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Can a translator work without any CAT tools?
מפרסם התגובה: joannebenz

Kay-Viktor Stegemann
גרמניה
Local time: 19:45
חבר (2016)
מאנגלית לגרמנית
Can a builder work without a crane? Mar 29

Can a builder work without a crane? Probably. If the builder specializes on building small, artful buildings, or repair and restoration work, it might be perfectly feasible never to touch a crane. On the other hand, that builder might not be able to accept projects of a certain scale, or might not be able to offer acceptable prices for them, compared to the competition that has no qualms to touch a crane. And in some cases, the outright refusal to use a certain tool that is considered a natural ... See more
Can a builder work without a crane? Probably. If the builder specializes on building small, artful buildings, or repair and restoration work, it might be perfectly feasible never to touch a crane. On the other hand, that builder might not be able to accept projects of a certain scale, or might not be able to offer acceptable prices for them, compared to the competition that has no qualms to touch a crane. And in some cases, the outright refusal to use a certain tool that is considered a natural part of the trade might earn this builder strange looks and lost business. And in the coming decades, cranes will be probably replaced by entirely different and even more complex machines, so that the builder who refused using cranes might lose all business to others who are ready to adopt new technology.

Joanne, from your profile it seems you are at the beginning of your career. Whatever you do, and whatever profession you plan to pursue, you cannot expect that the shape of this profession will not change over the next decades. Every profession on this planet will undergo radical changes due to technology, like in the past decades too. Refusing to learn and use new tools is an attitude that will get you nowhere. At some point, those people who adopt new technology in an open-minded way will get the jobs and leave you behind, even if it might work for a while.
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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
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Local time: 19:45
חבר (2003)
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You CAN, but why would you? Mar 29

I sympathize a lot with you - I hated TRados when I started with it. I still hate mobile phones, but I am working hard at getting over the phone aversion, and after using Trados for nearly 20 years, both it and I have come a long way. I can work without it, but strongly prefer to use it, after I have learnt to take advantage of the features.

My translation routine is different from Tom's, which may be an important factor. I translate marketing, medicine and law, where there may be
... See more
I sympathize a lot with you - I hated TRados when I started with it. I still hate mobile phones, but I am working hard at getting over the phone aversion, and after using Trados for nearly 20 years, both it and I have come a long way. I can work without it, but strongly prefer to use it, after I have learnt to take advantage of the features.

My translation routine is different from Tom's, which may be an important factor. I translate marketing, medicine and law, where there may be standard phrases or slogans, and where terminology and accuracy are important, but purely mechanical translation is not an option.

1. I read the text or a section of it, noting terminology and anything I need to look up. As I go, I translate mentally, noting down good solutions to difficult passages if I think of them, but not worrying about them.

2. I translate in a 'flow' with Trados, paying attention to syntax and source language interference, so that the draft I produce is as close as possible to ready for delivery. When Trados produces terminology, strings I have checked and saved previously, etc. I use them. (client preferences, official names of public bodies, Danish legislation in English, etc.)

3. Then I proofread and check with Trados against the source, and export a 'clean' file.

4. In the clean file I revise and polish the text and make sure it is idiomatic, that the terminology is correct, and it is ready for delivery. (my languages are closely related, but expressions that are not technically wrong may simply never be used.)

5. I check formatting, which is usually fine from Trados, but may need tweaking, as my target language takes more space than the source - you will find this with English and German too. Generally Trados saves me a lot of time there.

I deliver the finished file and then use the 'retro-fit' function in Trados to update the translation memories with the final adjustments I made at stage 4.

Whether we like it or not, translators are expected to use technology. I feel I am too old to start on subtitling and audio equipment, but there is a whole field of work there which will need humans for voice recognition and sometimes shortening the text slightly. That is quite an art, but the technology is a help too.

I can retire after the next deadline if it all overwhelms me, but I am not planning to stop yet. Take the trouble to find a CAT that suits you when you are familiar with it, and you will probably find it was a very good investment.
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Tom in London
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 18:45
חבר (2008)
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Aversion Mar 29

Christine Andersen wrote:

....I still hate mobile phones, but I am working hard at getting over the phone aversion


I have no aversion to mobile phones: it's just that I don't need one.

(Although I have one because some people, such as banks, require a mobile phone number).


 

Tom in London
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 18:45
חבר (2008)
מאיטלקית לאנגלית
The hard part Mar 29

Christine Andersen wrote:

4. In the clean file I revise and polish the text and make sure it is idiomatic, that the terminology is correct, and it is ready for delivery. (my languages are closely related, but expressions that are not technically wrong may simply never be used.)



That's similar to my Stage 3. Stage 3 is where all the hard work is done, and there's no CAT tool in the world that can do it. In my experience this clean file requires a great many revisions and improvements before it's suitable for release.


 

RobinB  Identity Verified
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Local time: 12:45
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Why? Mar 29

Tom in London wrote: Stage 3 is where all the hard work is done, and there's no CAT tool in the world that can do it. In my experience this clean file requires a great many revisions and improvements before it's suitable for release.


Why on earth would you expect a CAT tool to do that? The point of a CAT tool is not to replace the translator and/or reviser but to provide a working environment in which the translator or reviser can comfortably and productively identify and apply identical or similar text (in the working document and other documents - for example in the 100+ MB of legislative and regulatory document TMs I'm using for my current translation ), search terminology, etc. It's a productivity support tool, not a brain substitute. I also print out the target text until I'm satisfied with the result. And I enter all the changes automatically in the CAT tool, of course.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Local time: 19:45
חבר (2006)
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Even if you choose the old-fashioned way Mar 30

joannebenz wrote:
I simply do not manage to learn those tools and prefer the old fashioned way.


Well, new versions of even Microsoft Word appear all the time, so you're going to have to keep on learning anyway. And if you're going to make your non-use of CAT tools a selling point, then you're definitely going to have to become an expert user at Microsoft Word.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
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Local time: 19:45
חבר (2003)
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I don't strictly NEED a mobile either... Mar 30

However, I have found mobile phones extremely useful on several occasions, including two when I had to ask for help to call emergency services. I prefer to be more independent. I do not object to technology on principle, but I am not technology-minded.

I CAN still translate without Trados, but I strongly prefer to use it. Sixty years ago, my father translated fine without a typewriter, or even electricity at times. There were no typewriters that coped well with the Greek and Marathi
... See more
However, I have found mobile phones extremely useful on several occasions, including two when I had to ask for help to call emergency services. I prefer to be more independent. I do not object to technology on principle, but I am not technology-minded.

I CAN still translate without Trados, but I strongly prefer to use it. Sixty years ago, my father translated fine without a typewriter, or even electricity at times. There were no typewriters that coped well with the Greek and Marathi alphabets he used, and power cuts happened where we lived in India. He used a typewriter for English, the phone to contact colleagues, and a fountain pen rather than St Jerome's quill. He started using a computer at the age of eighty and wished he had done so earlier.

I dislike some CAT tools, and understand why different CATs suit different styles of working. I have tried several over the years. On that basis my advice to beginners is to spend time learning to use a CAT, not by trial and error, but by getting help and seeing which features they find are useful and which are less important. I depend a lot on Multiterm, the Trados glossary function, which IMHO is better than other CATs I have tried. Others go for other features and use the glossary less. Multiterm can be used as far more than a simple glossary…

Translating is a tough profession in any case, but why not take advantage of the technical aids when suitable?
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Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
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Local time: 18:45
חבר (2014)
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Good Mar 30

Kay-Viktor Stegemann wrote:
Can a builder work without a crane? Probably.

This is an appealing analogy.

Dan


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Tom in London
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Local time: 18:45
חבר (2008)
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You misunderstand Mar 30

RobinB wrote:

Tom in London wrote: Stage 3 is where all the hard work is done, and there's no CAT tool in the world that can do it. In my experience this clean file requires a great many revisions and improvements before it's suitable for release.


Why on earth would you expect a CAT tool to do that?


I wouldn't. You misunderstand what I was saying.


 

Tom in London
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 18:45
חבר (2008)
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Learning what? Mar 30

Samuel Murray wrote:

Well, new versions of even Microsoft Word appear all the time, so you're going to have to keep on learning anyway.


The only thing I've learned from successive new versions of MSWord is that each one is worse than the one that preceded it.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
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Local time: 19:45
חבר (2006)
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+ ...
@Tom Mar 30

Tom in London wrote:
Samuel Murray wrote:
Well, new versions of even Microsoft Word appear all the time, so you're going to have to keep on learning anyway.

The only thing I've learned from successive new versions of MS Word is that each one is worse than the one that preceded it.

The tool may become blunter by the year, but clients' expectations do not.


 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:45
חבר (2006)
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Yes, of course Mar 30

To answer the original question: yes, of course a translator can work without a CAT tool. I have earned a decent living as a translator for decades without ever using a CAT tool.

Tom in London
 

Tom in London
הממלכה המאוחדת
Local time: 18:45
חבר (2008)
מאיטלקית לאנגלית
Applause Mar 30

Jennifer Forbes wrote:

To answer the original question: yes, of course a translator can work without a CAT tool. I have earned a decent living as a translator for decades without ever using a CAT tool.


**applause**


 

Manuarii Charron  Identity Verified
צרפת
Local time: 19:45
חבר (Mar 2020)
מאנגלית לצרפתית
CAT tools are optional Mar 30

You can work without any CAT tools. When I started working as a translator, I didn't use any and my clients were still happy with the work I delivered.

However, as others mentioned above, CAT tools are a life changer and they can help you a lot.


 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
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Local time: 19:45
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CAT or no CAT? Mar 30

With CAT software or without CAT software?... - that is one Shakespearean question.

All depends on the type of texts you translate. My opinion:

When it's a novel (e.g. 'Ulysses' by James Joyce), a poem (you name any author) or any similar text that requires thinking 'what does it mean and how do I say this in the target language without repeating what I wrote three hours ago?' for each sentence, you can re
... See more
With CAT software or without CAT software?... - that is one Shakespearean question.

All depends on the type of texts you translate. My opinion:

When it's a novel (e.g. 'Ulysses' by James Joyce), a poem (you name any author) or any similar text that requires thinking 'what does it mean and how do I say this in the target language without repeating what I wrote three hours ago?' for each sentence, you can rely on your brain exclusively.

But for technical texts like an instructions manual for a large and complex industrial machinery (e.g. 280 standard pages with e.g. 83 long sentences where just two up to five words vary from sentence to sentence), you definitely do need CAT software to assist your thinking. It's just in order to relieve your brain from recalling 'where did I see a similar sentence two days ago?' etc.

Again: all depends on the type of texts you are going to translate.
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Tom in London
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