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Would you buy the tool your client ask for?
Thread poster: wachikondi
wachikondi  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
English to Japanese
+ ...
Jan 7, 2008

Hi everyone!

It's my first post and I hope to hear opinions from the others.

I've been working in translation industry for almost 10 years but I started doing freelancing jobs only last year. So I am still a newbie in a way.

I was contacted by an agency. My first impression to the agency was somewhat negative - they are one of those with "cheapter the better" policy. They use a certain software for all the translation jobs and their freelancers are requested to buy the software with their own money. OK, the software itself is not very expensive (75 USD), but I didn't like the idea of investing my money as there is no guarantee that they provide me jobs constantly.

Has any of you experienced something like this? How did you react? What would you do?

I'd appreciate any reply.

Thanks and regards,
wachikondi


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nordiste  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:43
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
depends if the software is widely used Jan 7, 2008

If the software is widely in use in the translation business for your language pairs , why not ? It could be a profitable investment.

But if t is just some kind of "home made" tool specific to this particular agency, I suppose I would not buy it unless they garanty (meaning : they sign a contract) for a minimum amount of work to pay for the tool.

Who sells this software ? The agency ?


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wachikondi  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Tool is not from the agency Jan 7, 2008

Hi nordiste,

Thanks for your comment. No, the tool is not from the agency as far as I understood. It is not widely used and the data is not exchangable with other TM tools. If I buy it, I could use it only for that agency.

Regards,
wachikondi

[Edited at 2008-01-07 18:34]


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Sabine Akabayov, PhD
Israel
Local time: 16:43
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
Ask them to pay for the software Jan 7, 2008

I would probably try to make them pay for the software or at least part of it. As nordiste suggests, a contract about a minimum amount of work (which should be significantly higher than $75) might also be good, but if this is your first job with this agency, you can't be sure if and when they pay you, so you still have the expenses. You might ask for an advance payment to cover the cost for the software. But it also depends, how badly you want this job. If you ask them to pay for the whole amount, you might scare them away (which might also be a sign not to work with them).

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Margherita Zappatore  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:43
English to Italian
+ ...
I think... Jan 7, 2008

..you can buy it, it is not expensive! Otherwise, before decide to buy it you can check if this tool is already used from other people/client or if it is required from other agencies.

Or you can ask to this client to give you a sample translation to test if you are the right translator for him and then, when he says it is OK, you can buy it!

I do it in this way.

Regards,
Margherita


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Testdrive? Jan 7, 2008

Being in the industry for 10 years, you will have developed your own preferences for software solutions, working methods etc. You will have to decide for yourself in what way this preferences will be affected when working with the new tool. Do you know what you are getting into? Are you comfortable with that? Do you think the amount of work (and the rate you will be paid) will justify the investment? If so, go for it. If not, then this is not the only agency out there and you should drop them.

I had to work with customer-preferred applications a couple of times myself, but they always made them available to me for free. In 90% of the cases, this experience was a [self-censored, but feel free to imagine the most drastic words] and in the remaining 10%, it was rather discouraging and I could not wait to get back to normal stuff that could be done using the software I have grown familiar with in all those years.

On the other hand, many of us will have started with CAT tools because their clients encouraged them to do so. Some of us (including me) may have bought an additional tool because a good client of theirs preferred it. In my case, I actually got so used to this additional tool, that I dropped the first one and I would not want to do without the second one, even though it is less widely use (but nevertheless with interchangeable data). So maybe the 75 bucks you are about to invest will lead you to a similar experience. It is a question of evaluation. Good luck with it!


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wachikondi  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Jan 7, 2008

Hi musona_80 and Wolfgang,

Thanks for your advice. I didn't like the fact that the data is not interchangable if I use this perticular tool. But I think I will give it a go. As you say, it is not as expensive as the most commonly used CAT tool. I will only make sure that I get at least over 75 USD woth job as my first project from them!

Regards,
wachikondi


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Selcuk Akyuz  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 16:43
Member (2006)
English to Turkish
+ ...
Curiosity killed the CAT Jan 7, 2008

But what is the name of this CAT




[Edited at 2008-01-07 22:45]


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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:43
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Suspicious Jan 7, 2008

I would be more than a bit suspicious.

I had this happen several years in the past. An agency required me to buy some tool that at first sight had nothing to do with their agency, but I found out later that they were connected after all. The agency looked OK, and the tool looked OK as well (sorry, I don't remember any more details).

In your place, I would definitely not work for them/buy the tool. Who'll guarantee you that you would even get a single job from them once you purchased the tool? Maybe that's all they're after to make a quick buck from the many newbies in the translation world.

Particularly, since your first impression of the agency is not that positive anyways...

Good luck!

[Edited at 2008-01-08 05:28]


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Maria Diehn  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...
If the tool is widely known a trial version should be available Jan 7, 2008

If the tool is widely known a trial version should be available; you could download it for free, learn to use it and do their first job, if they award it to you. Thereafter you will decide whether to buy or not. That is the question.

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Skatrine
Canada
Local time: 09:43
English to French
I would not buy it Jan 8, 2008

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:
n your place, I would definitely not work for them/buy the tool. Who'll guarantee you that you would even get a single job from them once you purchased the tool? Maybe that's all they're after to make a quick buck from the many newbies in the translation world.
[...]
[/quote]

Exactly what I was thinking.

Serious agencies that have a proprietary CAT tool provide it to their freelance translators. I could give names but I'm not sure about the rules in this respect.

[Edited at 2008-01-08 01:35]


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wachikondi  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
English to Japanese
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Hmm... Jan 8, 2008

The agency told me the name of the CAT tool, which I now cannot remember... I never heard of it anyway and the agency also admitted that it's not commonly used. They are suppoused to send me the demo version which I can use for 3 months for free. I should then do a bit of research on the connection between this agency and the CAT tool provider.

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:43
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
What if every agency had its own CAT tool? Jan 8, 2008

I have worked for an agency that had its own CAT tool for some jobs.

They provided it for free, and I accepted the CAT tool, because I like working for that agency, but I would never have agreed to pay for it. How could freelancers ever earn any money if they had to pay for a new CAT tool for each agency?

We are the people who deliver the product. Good agencies are a great help, but it is the translator who ends up sitting all night struggling with impossible CAT tools if they do not work and there is no help available as with the usual CATs.

CATS must be an advantage for the translator as well as the agency. And CATs must not be used to cut rates unless they make the work easier, so the translator is able to earn just as good a living as before.

In short, don't pay for the tool unless you are sure it is a good investment for you, not just for the agency.



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