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How do you feel about agencies that ask you to use their software?
Thread poster: Tom in London

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
May 31, 2016

How do you feel about agencies that ask you to use their software?

I seem to be getting an increasing number of requests of that kind. Potentially I could be working with 20 different kinds of software, one for each of 20 agencies.

The thing that concerns me about downloading, installing, and using software I don't know is that it might infect my computer, or might somehow allow the agency to monitor what I am doing.

Your thoughts?


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 10:23
English to Croatian
+ ...
Never worked with one. May 31, 2016

Each time an agency proposed something like this, it was a bad payer with low rate and thus immediately disqualified in my book.

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Michael Joseph Wdowiak Beijer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2009)
Dutch to English
+ ...
I use only my own software May 31, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

How do you feel about agencies that ask you to use their software?

I seem to be getting an increasing number of requests of that kind. Potentially I could be working with 20 different kinds of software, one for each of 20 agencies.

The thing that concerns me about downloading, installing, and using software I don't know is that it might infect my computer, or might somehow allow the agency to monitor what I am doing.

Your thoughts?


Although I refuse to work with any software other than my own (apart from various online project management portals such as Plunet, et al.), I doubt any of the software offered by the agencies you are referring to will either infect your Mac or allow them to snoop on you. In the 20-odd years I've been translating, I haven't once heard of anything like that happening, apart from in people's imaginations of course.

Michael


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
I take it on a case by case basis May 31, 2016

Certain types of text require certain types of software -- Passolo, for example, is crap for normal translation but relevant for software interface texts.

I am usually OK to try out new software. If I really hate it I will simply stop working with that client or insist on using my own tools if they want to work with me. But in the interest of being flexible and fair I will usually give it a go first.

From the flip-side of the coin, it's not fun being in a position where you have to ask translators to work in different tools. As an outsourcer I do have one client that sends their interface texts in file formats that have to be processed with a (very basic) proprietary tool. It's not brilliant but the texts are not usually very long and it gets the job done. So far my translators have completed the work in the tool, even though I know it isn't their favourite thing ever. And trust me, I appreciate it every time. Thankfully we have very good working relationships so they are willing to put up with this annoying bit of software, and luckily the client doesn't send ALL of the texts in that format, so we are able to use normal tools too!

(edited for clarity)

[Edited at 2016-05-31 16:03 GMT]


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Paulinho Fonseca  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 05:23
Member (2011)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
First experience; a nightmare May 31, 2016

I have a regular client that was testing a new platform and offered me a job, which on a regular basis would be done in three days. When I began the work, the translation flow was 30% less than my daily output. I called client, asked if deadline could be extended, they reluctantly accepted it.
Afterwards, I informed them I would not work with their new system and why.



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wotswot  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:23
Member (2011)
French to English
Stick to your preferred CAT tool May 31, 2016

I have been using the same CAT software for 9 years (Transit), which I love and which I couldn't do without. Under pressure from several French clients (95% of my market), I purchased SDL Trados Studio (used by approx. 40% of my customers) and use it simply to receive and return packages, but I do the actual translation in Transit, where I have all my TMs and very extensive dictionaries, plus all my macros, regexes and keyboard shortcuts that save so much time, and life's too short to learn the equivalent functions in other CAT programs.

As for online platforms, I hate them and refuse such work (Groupshare in SDL Trados parlance).

Richard


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:23
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Depends May 31, 2016

The answer depends on what that software is.

I wouldn't worry about the major CAT tools, but I wouldn't install just anything.

Of course there is a risk with all software, even Apple's, but the only way to avoid all software risk is to avoid using the Internet.

As for snooping, CAT tools put timestamps on the confirmed segments (~sentences), so the agencies would be able to see when you confirmed what, unless you return the files in a non-CAT format such as Word.

The major CAT tools can handle several formats, so if an agency asks for one format, you may well be able to handle it in another CAT tool.

What I don't like so much is when clients insist on using their own cloud software (which runs in a browser) but only send very little work, as it's not worth the trouble investing time in getting to know these tools, so one feels a bit handicapped. Fortunately, these cases are marginal in my case, and so far, I tolerate them.

I do nearly all my work in Memsource and MemoQ, and many of the requests I get also require one of these tools. I have no problem with using these two tools. Memsource runs natively on OS X, and MemoQ runs on OS X under Parallels.

It does require some time to get to know such software, so the question for you is if you can get enough work without bothering about CAT tools, or if accepting to use one or two may be necessary to keep work coming. I would try to focus on no more than two, in any case.

If you worry about viruses, you may also want to consider using security software, even on OS X, if you aren't already using it. Although OS X is considered more secure than Windows, it isn't magically immune to viruses, malware, spyware etc., it is just targeted less than Windows.


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
French to English
Hypothetically May 31, 2016

Tom in London wrote:

How do you feel about agencies that ask you to use their software?

(...)

Your thoughts?


If it has ever happened to me, I have suppressed the memory. I object in principle, however. A client is perfectly entitled, in my view, to request or indeed require any deliverable their heart desires, and we can all happily agree to do business, or not, on the basis of those deliverables. A client is most definitely not, however, entitled to tell me the process or procedure I must use to produce said deliverables. No B2C analogy with plumbing, dentistry or baking is, I trust, necessary to emphasise that point. If the client absolutely requires deliverables that can only be produced in one particular way, then that is their prerogative, naturally. But even in those cases, I think the respectful approach is to state the requirement in terms of output requirements, not process requirements.


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Angela Rimmer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2014)
German to English
+ ...
"You may want to consider"??? May 31, 2016

Thomas T. Frost wrote:

If you worry about viruses, you may also want to consider using security software, even on OS X, if you aren't already using it. Although OS X is considered more secure than Windows, it isn't magically immune to viruses, malware, spyware etc., it is just targeted less than Windows.


IMO, if you are a professional translator, you better have security software -- that is the very least you can do to protect your clients' files and also protect your own business from a cyber attack. These days not having antivirus software of some sort is a bit like leaving all your valuables right next to an open door and putting a sign in the window inviting the next opportunist who comes by to take what they want.


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Thomas T. Frost  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:23
Member (2014)
French to Danish
+ ...
Absolutely May 31, 2016

Angela Rimmer wrote:

IMO, if you are a professional translator, you better have security software -- that is the very least you can do to protect your clients' files and also protect your own business from a cyber attack. These days not having antivirus software of some sort is a bit like leaving all your valuables right next to an open door and putting a sign in the window inviting the next opportunist who comes by to take what they want.


I totally agree, but many Apple users are lulled into a false sense of security where they think Apple will protect them against all evil in the universe – and a little bit more (this statement is general and not intended for Tom or any other specific person). Well they won't. But trying to convince some Apple users it's a good idea to use security software can be like hammering one's head against the proverbial wall.

PS: "You may want to consider???": I know Tom dislikes it if anyone tries to tell him what to do (don't we all?), so I preferred to err on the side of politeness .

[Edited at 2016-05-31 16:43 GMT]

[Edited at 2016-05-31 18:50 GMT]


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Charlie Bavington  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:23
French to English
Tin foil hat at the ready :) May 31, 2016

Michael J.W. Beijer wrote:

...allow them to snoop on you. In the 20-odd years I've been translating, I haven't once heard of anything like that happening, apart from in people's imaginations of course.

Michael


A few months ago, I decided I didn't know enough about MT, who was selling it, why, etc. So I had a scout around youtube, and gritted my teeth while I listened to overweight salesmen in darkened rooms talk for hours without saying much, accompanied naturally by dozens of slides created using Satan's very own software, PowerPoint. A number of them mentioned logging translators' productivity using the proprietary MT tools they were flogging. Could have been sales bullshit, of course, but I'm not sure I'd dismiss the possibility out of hand.
Now please forgive me, I need to go and throw up at the memory of some of those vids.


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EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
Never more! May 31, 2016

I once let an agency persuade me - it was one of my specialty fields and the price was good. The first file went relatively well, but the second one was larger and it kept crashing my Explorer. When I complained, I was told that I should use a different browser (no question). Then I got an "error report" - the software just complained about spaces left (or not) at the end of lines (it was not a continuous text, so that it didn't matter at all) and similar nonsense, and I was asked to correct such "mistakes" over and over again, on a computer's say-so. I would never accept such a thing again, not even from my stable clients (oh yes, one did ask).

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Eileen Cartoon  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:23
Italian to English
For me it was a question of productivity May 31, 2016

I decided, after trying out a few, that I would commit to one CAT and only one. When I first started trying to accomodate the customers with their software my Productivity droped on all platforms, even the one I know and use every day. I had to start thinking of commands which were second nature to me (because they were different in the others) and, in the end, I just decided not to. I refuse jobs that I can't do in my preferred CAT. End of question. It just slowed me down everywhere and was not worth the time or aggravation.

Eileen


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Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2008)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Charlie as usual May 31, 2016

Charlie Bavington wrote:

If it has ever happened to me, I have suppressed the memory. I object in principle, however. A client is perfectly entitled, in my view, to request or indeed require any deliverable their heart desires, and we can all happily agree to do business, or not, on the basis of those deliverables. A client is most definitely not, however, entitled to tell me the process or procedure I must use to produce said deliverables. No B2C analogy with plumbing, dentistry or baking is, I trust, necessary to emphasise that point. If the client absolutely requires deliverables that can only be produced in one particular way, then that is their prerogative, naturally. But even in those cases, I think the respectful approach is to state the requirement in terms of output requirements, not process requirements.


Charlie - with your customary sardonic wit you sum it all up perfectly. Next time I visit the dentist I'll tell him which tools I want him to use - and pay him less.


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Huw Watkins  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:23
Member (2005)
Italian to English
+ ...
Sometimes... May 31, 2016

...it happens due to confidentiality issues. The customer sets up an online/server-based environment that you log into and the files and information never leave their premises. I've had that with a couple of clients. And actually within that environment I've seen them use but memoQ and even SDL Trados Studio too.

It kinda seems fair enough in those circumstances - some legal or other work is quite sensitive.

As for the rest, I agree it's an absolute pain when client tries to force their (usually substandard) CAT tool onto you. I usually just try and find a away around it and use my usual one but deliver in their's if possible. It all ends up being more time consuming and when this happens usually the clock is ticking on the now strained relationship.

The chances of picking up malware are pretty negligible though I'd day, although not impossible - certainly in the second scenario.

[Edited at 2016-05-31 17:57 GMT]


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