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.