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Adventures with MemoQ September 22, 2011

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tech tips, Tools.

Greetings from Germany. I’m staying with friends north of Bonn in Bornheim at the moment. They are translators as well and have a network, which meant that this morning when I started translating a medical report for a client here in Bonn (who just happened to come out of the woodwork the day I arrived) my friend yelled down that she wasn’t able to use her Trados because I was using my Trados 2007. Their network was not happy that I was using Trados, even though they have a two-license set-up. I guess three licenses were too much for it.

No better time like the present to try to learn how to use my new MemoQ program. I was happy I had already installed it on my laptop, but I had never worked with it. I have to say it took me about a half an hour to figure everything out (without reading a manual). I learned how to confirm the fields pretty easily. I also managed to import my TM (which I had stored on Dropbox as a tmx) and work with my medical TM, allowing me to translate 1700 words today. I just exported the file to send to someone to proofread it. I have to say that the final product really looks good.

The client had sent me a terrible OCRed Word file, so I asked for a PDF of the hard copy and ran it through my OCR program and formatted it by hand (two of the five pages were fairly filled with complicated tables). MemoQ had absolutely no problems with my formatting and special characters. I think MemoQ has a new fan…



1. Craig Morris - September 22, 2011

Did you just put your translation memory on Dropbox for this trip? I decided to not keep mine in a Dropbox folder because the file is huge, and constant updating was clogging up my Internet connection. Every time I finished a sentence, more data needed to be uploaded than could possibly happen by the time I finished the next sentence.

Jill (@bonnjill) - September 22, 2011

No, I copied the tmx export file to my hard drive and installed it on the laptop. I’ll do the opposite when I get back to the States.

2. mykhailo - September 22, 2011

Welcome to the club. 🙂 I never returned to Trados after using memoQ, except for pre-translation, if required.

3. Jordi Balcells Antón (@jordibal) - September 23, 2011

Not that I want to keep you off memoQ, but if you kept the licenses in separate workgroups, Trados would probably have not complained. You can still access shares from other people’s PCs even if they are in separate workgroups.

Anyway, enjoy memoQ, it looks very nice!

4. Kevin Lossner - September 23, 2011

Welcome to the Bright Side, Jill. It might be useful for you to understand the many different types of Trados compatibility with memoQ. In most respects, the Hungarian tool is more compatible with Trados than Trados itself 🙂

5. epapaluap - September 23, 2011

I’ve just started using memoQ too after having purchased it awhile ago. Why I procrastinate the software I purchase, I’ll never know (probably also why I don’t exercise, call my family, etc…) Anyhow, I’ve been participating in the tutorial webinars Kilgray offers and find them extremely helpful. I think I’ll be using the program more often too.

6. David Turnbull (@Lega11ySpeaking) - September 23, 2011

Hi Jill. I too started using MemoQ recently and agree that it’s very intuitive and generally quite user-friendly.

I particularly like the LiveDocs and term extraction features, which are a boon when parts of the translation are cherry-picked from a number of EU directives, as quite a bit of my work is. Just plug in the relevant legislation in both languages and it picks up a good deal of the terminology and references for you.

That said, I’m starting to steer away from CAT tools on texts that aren’t so reference-based, as I find my writing can become overly “segmented” and hence requires some jiggering around at the proofreading stage to make it flow properly, stitching the segments together and re-ordering them to make the text read like an original – something CATs seem to obstruct on occasion.

Jill (@bonnjill) - September 23, 2011

Hi David,

You can join segments in MemoQ to avoid this very problem. Simply highlight the segments you want to combine and then right-click and select Join Segments. I am constantly playing with my segments in both Trados and MemoQ since neither seems to do a very good job figuring out where a segment should start and end (like stopping after an abbreviations). Most translators don’t know that they can do this, so I constantly see strange segments in TMs that aren’t mine or in texts I am proofreading.

7. Kevin Lossner - September 23, 2011

Jill, for abbreviations one can set up segmentation exceptions. Trados and memoQ aren’t “bad” at this, they merely don’t have a complete list of every abbreviation one might dream up.

8. David Turnbull (@Lega11ySpeaking) - September 24, 2011

Thanks for replying, Jill. I do combine a lot of segments (using Ctrl-J, usually) and also edit the stop-words, which helps. Sometimes, however, I think even more drastic action is required, like reordering a text at paragraph level. An Italian news article often needs a lot of tinkering to make read like an English article, for example.

Maybe it’s just me, but asked to provide unclean files (and hence forced to focus on the text at segment level), I sometimes find it harder to provide a satisfactory translation of the text as a whole. Horses for courses, I suppose.

Anyway, that’s more a point on the limitations of TenTs (let’s not go there…) rather than anything against MemoQ in particular. As CAT tools go, it can’t be beat as far as I’m concerned.

Anke - September 27, 2011

That’s why I love the live preview function of memoQ (if it works for the file type, of course), since I can read the whole text through and correct anything right then and there and see the correction immediately (once hitting Ctrl+S)!

9. Effie Emmanouilidou - September 24, 2011

Welcome to the world of MemoQ! I have been using it since version 1.0 a few years ago and it really is a great tool. I do 90% of my work with it. You will also find a very active support group on Yahoo as well as great support from Kilgray themselves. These people are amazing!

10. Melissa - September 24, 2011

Good to hear how much you like it. Didn’t you get it through a group buy on ProZ? I have heard that there will be another group buy next week.

Any idea what kind of a discount they will be offering at the ATA conference?

Jill (@bonnjill) - September 24, 2011

I paid $462 for my version and that was 40 or 50% off. It is selling for 620 euros on their website…

11. Angela - September 28, 2011

I’m seriously considering investing in MemoQ. Haven’t heard one word against it yet! Is there anything you other translators can say that would be a bad thing about MemoQ? Or is it the god of CAT tools, simply put? How is its compatibility with Trados files?

12. Michael - September 30, 2011

Hi Jill, I started using MemoQ a couple of months ago. As you said, it was easy to get going and to import my Trados memories. But I have lots of little nagging things I cannot figure out (or it would take too long to post questions on-line), and I am seriously missing a well-organized and well-indexed manual. I would even buy a third-party book along the lines of the Missing Manuals for the Mac. This may be a market opportunity?

I do not like that I’m removed from the original document. It means I have to have it open in Word and check what needs to be translated and what not. I also don’t like the tags that are popping up when, for example, the source document has a superscript zero instead of a degree sign. I hate tags – that why I never really used TagEditor. You cannot just ignore them – and least I haven’t found a way to ignore them. I also find it difficult to go in and fix small things. In Trados I could simply go through the document, make changes, and then clean again and everything was taken care of. And most annoying, on my computer it takes much, much longer for MemoQ to look through the memory and suggest translations than it does for Trados to look through the same-sized memory.

I would like to get better at using MemoQ, but to be efficient I’d need a manual (more than the introductory pdf on the Kilgray site); the on-line help is too superficial and it is cumbersome to read instructions on the screen when you try to work with the application at the same time. And it is true that the community is very responsive to questions, but you cannot constantly ask questions and wait for answers; and you cannot constantly ask questions that are actually rather basic. So more often than not, I’m back using Trados. Pity.

Enjoy Germany. I will be visiting there late November.

13. Luciana E. Lovatto - October 14, 2011

Hi Jill! I had the chance to work in a long project using MemoQ and I fell in love with this tool. Not only its features are user-friendly, but they also allow you to work more comfortably, since you can see everything in one screen: reference material, glossary and the instances in tm of a specific term or phrase.

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