Translating with Trados, editing without Trados

If Trados is a tool that has already been used for many years, and the translators use it more frequently each time, there are still resources who, for varying reasons, don’t know how to use this program. Partly due to their lack of technical knowledge, partly because they don’t want to spend time familiarizing themselves with this tool, as easy to learn to use as it may be.

The problem comes when translation agencies need to use a resource who has no Trados skills. It may not be the most recommendable option, but occasionally there is no other alternative than to use a resource that is a professional and works well, but doesn’t use translation memories. What happens in these cases? Do you try to find any translator that knows how to use Trados, even though the quality level of their work isn’t the best? Or do you look for an alternative in order to work with a resource who doesn’t use this tool, but can deliver work of a higher quality? Although we always encourage translators and editors to start to use CAT Tools (Trados, SDLX, among others) with an aim to delivering better work, the problem has a solution which we develop below.

To start with we can be satisfied with finding a translator that does use Trados, and leave the final quality control to the editor that doesn’t use it. Once we have the translated text we block the bilingual text so that the internal and external tags can’t be touched. How do we do this?

In the Word document we go right click on the tags and go to Styles > Select text with similar formatting. Once we’ve selected the text we choose the style. For this case we recommend using the Twin External style, which is gray, and will allow us to block all of the tags. This way we can guarantee that and editor that isn’t using Trados can control the quality of a bilingual document, without touching or damaging the tags. Changes can then be made using Track Changes. Once the changes have been accepted we can clean the document, and all the edited segments can be placed in the TM.

As we mentioned before, this is an alternative that allows us to momentarily resolve this particular situation. We insist that the best option is to use all we have within our reach to be able to improve our work. Here we refer to translation memories, glossaries, termbases and quality control tools, among other things.