Ethical issue - should I use a predator's software?
Thread poster: Adrian MM. (X)

Adrian MM. (X)
Local time: 00:57
French to English
+ ...
May 6, 2014

21 years ago, a TM software company took over and asset-stripped a translation company I used to work for, then sacked all my colleagues. Should I use their industry-standard software?

[Edited at 2014-05-06 07:41 GMT]


United States
Member (2009)
German to English
+ ...
Interesting philosophical question May 6, 2014

If it was 21 years ago, all the staff have probably changed, and it's probably moved offices. Does it constitute the same company for boycotting purposes? It's a bit like a 1970s band that's still going strong, but with none of its original members.


Adrian MM. (X)
Local time: 00:57
French to English
+ ...
Change of scenery May 6, 2014

philgoddard wrote:

If it was 21 years ago, all the staff have probably changed, and it's probably moved offices. Does it constitute the same company for boycotting purposes?......

Correct on both counts. Its HQ - with a different pre-existing name - was already situate(d) elsewhere. The alligator/crocodile simply swallowed the tadpole that is left as a company-pension shell and with a token subsidiary's name at E&W Companies House.

One or two of my inhouse ex-colleagues went on to work/by working for the corporate as freelance translators on a testpiece + cut-your-price footing or seating. I refused.


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:57
Chinese to English
Absolutely May 7, 2014

Because you should never make the error of treating companies like people. Never show loyalty to them, never talk about them as if they're inherently interesting, never feel any attachment to them, and don't bother to dislike them. Because they have zero feelings about us. If a rock falls down and breaks someone's foot one day, that doesn't mean we should have any feelings about it whatsoever. If a company falls on your head one day, it's the same thing.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:57
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Probably not May 7, 2014

The fact that you post your concerns shows to me that you would not feel ethically comfortable using the software, so the cleanest option for you would probably be not to use it. Protect your moral standards, whatever they are!


Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 01:57
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
Do you take into account other considerations? May 7, 2014

The way you put it, your own answer is obviously "Not by any stretch of the imagination." You haven't given us any other material information to consider. If there's anything I know about ethics and conscience, it's that nothing is ever only black and white.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:57
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Are you cutting off your nose to spite your face? May 7, 2014

What's in it for you in convenience, inconvenience and cold cash?

Is there an alternative product from a more ethical company, or can you do just as happily without the software?

I think after 20 years I might save my conscience and my fervour for issues where they actually make a difference - life is short.

Or will the thought of the software bring back painful memories every time you use it?

A formerly great agency I worked for a lot went bankrupt, and I refused at the time to work with the agency that took over the client portfolio - I disliked their whole system and their rates were low.

Clients started filtering away from them, and some came to a third agency that was starting up and looked promising, had nice PMs and paid reasonably for the British market.

This last agency has grown too fast and got itself a bad name, while all the nice PMs seem to have moved on or out. I don't work for them any more.

While the one that took over the client portfolio - that I used to dislike - has got its act together and really made an effort to get me back into their fold. I don't work for them often, but I am quite happy to do so under their present terms and system.

All these changes have gone on in less than 10 years.
With regard to the software, I would try to wipe the slate clean and look at the situation today.

[Edited at 2014-05-07 07:15 GMT]


Adrian MM. (X)
Local time: 00:57
French to English
+ ...
Other considerations May 7, 2014

Thanks everyone so far, on- and offlist and to Christine for the latest post: life is long and tedious for some of us, but it's the painful memories and bad nerves that would make any use of the software a no-goer.

Other considerations factored in, Mikhail, was that the acquiring company in question had an ambivalent game plan: to capture the target-company's translation business whilst seeking to impose their software on the inhouse members of staff sacked without notice and expelled from the building in the space of one Friday afternoon.

Yes. You're right, Phil - zero feelings about us, yet the corporate officers responsible for these decisions were, technically, the 'guiding mind'.

Back then, the thinking must have been that the passage of time makes this sort of episode acceptable and forgettable.

OK, a counsel of perfection is let bygones be bygones, so bear no grudges. But Tomás has reinforced the ethical point: (no double) moral standards.

[Edited at 2014-05-07 11:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-05-07 11:50 GMT]


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