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Lindsay Gallimore

Lindsay Gallimore
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Think fast: It's WordFast!

Published by lindsay_gallimore@sympatico.ca on 2012-02-14

I have always been somewhat intimidated by translation software because of the initial investment of time required to feel comfortable translating in a new program’s particular environment. During my Traductique course at Concordia, I was able to explore SDL Trados through guided tasks provided by the professor. It was an interesting way to learn the program, but sometimes felt a bit backwards, as I would do certain steps without knowing until later what they were accomplishing. Unfortunately, if you were to now throw me in front of SDL Trados and tell me to start translating, I doubt I would be very good at it. Without the step-by-step instructions at my side, I would be at a loss, as I did not “learn” the program beyond the couple of in-class assignments. To learn any program, I know I have to learn it from scratch. Reading the manual might help with specific difficulties, but I learn best by trial and error.


Purchasing a program like SDL Trados is simply not feasible right now. It is a major investment and I don’t see it being profitable for me right now as my freelance jobs are few and far between, and so far not in overlapping domains. I have not built a translation memory or any termbases. I want to have my own TMs and TBs to turn to, but I don’t want to manually create Excel spreadsheets and I can’t afford Trados.


What’s a girl to do? I’m trying WordFast Anywhere, a free, browser-based translation tool. I have also used WordFast Classic in its demo mode, which integrates into Word. I  hope you’re curious about how to use both of these tools, and whether or not I think they’re worth the time to learn them. I'm in the process of testing out WordFast Anywhere, and my commentary will soon follow.


For now, I’m curious to know what programs my readers use. Have you purchased SDL Trados or any of the other translation suites available? Would you if you could afford it?



I don't know if you are still a student or have a valid student card. If so, you can buy Trados for students and it isn't that expensive.

I am using Excel right now, but I am starting to feel the limit of this program. It takes a lot of time to enter each word. It is more like a reminder term list, where I can retrieve the words I had difficulties translating.

I am curious about your program and I will try it! I will let you know if I find something new and interesting.

I would like to draw your attention to a Master's thesis (McBride, 2009) that explores translators' attitudes towards translation memory systems. Here is a link(external link) to the full reference.

I share the views of the researcher in that "translators can evaluate and potentially adjust their own perceptions in light of others' experience, developers and vendors can respond more accurately to users' needs, clients can better comprehend translators' concerns, and researchers and trainers can properly address the issues currently surrounding TM system usage".

I bought a Trados licence a couple of years ago and haven't used it (yet). It was a compulsive need to "see if is true that it is the best translation tool out there", and also due to the big deal of job offerings at ProZ.com that required Trados proficiency. I will eventually get to really explore it, for the sake of my current research.