How Felix scores with five complaints about Trados

About Translation has an illuminating post about issues he has with Trados.

I’d like to examine his complaints, and note how Felix scores.

MS Word interface: fix the formatting problems

Since Felix doesn’t embed any tags or hidden text into your document, it generally does a very good job at not messing up the document’s formatting. There are still a few issues, though. For example, it doesn’t preserve font size information: translations will be inserted with the same font size as the current selection.

Note that you can retrieve translations with no formatting at all if you simply want to use the current style (e.g. “Heading 1”) — simply hold down the shift key while retrieving the translation (i.e. “Shift + Alt + Down Arrow” or “Shift + Alt + G”).

Concordance search: a translator should be able to search not only on the source language, but also on the target.

Felix can search for concordance for both the source and target languages. You can do it directly in the Felix window by selecting a string and pressing “Alt + C” (source) or “Ctrl + Alt + C” (translation), or you can do it from Word/PowerPoint/TagAssist via menu/keyboard shortcuts. Unfortunately there’s no concordance command from Excel, because you can’t search below the cell/text box level (yet!), but you can still use the Felix window when working from Excel.

And of course, Felix supports powerful traditional TM and glossary searching, including full support for regular expressions.

TagEditor: recommending the use of TagEditor for the translation of MS Word documents would be more acceptable if TagEditor were a richer text editor.

This issue is largely solved in Felix because there are interfaces for Excel, PowerPoint, and Word, so you don’t have to use external programs very often.

I do have an external editor, Tag Assist, for HTML files, which suffers from many of the faults he mentions. It’s not reasonable to expect a CAT tool to have an editor that rivals Word/Open Office/etc., but we can do a lot better in this area. (By the way, just between us here’s a secret development item: within the next version or two, I’ll be adding functionality to translate HTML files from MS Word — the actual HTML code, not the junk that MS passes off as HTML.)

MultiTerm: a more user-friendly and less counterintuitive interface and process would help.

Glossary functionality is fully integrated into Felix, and I believe that it’s user friendly. There have, however, been requests for more powerful searching, sorting, and editing, and I’m working on those features now.

Artificial limitations to the freelance edition of Trados. Two translators who acquire two different freelance licenses should be able to run them on the same home network, without the need to purchase a more expensive version of the program.

I think users balk at these types of limitations because it feels like they’re being squeezed for money. Felix allows any number of copies to run on the network. It also allows any number of users to share memories over the network using Memory Serves. Even Wordfast, which is usually more liberal than Trados, puts a cap at 20 users (although that might be a technical limitation).

In fact, Felix has only one “artificial” limitation: the trial version is limited to 500 translation units (TUs) (but has no time limit). Everything else is unlimited, including languages, number of TMs, number of glossaries, etc.


I think Felix scores fairly well against the Trados pain points noted by About Translation, although it still has room for improvement.

If you’re a discontented Trados user, I’d recommend trying out the free trial version of Felix. I also promise to be much more responsive to any issues you find than some of the big names in the industry.

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