Why use MemoQ?

On being asked what MemoQ had over the competition by @AnnikaAsklund, I thought I’d better take some time to re-evaluate my own choice of CAT tool, given the new version having appeared in recent days.

I’ve been using MemoQ since version 4 (6 has just been released) and have found it to be a great tool for productivity. Perhaps the competing tools could also have given me this, but I’m quite particular in my requirements. Here I’ll list the features I appreciate in it that are not available in the competition, as far as I know:

1) Non-proprietary memory formats

I’m no fan of companies who try to lock you in to their products. Some CAT tool companies seem to have done very well out of this practice, but it doesn’t sit well with me. I’d much rather work in open formats between all agencies than be tied in to a limited selection. MemoQ, by default, produces TMX format memories and maintains the original source document file formats. No messing around with bell-ringing cries of clean/unclean.

2) Robust software

It doesn’t crash! Need I say more? It’s quick for the most part, and can be optimised through the many options. I hear version 6 is even faster but I’m not sure of the cost of upgrading as of yet.

3) Quick concordancing

If I’m looking for the meaning of a word in a specific context I select it, hit Ctrl+K and watch the pop-up window fill up with my previous translations of this word in seconds. I look for the correct translation and move on. Try searching millions of segments without decent software; and yet this happens in seconds.

4) Fully compatible with other major tools

MemoQ can import and export bilingual and proprietary files from the other major CAT tool vendors. This really helped me when making a decision, as it meant I could work with all agencies no matter what choices they had made.

5) Compatible with many industry-standard file formats

InDesign INX files are handled natively, as are XML, HTML, XLIFF (open standard), SVG, all MS Office formats and other handy ones, allowing you to offer clients a range of options to best retain all of their hard formatting work and only work on the raw source text.

6) Great workflow

The status of each segment is colour-coded, allowing you to quickly work through a document and then easily go back to uncertain sections armed with more information. The keyboard shortcuts are logical, yet customisable, making edits and accessing features very quick.

7) Great sorting and filters

On certain projects I can quickly pre-translate the new source document, sort the segments by ‘Match rate’, confirm the previously translated parts (99-100% matches) and then filter those out of the work view to quickly work through the remaining new parts. Also, sorting by ‘Frequency’ is useful, enabling the processing of many repeated segments in a few keystrokes, filtering those out of the work view to continue without their clutter. This all saves time.

8 ) Great support

This is very handy to have. My experiences have been very pleasant, with the feel of a small company that cares. Documentation is also good.

9) Great company culture

Following on from the last point, it would seem that the MemoQ team are very attentive to customers and their feedback, as evidenced in their blog and Twitter communications. I appreciate this; it inspires confidence that I’m more likely to be well treated as a partner than ripped off and left to fend for myself.

10) Because every blog list has to have ten items (internet law): MemoQ Server projects

I’ve worked with clients on MemoQ Server projects, using my own TMs, but without having to resort to the insecurity of email to send files back and forth. It’s a great way to collaborate with agencies.

If there was one snag, it would be that free version upgrades would be appreciated, separating the upgrades from the support offer in their €124 annual ‘upgrades and support’ package, but you can’t have it all. Thus, the decision to upgrade further is still to be made.

Previously I used OmegaT. It is great for smaller projects, and I particularly appreciate lightweight and small-footprint (in terms of system memory used) software, but it couldn’t sustainably load the largest translation memories I have accumulated, (even when starting with the higher memory tricks and 6GB of RAM) nor cross-reference previous projects with such grace. So it was time to upgrade, and I can still honestly say, years later, that it was well worth the investment.

Thanks for reading. I do translation from French and Swedish to English, so if that's useful to you, feel free to connect and message me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

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