renato Beninatto, chief marketing officer at Moravia IT, says, “We have over-educated them, and sharing our secrets was the worst mistake of the industry.”
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