Professional Sharing Session On Using Trados for 18th– 19th Centuries Literary Work (Part 2)


(Bagian 1, klik di sini)


(Please keep in mind that all work using CAT tools can only be done through a soft copy of the document. This means that the tool cannot process image files that were converted to PDF.)

The general view of my literary translation work on Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of The House of Usher was like this:


(Image: Translating The Fall of The House of Usher using Trados 2014)

As you can see, the sentences were divided into segments. What I did was to read the whole text before starting, and then utilized the segmentation so that I could concentrate on one step at a time. What I also did was to read the three to five segments before and after the highlight (see previous image) to generate a context in mind. By using this method, I was not “lost in translation” anymore, I can analyse the words carefully and translate according to the context without having to worry about forgetting one or two word meanings. The data is being kept in the translation memory which I always can revisit later by highlighting the source word in question and press F3 (concordance function). Thus I eliminated the tedious process of having to write down word meanings on another paper/file, or to reopen the source to re-read what I just translated. By using this concordance function I can also read the word meaning by its context rather than only its dictionary meaning. As seen on the image below, I have translated one word in several approaches.


(Image: By highlighting the source, then pressing F3 (concordance) on the keyboard will display a number of context which uses the word “agitation”. The data is populated from a translation memory that was used on this project)

The F7 (spellcheck) function also proved to be handy during the translation process. I have “fine-tuned” the Quality Assurance (QA) function in Trados 2014 to accommodate my needs for literary work translations.  I only check for typos, double spaces, untranslated segments and punctuation for this work, I do not need the other specific QA functions so I just turned them off. Thus the literary editor’s work will be reduced because they will only need to check the readability and the fluent-ness of the result, instead of peeling their eyes searching for typos and double spaces.


(Image: Spellchecking and Quality Assurance function in Trados 2014. As seen, the QA also check a number of untranslated segments. The QA data can be generated at any time during the translation process)

As an addition, Trados provided free applications that can be used to manage work. For this literary work, I used the SDLXLIFF Split and Merge (downloaded from SDL Open Source). This Trados application splits work into manageable amount of words. Literary translation work often consists of hundreds of pages and by using this application I could split the document into manageable amounts that I scheduled to work on every day. This significantly improved my overall work performance and I did not get carried away or discouraged by the number of pages, thus concentrating on my best effort to fulfil the deadlines.


(Image: The result of “SDLXLIFF Split and Merge” application. The text is being split into a predetermined amounts and this makes it easier to determine the deadline and managing the work. This is only one of a number of free applications provided in SDL Open Source web)


Even though this software can benefit translators, there are several challenges in using Trados 2014. The software demands a PC/laptop with high capacity (especially high RAM), and this software does not work on iMac. The software price itself is a bit discouraging, still clinging on the high price around 600 EUR (about 9 million IDR at the time this paper was written) per license, and can only be used on a single computer (not shareable). The price, the hardware requirements, and the lack of knowledge in Trados’s basic and management functions have made this software somewhat unpopular among literary work translators and editors. There is also a preconception among freelance translators that this CAT tool is only utilized by overseas clients (translation agencies), so there was no actual need to use this software to manage work. The segmented view on Trados also often takes translators aback; they felt that they were forced to stick to one segment/one word/one sentence at a time, thus producing a “stiff” translation results. And document format from literary work publishers often does not support Trados usage, and translators needs to take several pre-translation steps in order to have a workable literary work in Trados (e.g retyping the hard copy, scanning the hard copy, etc).


I found that the usage of Trados 2014 to complete my work in translating the 18th-19th centuries literary work to be beneficial. By utilizing these Trados features, I was able to finish my work in a more effective and efficient manner. I have re-check the published translation work against my original translation and found that the editor managed to improve my results in a more focused manner (because the editor did not need to worry about everything else). I found this approach to be satisfactory for me as a freelance translator.

There is a need for a more focused approach in using Trados 2014. Trainings and workshops should be directed to a more specialized approach, which is to manage contents such as 18th-19th century literary work and other specific contents rather than only showing the basic functions of Trados. There is also the need to change the previous preconception and perspective about Trados – this tool is meant to make a translator’s task easier and not meant to burden or discourage them. Literary work publishers in Indonesia also need to consider the usage of Trados for literary work and to support Trados usage by providing soft copies of the translation work, so that translators can process the document through Trados and other CAT tools of their choices.

(Makalah ini saya presentasikan di Transcon Atmajaya 2016)

One response »

  1. Pingback: Professional Sharing Session On Using Trados for 18th– 19th Centuries Literary Work (Part 1) | What's On My Mind

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