The Joy of the CAT Tool

I have to admit I have become a convert to translation CAT tools (in particular MemSource. I'm sure I will eventually learn how to use Trados after I learn how to control my gag reflex whenever I try it).

I remember back when I started applying for translation jobs, sometimes companies would send me text that had been generated by Google Translate and ask me to do some 'light machine postediting' work. 'Don't worry' they would say 'it's not translation, it's only machine postediting'.

Right. I hope you don't mind if I block your email address.

The awfulness and sheer uselessness of much of what Google Translate produces turned me off using any kind of machine translation for some time. It was much, much easier just to translate it myself without any help.

I sort of 'wrote off' translation programs and translating software at that time.

Later on, my first experience using a CAT tool was when I once took on an enormous games translation project involving over 150,000 characters (actually it was the game 格斗冒险岛) using OmegaT. I must have been crazy because I only had two weeks to complete it.

I have to say it certainly helped to use a CAT tool, but there were massive issues connecting to the company's Chinese servers through the Great Chinese Firewall and occasionally several hours of work would be deleted. The experience left me hungering for good ol' PDF / Word document translation.

Later on I got asked to do a couple of other games translation projects using different CAT tools and had a much better experience, particularly with MemSource.

What I found through these later experiences are that CAT tools excel in documents where there is a) a lot of repetition, b) a lot of technical terms where Google Translate and Bing Translate are actually good, and c) team projects.

There is also the exciting possibility that you can get to the stage where so many 'memory terms' are saved in your translation database that much of the actual work of translation (i.e. the creative thinking part) is no longer necessary.

After doing quite a few contracts and financial documents, I've started to really look forward to developing my term database to this level.

Anyway, a while ago I decided to bite the bullet and that I should probably start using CAT tools for myself rather than through a translation agency's account.

Now I'd say that CAT tools are starting to look pretty good for technical translations (e.g. patents, manuals, etc), contracts and video game materials.

I'd still rather get a PDF or Word document and do some creative translation because I actually find that more stimulating, but I think the need is greater in the market for this kind of nitty-gritty technical work.

If you're a translator and want to get started using a free and relatively easy-to-use CAT tool, I'd recommend trying MemSource. You still need to be a bit 'techy' though to get really comfortable with it.

Translation Job Questions

1. Does it involve Trados? (until I get a PC or get Boot Camp working properly on my Mac, I don't wanna have to use Trados)

2. Is it actually translation or proofreading semi-intelligible English at a much lower pay rate?

3. Will I make a lot more money working as a sandwich artist at my local Subway?

4. Do I need to stay up all night to make an urgent deadline or otherwise cut a lot of sleep?

5. Is it a new company or does it have a less than stellar reputation on the Internet?

6. Have they done anything dodgy to me before like asked me to 'proofread' something generated by Google Translate?

7. Is it for a religious cult? (no 'Eastern Lightning' stuff, thanks)

Why ‘Under the Dome’ Didn't Convince Me (Opinion Piece)

Why ‘Under the Dome’ Didn't Convince Me (Opinion Piece)

Translated an opinion piece (note that Willfanyi does not support the opinion of the article and does not comment publicly about the documentary)

为什么《穹顶之下》没有说服我?Why ‘Under the Dome’ Didn't Convince Me

首 先要声明,这篇文章并不是来批判《穹顶之下》的。相反,柴静的这部作品,无论从包装的精美,文案叙事的设计,采访对象的深入,还是数据的翔实程度来看,都 非常值得喝彩,甚至有可能成为整个中国科学传播史上的经典之作。但是,跳出那些感情叙事的框架之后,我只能说,《穹顶之下》虽然感动了我,却没有说服我。 从更理性的角度出发,如果不把雾霾当做“私人恩怨”,而作为一项公共政策来谈论的话,似乎有更多的问题需要进一步深入探讨。

First of all I’d like to say that I’m not here to heap criticism on ‘Under the Dome’. Actually, I think that Chai Jing did a great job. She covered everything very well and structured her narrative in a clear and engaging way. Organising the data and interviews in such a way as to clearly communicate a message to the viewers must have been extremely difficult, and if there was a hall of fame for Chinese documentaries, this should be in it. But when I step back and look at the documentary, which by the way I found it very challenging and/or heart-rending to watch, I wouldn’t say I was necessarily persuaded. For when you look at the issue in a rational, economic way, i.e. not like Chai Jing whose dislike of smog is on the level of a personal vendetta, there are reasons to question some of the documentary's conclusions.