Phil Harris has been one of the first early adopters of MateCat. He started using our CAT tool for his private jobs even before we said him he was free to do that. Here’s why.
In many ways I suppose I am a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to technology. It took me some time to wean myself away from the typewriter and onto a computer keyboard … likewise, it took me some time to leave glossaries on the bookshelf and turn to computer-aided translation.
I’m glad I did, and I’m particularly happy that my eye finally fell on MateCat. Of course I had already tried other CAT tools before MateCat and while they helped do away with the fatigue of continually leafing through voluminous tomes, none has satisfied me quite as much as MateCat.
However, I have to admit that my introduction to MateCat did not come about without a bit of arm-twisting. It all happened one morning when, out of the blue, I received a job order from Translated which required the work to be done in MateCat. I’d never heard of this before and wasn’t quite sure what was involved. My apprehension was soon laid to rest however, because working with MateCat turned out to be a cinch. Without any previous instruction, it was obvious how the system worked and it was more than useful to be able to consult the time indicator every now and then to have an idea of how much time was still needed to complete the job. That is why I also started later to use MateCat for my own projects, by directly uploading my documents on www.matecat.com.
I have to say that, on the basis of my experience, MateCat offers all the potential of other computerised translation engines but it has a couple of added pluses.
One of these is that it is extremely user-friendly. The graphics are simple but attractive and extremely functional. It is really a piece of cake working your way through a file, in particular because, unlike many other CAT tools, the source and translation windows are both very clear and legible.
Another plus is that it does not simply offer a suggested translation for this or that phrase, but also provides suggestions not only from Machine Translation but also from MyMemory, the world’s largest translation memory database. All you have to do is choose the one you think is most appropriate or take one and shape it according to the context of the job you are working on.
Here you have a choice of two options in terms of the translation community at large. You can decide to store your translations in a private TM identified by a key which cannot be accessed by other users. But you can also decide that it makes sense to share your translations with other translators by saving them in the public TM. In this way, MateCat becomes interactive and allows individual translators to contribute to expansion and consolidation of the public TM. After all, through the public TM, you may have benefitted from another translator’s work, so why not reciprocate the “favour” by making your translations available to others?
In all honesty, I have to say that I am still a neophyte with MateCat but I like what I have seen so far.
Oh, and by the way, my appreciation of MateCat took a major upward turn when I found out that, in addition to Translated, the University of Edinburgh is a member of the MateCat consortium. I was born in Edinburgh many moons ago and while we Scots may not have managed to gain our independence in the September referendum, we do have a sense of ethnic pride that is difficult to keep down!