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Off topic: "Help, I bought SDL TRADOS!"
Thread poster: Vito Smolej

Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 18:34
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
Dec 15, 2008

Am I the only one to notice a huge rise in SDL Trados subjects?

My impression is that 50% of new subjects have to deal with Trados, and majority among them is a scream for help. I belong to the race of great reciprocators but my cup is slowly getting full: it is starting to sound to me like a chatter noise from several handies being used in parallel (and loud) in the subway. It's worse than AC/DC - nearly matching Barry Manilow.

Maybe we should stop playing Florence Nightingale - to SDL first of all. And then to all those beginners, who thought that all those SDL Group Buys would get them a ticket for the translation paradise.

Ranteurs et rantresses bienvenus - spill your SDL TRADOS guts!

As always yours

Vito


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:34
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Not a bad idea really Dec 16, 2008

Do you realize the obvious opportunity here? I find it amusing that with all the "Dummies" books out there that nobody has ever bothered to do anything of the sort with Trados. But then that would probably just encourage more lemmings to plunge over the cliff.

Aside from all the bewildered Trados newbies, what I find really sad is the number of people who have used the software for years and still struggle with basic functions or are altogether unaware of them. The software in its current state represents the worst in German software development, where humans are expected to conform to the arbitrary, illogical interface of the machine. Tonight I was reading the "SDL Trados Studio 2009" review on the Tracom blog (talking about the version next year); while it sounded like there are some improvements ahead, I wasn't encouraged by a lot of what I read. It will be nice to be rid of TagEditor, however.


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Kevin Fulton
United States
Local time: 12:34
German to English
Bugs and more bugs Dec 16, 2008


The software in its current state represents the worst in German software development
[snip]
Tonight I was reading the "SDL Trados Studio 2009" review on the Tracom blog (talking about the version next year); while it sounded like there are some improvements ahead, I wasn't encouraged by a lot of what I read. It will be nice to be rid of TagEditor, however.


I've been using SDL/Trados products for a number of years, and most of my problems have been resolved with a reboot or reorganization of a TM. I consider myself a fairly sophisticated user of my software and rarely require any support.

However ...

I recently had an issue that was resolved only by installing an old disk image, since uninstalling the latest update didn't solve any problems and as a consequence, I couldn't re-install even an older version of any Trados product. I have over 180 programs installed with numerous patches, tweaks, updates, etc. Re-installing Windows and consequently all my software on an otherwise well-functioning system wasn't an option that I was willing to consider, considering my workload. Fortunately I have an older version of Workbench/TE on a laptop, so I could still work, but most of my other resources are on my desktop machine. Synchronizing directories on 2 non-networked computers a couple of times / day is not my idea of a good time.

To be fair, Gareth at SDL support did respond, and I received a call from Courtney at SDL support once I had re-installed the old image (from a hard drive I had left in place when I replaced it as my main HD). The update installed and everything is working properly (knock on wood!)

A program should uninstall cleanly, with perhaps a light cleaning of the registry. SDL's registry purging program should have cleaned all the relevant software keys from the registry, but it didn't. In my experience, even MS Word uninstalls/re-installs without a whimper.

I read the Tracom blog. It didn't mention whether the upcoming upgrade (or whatever they want to call it) is based on a new software engine. If it's based on Trados products, then reprogramming will be required. If (as I suspect), the SDL product will be the basis, then a new approach to setting up a project / TM / termbase will have to be revamped, as I've found it to be entirely unintuitive. As a consequence I gave up trying to undertake projects using SDLX, preferring the TagEditor/DVX/TagEditor roundtrip approach. For those of us with existing Workbench TMs and MultiTerm terminology databases, the conversion process is too arduous to be worthwhile.

I'm one of those odd birds who actually prefers the TagEditor interface. At least I don't have to worry about buggy old MS Word interfering with an equally buggy Workbench that doesn't work too well with MultiTerm. In my experience, TE has been relatively stable with fewer complaints from clients. It's not my tool of choice, but that's a separate issue.

At any rate, I'll wait for a few patches to be released before considering an update/upgrade to SDL Trados Studio.


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The Misha
Local time: 12:34
Russian to English
+ ...
Yep, it sounds more and more lika a Trados user support group ... Dec 16, 2008

... to the detriment of all other issues. Reading forums used to be fun, now it's mostly either Trados or the same predictable range of newbie questions. Yuck.

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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
You don't drive a lorry without training Dec 16, 2008

In my opinion (as a user of Trados for about a decade), people should not drive a lorry without training. It's not like driving a car. Trados is not a car among the CAT tools: it's the big lorry. Buying Trados should be always linked to training about Workbench and the main tools, a training that will help you make the most of a relatively expensive tool.

There will always be little glitches in Trados, but it is exactly proper training (1 full day of training is usually enough) what can help you pinpoint and overcome any problems.

To Trados users out there: get training as soon as you can! You will get rid of frustration and will increase your productivity. It's completely worth the cost.


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Piotr Bienkowski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:34
Member (2005)
English to Polish
+ ...
:) Dec 16, 2008

The best thing I read in a different forum was something along these lines:

"I bough Trados, installed it, opened a file, clicked Open Next/Get and translation does not appear. What am I doing wrong?"



Regardless of how bad the software is, people intending to use it should make the mental effort to RTFM. Or they should shell out some more euros/bucks to become "certified".

Piotr

P.S. I'm not a fan of Trados, but have managed to used it productively (well, most of the time) since 2002, without attending training or getting the "certification".

[Edited at 2008-12-16 14:39 GMT]


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Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
Is it the software or the users? Dec 16, 2008

No matter how bad the software might be, I have the impression that most of Trados questions that appear in this forum are related to lack of training (and as training I include pressing F1 and checking the help before asking here).

Daniel


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Lack of training... for sure Dec 16, 2008

dgmaga wrote:
No matter how bad the software might be, I have the impression that most of Trados questions that appear in this forum are related to lack of training (and as training I include pressing F1 and checking the help before asking here).


Absolutely. My opinion too. Trados is a professional tool. Nobody would thing of buying AutoCAD and starting to use it in the first minute. You would get training first. And we should get training about our tools for professional use. Training is not expensive and brings lots of good in the case of Trados.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 17:34
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
It's a mix Dec 16, 2008

The problem is with the software and with the users.

We all know about the quirks, bugs, etc. No amount of training will fix that, and troubleshooting is often a matter of collecting arcane knowledge and making lucky guesses at 2 am before a delivery due a few hours later.

But all the training in the world is unlikely to help many of the people plunging into the world of Trados. Tech heads like me, Jerzy or Ben may have trouble grasping this at times (maybe they don't, but I have to keep reminding myself), but the fact is that many people do not do well with non-intuitive tools, and skills which are not reinforced almost daily are quickly lost. Much of the Trados arcana with MultiTerm integration and whatnot isn't stuff the average user will mess with every day. Thus they are doomed to stumble along in the dark for all but the most simple procedures. There is nothing wrong with these people, though those of us with a fetish for cabalistic technology might think so. It's the interface, stupid!

Many years ago I used to be a computer consultant for many school districts in Southern California. I set up networks (Mac & IBM) and did a lot of training. I had no problem dealing with any of the hardware or software, because I had been fiddling with mainframes and worse since I was 10 years old, but it became obvious very quickly that even the smartest teachers often struggled to deal with DOS or early Windows arcana. With a Mac, on the other hand, I could explain a few general principles and after about 10 minutes, users could figure out most stuff without my help. The non-Mac users tended to forget stuff a lot.

I see pretty much the same issues with CAT/TeNT users today. With certain tools, the intuitive interface empowers users to learn on their own and get a lot of work done. Information learned is usually retained. We techies can babble all we want about more features, more filters, more power, more whatever for SDL (most of which is BS, but I'll go along with it for the sake of argument), but the fact is that even with training, these things will not be accessible to most of the user base because the crappy interface gets in the way.

Maybe some day things will get better. I now use Microsoft products without gritting my teeth, and if I explain something in Windows XP to another person, I can usually expect it to be remembered. So there is hope for SDL Trados, but not with the current versions.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:34
English to Arabic
+ ...
Trados for idiots Dec 16, 2008

Kevin Lossner wrote:
Do you realize the obvious opportunity here? I find it amusing that with all the "Dummies" books out there that nobody has ever bothered to do anything of the sort with Trados.


No Trados for Dummies, but there is a "Trados for idiots, by an idiot" out there (http://life.bizland.com/trados.htm ). Not exactly comprehensive, and lacking in snapshots, but I did make use of it and was relieved to finally find a document that just states the basic facts - the stuff that the Trados manual somehow assumes you know already.


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Poisson rouge
Germany
Local time: 18:34
German to French
+ ...
Ironic Dec 16, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

In my opinion (as a user of Trados for about a decade), people should not drive a lorry without training. It's not like driving a car. Trados is not a car among the CAT tools: it's the big lorry. Buying Trados should be always linked to training about Workbench and the main tools, a training that will help you make the most of a relatively expensive tool.

(...)


I agree about what you say, but I do find it rather ironic that the most expensive CAT Tool needs to be linked to training, which means more money spent on one particular programme. Great, really, isn't it? Luckily there are other, intuitive CAT tools on the market, because that's enough to put me off...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:34
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A class of its own Dec 16, 2008

Now things are getting clear. Trados is not about translation, but using TMs to automate translation as far as these TMs allow.

To put myself in the picture, I am a (no-Trados, yes-WordFast) translator who knows PageMaker inside out. This means that I can take a complex publication from hardcopy or PDF to its translated PDF in my language pair, plus a few other pairs, if translation is provided. The bottom line here is twofold:

- Translation and DTP are two separate activities that can be performed by the same individual.
- Not all (matter of fact, just a few) translators can do DTP.

What's lacking here is a line drawn between translation and Trados-CAT-tooling, i.e. Trados "operators". Such a professional would either pre-translate the material with the available TM for the translator to "complete" it (with significant savings in labor), and thereafter would update the TM with the new translation. Such Trados operator would need basic to intermediate knowledge of the languages involved, just like what I have in a few languages I speak, do DTP with, but don't translate professionally. When a TM is not available, the translator would use a simpler CAT tool to translate from scratch, and later the Trados operator would compile a TM from the outcome for future similar/related jobs.

The whole paradigm revolves on translators using Trados. Some agencies require all their translators to have and use Trados, otherwise they will be treated as monoglots. Imagine an agency that required all their translators to have and use InDesign, otherwise they would be treated as illiterate (for being unable to open and read such files).

So maybe there is room for a new profession: Trados operator, not necessarily a translator. This won't prevent translators from using it directly, just as many translators do DTP as well.


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Tomás Cano Binder, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 18:34
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
If you don't need a lorry.... Dec 16, 2008

Fiona wrote:
Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
In my opinion (as a user of Trados for about a decade), people should not drive a lorry without training. It's not like driving a car. Trados is not a car among the CAT tools: it's the big lorry. Buying Trados should be always linked to training about Workbench and the main tools, a training that will help you make the most of a relatively expensive tool.
(...)

I agree about what you say, but I do find it rather ironic that the most expensive CAT Tool needs to be linked to training, which means more money spent on one particular programme. Great, really, isn't it? Luckily there are other, intuitive CAT tools on the market, because that's enough to put me off...


To me it's still the same situation: you don't need a lorry, so get a car... But if you ever need a lorry... get training!


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 19:34
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Its the IBM of translation business Dec 16, 2008

You remember perhaps the saying: No one ever got fired because he bought IBM. Even if there were problems, it wasn't your fault, because you had done your best by ordering the IBM.

If a translator tells his customer: I have problem with my software, I cannot deliver on time, then you better tell him your software is Trados, latest edition. They will understand, you did your best but the software is to blame. Beware if the software is something else, the computer broke down or whatever: its your fault alone.

As far I have had seldom problems with Trados, even if my knowledge does not qualify me for second degree of certification. And it works very good under Vista, start up much faster than in XP. If only they would integrate WB into TE, so one does not have to look at two windows at the same time.

Cheers
Heinrich


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Evonymus (Ewa Kazmierczak)  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 18:34
English to Polish
+ ...
:) Dec 16, 2008

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:
In my opinion (as a user of Trados for about a decade), people should not drive a lorry without training. It's not like driving a car. Trados is not a car among the CAT tools: it's the big lorry. Buying Trados should be always linked to training about Workbench and the main tools, a training that will help you make the most of a relatively expensive tool.


OK, so first I would have to spend lots of money for the software itself and then again lots of money for endless trainings and numerous manuals, before I actually could earn my living while working with that software.
No, thank you. For me, good software for ordinary people (and in this case it means people who are not necessarily IT specialists) is intuitive and does not require endless trainings and reading of manuals.
A lorry or not a lorry, sophisticated or not, I don’t care. Unless you are a lorry enthusiast, you basically drive in order to get to your destination point, i.e. to get your text translated as smoothly and efficiently as possible, with as little headache as possible
Cheers, Ewa


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