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Wrong wrong wrong to preclude providers on the basis of which software they use.
Thread poster: Anthony Baldwin

Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:15
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Dec 8, 2008

This is a rant...I assume this is the best place to post it.

I am getting extremely frustrated with job postings that preclude providers on the basis of the software they use.
I find this absolutely ridiculous.

Too many posts are demanding the use of a specific software package.
I have clients that use this pervasive software, and I have never had a problem providing them with the end product they need, even though I use other software.

I liken this insistence on the use of a specific tool to demanding that a plumber use a certain brand of wrench to work on your pipes.
It's preposterous!
I painted houses while putting myself through college. No home owner ever said,"You may only paint my house if you use Purdy brushes."
They were concerned only with the final product of my work.

I use CAT tools, several, in fact, and I can manage all industry standard document formats.
I can provide translation memories in standard formats as well.
So what difference does it make which software I use?

I also outsource work, and I would never presume to dictate to a provider what software they use.
I need them to provide me a translation, period. I don't care what software they use, so long as they have the knowledge
and capacity to translate the document appropriately and deliver the translation in the desired file format.
Thus, while I use OmegaT and Anaphraseus, I have providers that use Wordfast, Dejavu, Nvu, Trados, Cafetrans, Passolo, Swordfish, Esperantilo, Transolution, Java Open Language Tools, Heartsome, etc., and I couldn't care less which product they use.
There are dozens of CAT tools available on the market, and an individual translator should be free to choose the tools with which they are most comfortable, just as a plumber should be able to choose his wrenches, or a painter his brushes.

I'm tired of being precluded from bidding on jobs for which I am fully qualified and quite capable of providing the necessary work, solely based on the fact that I don't use some specific, over priced software.
It's ridiculous.

I don't even think this should be an option when posting a job.
I understand posting requirements for delivery of a specific file format, but, for a specific software package, no.
Wrong, wrong, wrong...


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Integration with other processes Dec 8, 2008

Anthony Baldwin wrote:
I understand posting requirements for delivery of a specific file format, but, for a specific software package, no.
Wrong, wrong, wrong...


Anthony, I completely understand what you mean and completely agree. The weight of the CAT tool in choosing a translator is a bit exaggerated at the moment.

Having said that, it is also true that some companies choose one particular software, train their people in managing bilingual files in that software's format and its translation memories in native format, build a whole CAT and terminology system around it, and expect us translators to integrate in their workflow. So I also understand the point of view of the outsourcer: they feel that files from other tools will cause them trouble or extra work...

I assume that there is a decision that has to be made at some point: Is the potential gain in work (or interest of work, or rates per word) important enough as to purchase and learn the expensive tool?

In making this decision, only business aspects should be considered in my opinion. Dislike of the makers of the tool or dislike of the imposition by the outsourcers should be left aside: you are not killing anyone by purchasing the tool; it is not a moral or ethical decision; it's business.


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:15
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Makes no sense business wise Dec 8, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Anthony Baldwin wrote:
I understand posting requirements for delivery of a specific file format, but, for a specific software package, no.
Wrong, wrong, wrong...


Anthony, I completely understand what you mean and completely agree. The weight of the CAT tool in choosing a translator is a bit exaggerated at the moment.

Having said that, it is also true that some companies choose one particular software, train their people in managing bilingual files in that software's format and its translation memories in native format, build a whole CAT and terminology system around it, and expect us translators to integrate in their workflow. So I also understand the point of view of the outsourcer: they feel that files from other tools will cause them trouble or extra work...

I assume that there is a decision that has to be made at some point: Is the potential gain in work (or interest of work, or rates per word) important enough as to purchase and learn the expensive tool?

In making this decision, only business aspects should be considered in my opinion. Dislike of the makers of the tool or dislike of the imposition by the outsourcers should be left aside: you are not killing anyone by purchasing the tool; it is not a moral or ethical decision; it's business.


The thing is, first of all, I can provide the translation in the file formats they need. They're just created by other software.
Second, this software they're "requiring" won't run on my platform.
I'd have to spend thousands of dollars to switch to a buggy, insecure operating system, which would hamper my efficiency and cause me to incur further costs in software tools for protection and maintenance of said buggy, insecure, unstable system, and other tools to work with on that system, etc., just to be able to use their software, when I already have software that does that same darned thing.
It's just different software.
It's definitely not worth it.
From a business standpoint, using this software makes no sense to me; It depends on a buggy, unstable, insecure operating system, and is highly costly. It doesn't do anything that other, more affordable, and even more diverse in capacity, cross-platform tools can do. This is yet one more reason why I don't understand why it has become so pervasive.
There are literally dozens of other tools available, most of which cost much less, some are even free, and which perform the same work, and can handle the same file formats, and delivery the same product.
Are these agencies receiving kick-backs from the software provider in question?
It's the only reason I can think of to remotely justify this ridiculous requirement.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:15
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
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More considerations Dec 8, 2008

Anthony Baldwin wrote:
Are these agencies receiving kick-backs from the software provider in question?
It's the only reason I can think of to remotely justify this ridiculous requirement.


I think many bigger companies (the agencies' customers) also chose the more expensive software and want their suppliers to use it. That might be another reason.

I see that accessing those jobs might require a big investment!


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Uldis Liepkalns  Identity Verified
Latvia
Local time: 14:15
Member (2003)
English to Latvian
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Fully agree Dec 8, 2008

Some of our translators work on Macs or in Linux and use their fancy CAT tools. No problem at all as long as they can deliver clean/unclean and TMX In rare cases of problems we usually don't have any problems to correct the problems (sorry, tautology unintended) here in the office, using the TM supplied by the translator. And in more than 90% of these "problem cases" it turns out the problems occurred because of some faults in source files.

As to the "buggy, unstable, insecure and highly costly operating system" I'm afraid Agencies, contrary to individual Service Providers, don't have much choice- if 99,9% of your clients uses this "buggy, unstable, insecure operating system", you have to use it too- for compatibility reasons.

Uldis


Anthony Baldwin wrote:
The thing is, first of all, I can provide the translation in the file formats they need. They're just created by other software.
Second, this software they're "requiring" won't run on my platform.


[Rediģēts plkst. 2008-12-08 20:56 GMT]


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Alexey Ivanov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 14:15
English to Russian
I absolutely agree with Tomás Dec 8, 2008

Anthony, I also feel that the demand for a specific CAT tool by an outsourcer in many cases is not justified and is just an attempt at being too clever and to show that you are with it. Moreover, I detest it as much as you do. And I hate being pushed around just like you. I also detest the overpriced CAT tool the name of which we can’t mention in vain here, whose defects are notorious. However, Tomás raises a valid point here. Many quality agencies have their processes built around a specific CAT tool. Maybe, it is the request of the end client who wants to keep their glossaries and TMs constantly up to date, and having heard that XXX software is “the standard of the localization and translation industries” they have opted for it, maybe it the agency’s own choice, because it is easier for them to handle the translations and the glossaries that way (and, in fact , it most certainly is, when the translators, proofreaders/editors and the agency’s own PMs use one particular CAT tool as it definitely reduces the learning curve and thus their business expenses) - never mind the reason- but it is a fact of life. And I am afraid we have to treat it as such. I cannot boast mastery of as many tools as you, but I work with most of the major CATs and have my own predilections, but have to forget those when the client’s preferences lie elsewhere. As simple as that. As the mafia killers say: "Nothing personal, old boy, just business."

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 13:15
English to Hungarian
+ ...
- Dec 8, 2008

I understand how frustrating it is.

I can think of two reasons why outsorcers do this:
1) They don't know that it is possible to create the files they need with different tools. If I were in your shoes, I'd quote on these jobs and tell the outsorcer I can give them bilingual files and tmx memories, made with different software.

2) There is a real compatibility issue. What if they don't just use Trados memories but Multiterm glossaries as well? I don't think any other sw can read/write those. Exporting/importing is not really an option. There may be some subtler issues with TMX as well. I think some fields do not travel between CAT tools. There could be encoding troubles, too. They may want their translators to deliver TMs in the native trados format for convenience. That is a bit silly but they have every right to do that.


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:15
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
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TOPIC STARTER
preferred/required...not the same thing Dec 8, 2008

FarkasAndras wrote:

I understand how frustrating it is.

I can think of two reasons why outsorcers do this:
1) They don't know that it is possible to create the files they need with different tools. If I were in your shoes, I'd quote on these jobs and tell the outsorcer I can give them bilingual files and tmx memories, made with different software.


I have bid on many "XXXXX(cat tool) preferred" jobs, of course, and won many of those contracts, and had no problem providing those clients what they required. Heck, by not using costly software and unstable, buggy operating systems, my overhead is low and I can work efficiently without fear of the viruses, crashes, malware, intrusions, spyware, and the thousand other curses to which said costly (and not worth it) software falls prey, and, as such, I offer very reasonable rates. Many clients like that.
I've also had clients that worked for me with several years before they even really understood that I was not using the same software they use. There were never any file format compatibility issues, so, they just assumed I was using the same tools.

The issue here is, there are now many job posts from which I am now being locked out of bidding, for not having reported experience with, or possession of "XXXXXX (cat tool)", since use of this tool is not being preferred, but rather required, and it is with this requirement that I take issue.


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Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:15
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
I disagree Dec 8, 2008

If I outsource a project and demand that it be done with a particular tool, I may have some good reason:

- Past experience with providers saying that they could provide the translation using another tool, but then delivering bilingual files that caused problems downstream for my editor or at the DTP stage.

- Experience with projects done using another tool, which, though readable in the tool I specified are segmented differently than my tool would have done, thus creating disagreement in matching counts.

- A requirement from my end customer that a certain tool be used, and no other, thus compelling me to demand the same from my outsourcers, or breach my contract with my customer.

- The fact that I may handle the same project using multiple people in multiple languages, and that I want to make my PMs life easier by making sure they do not receive last minute calls like "I did all the translation in tool X instead of tool Y, and everything looked OK, but now when i try to convert to tool Y the file refuses to convert. I swear i never had this problem before, but now I need 3 more days to deliver. Sorry!"

I know that, 95% of the time, which tool you use won't make a difference for me. But if I want to avoid that remaining 5% of risk, I, as the customer, am perfectly entitled to do it.


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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:15
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
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TOPIC STARTER
good to see that some agencis have an open mind Dec 8, 2008

[quote]Uldis Liepkalns wrote:

Some of our translators work on Macs or in Linux and use their fancy CAT tools. No problem at all as long as they can deliver clean/unclean and TMX In rare cases of problems we usually don't have any problems to correct the problems (sorry, tautology unintended) here in the office, using the TM supplied by the translator. And in more than 90% of these "problem cases" it turns out the problems occurred because of some faults in source files.

As to the "buggy, unstable, insecure and highly costly operating system" I'm afraid Agencies, contrary to individual Service Providers, don't have much choice- if 99,9% of your clients uses this "buggy, unstable, insecure operating system", you have to use it too- for compatibility reasons.

Uldis

ēts plkst. 2008-12-08 20:56 GMT]


Yeah, I'm one of the Linux guys.
I wouldn't switch to Windows if Bill Gates personally offered to pay me to use it.
As a matter of principle, I support freedom to choose which software I use.
I have clients that were as open as you are, but, many of them seems to have disappeared, or have little or no work now.
(Removal of requirements to translate French patents to English hasn't helped, either...)
So, I want to bid on new projects, of course, and, suddenly, there seems to be a proliferation of this close-minded attitude that only one program can be used to do our work.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:15
Member (2003)
German to English
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Nonsense Dec 8, 2008

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:
- Experience with projects done using another tool, which, though readable in the tool I specified are segmented differently than my tool would have done, thus creating disagreement in matching counts.


I've heard this segmentation argument raised for years, but the reality is a bit different. In a very large number of Dark Side projects I do with supplied databases, etc. the "natural" segmentation is nonsense anyway; quite a few line breaks occur directly after periods and stuff like that, so I manually adjust the segmentation all the time if I am actually working with that tool. If you take the TM content created by my work and run it against the original file, you won't come anywhere close to getting 100% matches. The only way you would is if you translate like a little Trados robot and take whatever garbage segmentation you are presented with. Only a very rank beginner does such things I think.

As Uldis has pointed out, a lot of problems are really traceable to the source files or the way they were processed in the first place. Anyone who doesn't do a "round trip" pseudotranslation before doing the real work is just asking for trouble. This isn't a criticism of any CAT tool, just an observation of problems based on several CAT tools and some very stressful 2 a.m. experiences with project rescue.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 08:15
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Where did you hear that? Dec 8, 2008

Uldis Liepkalns wrote:

Some of our translators work on Macs or in Linux and use their fancy CAT tools. No problem at all as long as they can deliver clean/unclean and TMX


I'm a Mac user and have never heard of any fancy CAT tools for Mac, or any CAT tools at all, for that matter.
At some point I may be forced to use Trados, and so I have installed Parallels and Windows XP on my Mac...sorry, this is a little off topic, but I just couldn't let it pass. If you know about any CAT tools for Mac, please let me know!


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RNAtranslator  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
English to Spanish
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CAT in MAC Dec 8, 2008

Amy Duncan wrote:

I'm a Mac user and have never heard of any fancy CAT tools for Mac, or any CAT tools at all, for that matter.


You can use OmegaT in MAC http://www.omegat.org/en/omegat.html It is free; free as in "freedom" and free as in "no cost".


[Edited at 2008-12-08 22:11 GMT]

¡Salud!

Ignacio Vicario Esteban


[Edited at 2008-12-08 22:12 GMT]


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:15
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
for Mac Dec 8, 2008

Amy Duncan wrote:
If you know about any CAT tools for Mac, please let me know!


Any of the Java-based tools should do it. The new version of WordFast (v6) for example. I'm sure others can supply other candidates.


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:15
German to English
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CAT tools for Macs Dec 8, 2008

Amy Duncan wrote:

If you know about any CAT tools for Mac, please let me know!


OmegaT of course. But I'm sure that there are several others.

Marc


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