It has been some time since my last post but I had been quite busy with a project that to me seemed eternal. Yet,through the experience I was able to gather quite a bit of information to use in this blog post. Given the highly technical matter of the project, I had to research for CAT tools that would help me get this project done effectively and efficiently. I generally don’t use CAT tools( my specialty is in marketing) but this job warranted it. Therefore, there were two that I looked into for the completion of this project: STAR TRANSIT and TRADOS. I ended up using the latter, but to those not familiar with TRANSIT (as I was),this is a brief overview and comparison of both programs.

It is no surprise as to why agencies now require you to know TM software TRADOS for most of the projects(an although this job did not come through an agency), it is the one most requested followed by Wordfast. But what has made TRADOS the leader? With its large capacity of storing information, its large terminology base, its easy integration with Word and PowerPoint,its easy conversion of dates, measurements,and ease of use has made this software the industry leader in CAT tools. TRADOS which is particularly designed for highly technical translations because of its large capacity to store information and ability to populate repetitive content, you can clearly run through these translations quite efficiently and accurately. In addition, with its terminology feature you surely can cut large part of your research in half. Yet, it must be said that it does mean that you develop these terminology databases and translation memories by your own translation work; however, once you have these memories stored,you can populate the term, phrase, or sentence again and eventually save time in the long run. So I still had to do quite a bit of research and have many specialized glossaries and dictionaries handy in the translation process but once it is saved on memory, they populate easily in your translation.

STAR TRANSIT on the other hand, is a very complex and difficult to use program yet with the added benefits of the ability to import large amounts of translation memories from other systems (including TRADOS), as well as the ability to use THEIR existing translation memory (at a price) which can be useful if the information they have is relevant to the subject you are translating, so one has to see how extensive and valuable it can be to you. It also has extensive dictionary (Term Star), which can be incorporated into the CAT tool or used as a stand-alone feature. Yet its setup, layout,and overall function is not as friendly as TRADOS. It also has a very annoying feature to me- the pop-up window- whenever it finds a word in the memory or suggests one for you, it pops up on-screen. This feature can be tuned off yet as you are translating you want to be efficient as well so the pop up suggests and populates it, while in TRADOS it is populated automatically. Overall, it is designed for very precise, technical translations. (aviation and mechanics). Which in essence these are the biggest users of this translation memory. Furthermore, unlike TRADOS where you see the source text and target text side by side, in TRANSIT it is a split screen where source text in the upside of the screen and target downside of screen. To me this could possibly add to missed  translated text. Yet for editing large amounts of text,I do see the reasoning behind the split screen. It becomes easier to correct line by line text when you are translating intricate , technical material that needs to be precise and accurate. Personally, it is more intuitive to me to have both texts side by side. For this reason, should I ever do a technical translation again, I would say I lean towards TRADOS.

6 thoughts on “STAR TRANSIT and TRADOS Compared

  1. Hello,

    Did you ever try DejaVu? It’s much less used than Trados due to a less efficient marketing policy, but in my oppinion it’s the best on the market. I have tried Transit (close to DejaVu as efficiency but much more complicated to work with), and I have been forced to use Trados because many good clients imposed it (Workbench, Trados 2007, or SDL Trados Studio 2011). However, I use(d) them only to be able to deliver my translations in the respective file formats. I have always been doing the actual translation within DejaVu (X 1, and X2, lately). Why? Because it’s easy to learn and use, allows to work on many files at once, with different formats in the same project, allows filtering of terms/text fragments, is compatible with a great deal of file formats, can handle/import/export many database formats, can be learnt easily, and has the same interface since its beginings (I was quite amused when Trados Studio 2009 “discovered” it and presented it as a revolutionary novelty). Maybe I am subjective (have been using it since 1999), but I recommend it warmly because it helped me a lot to improve the productivity and quality of my translations. Also, it is updated constantly (free of charge) based on the users’ suggestions. Even the few major upgrades were quite cheap (if not free) for existing users. It’s worth a try…

    Kind regards,


    1. George:

      Firstly I want to thank you for visiting my blog. I have never used Deja Vu at all for my translations. To be frank when you translate marketing texts it is not generally a requirement. Yet, every so often I get these projects that require the use of one and on my initial research for TM software these two names kept coming up. I do agree with you that TRANSIT is complicated and not user friendly(at least to me)compared to TRADOS but I will look into DejaVu as an option as well.

      Thanks again


  2. Hello,

    You say that you prefer using side-by-side screen (I actually agree, this is my preferred view for working too) and, hence you prefer Trados over Transit. But Transit does just that actually: you just need to go the View tab > Language Pair section, you will see two icons: one for the default up-and-down view, the other for the side-by-side view. Though I reckon the Transit interface is not as nice as Trados, maybe this would incline significantly less toward Trados 😉 For my personal way of working probably, I quite prefer Transit for terminology handling purposes, though I use both depending on the project nature.

    All the best and keep up with your nice blog.


    1. Thierry:

      Thank you for visiting my blog.Yes, to me it is more instinctual to have side by side text but I did not see it in the TRANSIT interface. I found it extremely confusing. I did look for that feature and could not find it, so thanks for the information. I still lean towards TRADOS however. It has more of a sleek interface that when you are working long hours on screen (as I did on the project mentioned) you don’t end up stressing your eyesight.

      Thanks again for reading my blog and I am glad you liked it.


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