An Effective and Inexpensive Translation Memory Tool
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are numerous Translation Memory tools available on the
international market. All of them implement three main
1. segmentation of source text,
2. preservation of the original typesetting and layout,
3. translation memory proper.
means that a translator does not need
to strain his/her eyes and brains looking
for the beginning of the next source sentence
to be translated. The software offers
you this next sentence automatically using
a table (as Déjà Vu does)
or a highlighted colored background (as
Trados does). Thanks to this simple technology,
you will never skip a sentence or even
a paragrapha rather common situation
when translating hard copy or overwriting
Translation memory means that you
never have to translate the same sentence,
phrase or word twice. You do it only once,
and when you come across the same sentence,
phrase or word next time, a program suggests
that you use your previous translation,
which may be edited if the context demands
it. This is of importance primarily, but
not exclusively, for technical translators,
because technical documents tend to have
plenty of repetitions. For example, when
working with one of my long-term clients,
Volvo Cars International, about 60% of
the sentences in the brochure on the Volvo
S60 were sentences I had already translated
working on the Volvo S/V70, S80, S/V40
brochures. In such cases, which are not
at all rare, a Translation Memory saves
me a lot of time and ensures perfect consistency
of terminology, which is appreciated by
Preservation of the original typesetting
and layout means that you no longer
need not think about preserving the original
typesetting and layout.
In my opinion, when choosing a Translation
Memory tool, a translator should first
of all pay attention to the following
factors: price, user-friendliness, and
the amount of time necessary to learn
how to use it.
Being a freelance Russian translator who
depends greatly on the Internet as a source
of work, dictionaries, reference materials
and translation software, I came across
WORDFAST in January 2001, and this translation
memory program immediately became my favorite
tool. Previously I had had extensive
experience with Déjà Vu
2.3.78 and Trados Workbench 2.0. Now I
use Wordfast 3.30 every day, and it boosts
my productivity up to 20-30 percent even
when there are no repetitions in the source
text! I never skip a sentence, proofreading
became much easier and faster, strain
on my eyes and brain decreased dramatically.
Wordfast is actually a set of macros (a
template) compatible with any version
of Microsoft Word. It builds on the standard
Microsoft Word window adding 13 special
Wordfast buttons and implements all typical
TM tool functions: segmentation, creating/using
translation memories and glossaries, exact/fuzzy
matches, pretranslation, context search
(concordance), exporting/importing glossaries
and translation memories. Alignment (that
is creating TM from previously translated
materials) is performed by an additional
tool (template) - Walign.
It took me only a few seconds to download
Wordfast from http://champollion.net (the
web site of Wordfast developer Yves Champollion).
This is a great advantage for many freelance
translators with low-speed modem connection
via a telephone line (compare 300 Kb of
Wordfast with 7 Mb of Déjà Vu and 12 MB
of Trados WB Freelance). It took me only
a few seconds to install Wordfastthat
is to copy the file wordfast.dot in the
Template folder of the Microsoft Word.
And it took me a couple of hours to become
familiar with all Wordfast's functions.
(Compare 18 pages of the Wordfast manual
with fat manuals for Déjà Vu and Trados,
each exceeding 200 pages). The last but
not least advantageYves Champollion
licenses his Wordfast for free to non-corporate
users in 75 percent of the world including
Russia, and for only USD 200.00 to users
from EEC, NAFTA and the British Commonwealth.
(Compare this price with USD 700.00 for
Trados and 850.00 for Déjà Vu).
No translation memory tool I have tested
was free of bugsat least I came
across bugs running them on my two PCs,
both of which operate perfectly when I
run many other applications and games.
Déjà Vu fails to display correctly the
context ("see in context" function)
and performs segmentation with many errors
which I have to correct manually. Trados
makes mistakes when segmenting source
text and hangs up your PC often, especially
when working with Microsoft Office 2000.
This is the case despite the fact that
these products have been developed years
ago and have been debugged for all these
years. In February when testing Wordfast
I noticed several bugs and reported them
to the Wordfast developer. By now all
of them have disappeared!
Of course, being much more complex and
"heavy" (I refer to Kbs, sorry,
Mbs of Trados and Déjà Vu), these competitors
of Wordfast perform some functions beyond
those of Wordfast. For example, they process
files of "exotic" types (QuarkXpress,
PageMaker and so on) without forcing a
translator to previously convert them
to the .doc format. DV and Trados offer
you a lot of various windows and functions
that may be useful to computer wizards
but scare away the majority of translators.
They are basically meant for translation
managers and translators who are also
very advanced PC users. Besides, all these
sophisticated functions are very seldom
used, if ever.
The bottom line is as follows: In my opinion,
Wordfast is the most cost-efficient, user-friendly,
and reliable segmentation/translation
memory tool which may be very useful/helpful
not only to translation professionals
but also to people who translate only
now and thenPR managers, journalists,
authors, secretaries, reviewers, advisors,
etc., i.e., individuals who do not have
a large and steady translation workloadindividuals
whose main occupation demands only periodic
translation. Such people will not invest
in the overpriced TM tools and spend a
lot of time studying them (and then periodically
brush up their knowledge of the tool after
a long interval of not using it). Besides
Wordfast will find its market among those
translators who are allergic to any sophisticated
software whose developers seem to forget
that their objective should be to facilitate
the user's life, not to complicate it.
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