Cat tool training requested by outsourcer
Thread poster: Jennifer Baker

Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:33
Member (2004)
Italian to English
Jul 24, 2006

I wasn't sure about the right forum to post in- please feel free to move this if appropriate.

I've just been contacted by an agency that looks quite promising (they have excellent BB ratings and specialize in technical translations, as do I). However, they have asked me if I am willing to use SDLX. (I use Wordfast) They provide the program, training and support.
My first reflex reaction was, "NO WAY"... I'm not a fan of learning ANY new computer skill, much less a CAT tool! But my biggest concern is the time factor. I'm totally busy and have trouble finding the time to do anything over and above translating lately. I think I would have to require payment for my time. How could I turn down a paying project for the time it would require me to learn a new tool for potential projects?
Has anyone else done CAT training for an outsourcer? Did you get paid for your time?

Any and all thoughts on the matter would be greatly appreciated, as I have to respond to the agency shortly-
Thanks,
Jennifer

[Edited at 2006-07-24 09:16]


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Monica Tuduce  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Local time: 00:33
Member
Italian to Romanian
+ ...
Absolutely Jul 24, 2006

I absolutely would do this.
Maybe because I am trying to learn this tool right now and I find it difficult, having "only" the manuals (:d ) and no-one beside me, willing to share his experience for free.
If I understood correctly:
First, there are very few outsourcers willing to wait for you, until you learn new programs. In fact, I have never seen one.
Second, they give you the program (which costs a lot by the way), training and support, which also cost a lot, if you decide for example for an on-line course.
In my opinion, this will only make you save money.
Regarding the time, I think you could negotiate with them, in order to decide on the best timing for both of you.

Good luck

Monica


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:33
German to English
+ ...
Dangerous Jul 24, 2006

JL Baker wrote:

I'm not a fan of learning ANY new computer skill, much less a CAT tool! But my biggest concern is the time factor. I'm totally busy and have trouble finding the time to do anything over and above translating lately. I think I would have to require payment for my time.
Thanks,
Jennifer

[Edited at 2006-07-24 09:16]


If you've plenty to do right now I'd let this one ride, carry on with other things and learn by downloading a trial version of e.g. SDLX to play with in your own time. Given what you've said, it could go horribly wrong, despite your WF experience. I would also doubt that they would pay for your time.

Good luck
Chris


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Victor Dewsbery  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
Surely the boot is on the other foot Jul 24, 2006

You write that you already have as much work as you can reasonably handle. This means that you should be in a strong position. So rather than the agency telling you what hoops you must jump through to work with them, you should be telling the agency what conditions they must offer if they want you to work with them.
The boot is on the other foot. It is the agency that should be saying "Please". You can tell them on what terms you would work for them, and then say "Take it or leave it".

I wouldn't accept the agency's offer for other reasons, either.
I have my established CAT tool (DVX), and all of my TM and terminology material is in that format. Having to learn and use a different program would not only involve the learning curve, training time etc., it would also mean that I either have to convert 7 years' worth of database material to the new format, or start from scratch without any such material. I would tell the agency: either you agree that I process the project in my own CAT program (possibly as a Trados project), or you'll have to find someone else.
With Wordfast I believe you can also process SDLX/Trados projects (or is it an incompatible SDLX version?).

I can only imagine one circumstance which would justify accepting the agency's offer - if you actually want to get and learn SDLX/Trados for your own work, and haven't had the money or time to do so. In that case, perhaps the agency is doing you a favour. Otherwise, it is not worth it IMHO.

As for charging for learning time, I would be very surprised if they would agree to this. Either you want SDLX/Trados and therefore accept their support for the cost of the program and training (and spend your own time on it). Or you say "No thanks".


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xxxMarc P  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:33
German to English
+ ...
Cat tool training requested by outsourcer Jul 24, 2006

Is this potential customer really offering to buy you a copy of SDLX? Or are they in fact offering to give you SDLX Lite, which you can download yourself from www.sdl.com/de/products-downloads-sdlx.htm?

* If they are offering SDLX Lite, thank them kindly but decline the offer, and perhaps make a note to download and experiment with SDLX Lite for yourself on a rainy day. My advice would be to decide whether the tool is worth using on its own merits, not as some sort of golden gateway to more work.

* If they are implying that they will supply SDLX but are in fact intending to give you SDLX Lite, I would not only not work for them, but would also consider treating the matter as fraud.

* If they are intending to donate a copy of SDLX to you, including training, that is a very generous offer and probably too good to be true (see above). If it is true, the customer will be expecting a long-term working relationship with you. The relationship may or may not be interesting, but needs to be considered in terms of the potential long-term benefits/disadvantages, not just the carrot that is being dangled.

Marc


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Hynek Palatin  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 00:33
English to Czech
+ ...
Cat tool training requested by outsourcer Jul 24, 2006

I'm sure they are offering you SDLX Lite (see Marc's post above). It's easy to use and you should be able to get started in less than one hour (I suppose you, being a technical translator, are not a computer rookie).

So I don't think training is an issue here. I think you should ask yourself if you want to work for this outsourcer. If yes, then learning a new software is the (low) price.

By the way, SDLX projects cannot be translated in Wordfast.


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:33
Member (2004)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
Choices Jul 24, 2006

First of all I want to think everyone for their posts. I've been turning this over in my mind this morning, and at the risk of changing the theme a bit, I think my hesitation has different motivations. My business is at a point where I'm having to learn to pick and choose, and say "No" with ever-increasing frequency. I've raised my rates a bit and streamlined to where I try to only work with outsourcers that I know well (metaphorically speaking) and enjoy working with. And I've learned the hard way to pass on those who I feel will not become part of that category. But sometimes (like this instance) I'm afraid that I am passing up on good opportunities.
The reality is, how can I say yes if I don't have the time to yes to regular clients? (This is probably why I will wind up turning down the offer of the agency in question)
This is surely just a stage, but this stage sure is hard for me!
Has anyone else had to learn to say no?
Does anyone else out there have trouble managing commitments, time, boundaries, etc?

Wow, I've gone out on quite a tangent!
All replies most welcome-
Jennifer

[Edited at 2006-07-24 12:08]


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Katherine Mérignac  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 00:33
Member (2004)
French to English
Tread carefully Jul 24, 2006

Hi Jennifer,

This rings a few bells, although it's obviously not the same agency because the agency I'm thinking of does not have fabulous ratings on the BB.

Nonetheless, I would be careful about giving up too much of your time to an agency that has not yet offered you paid work. In my case, I had to read their documentation, familiarise myself with the program and answer a few questions, which I did - I work with Trados and so could quickly get a rough idea of how the thing worked, and only actually spent a couple of hours doing this. In retrospect, however, this was a complete waste of time because they only offered small jobs (for which I didn't even need SDLX by the way) and they didn't pay bank charges for currency conversion, which meant I was working for next to nothing.

I don't work for them at all anymore.

Things could of course be totally different at this agency, and I'm all for giving people a chance... maybe you could contact someone who has previously worked for them (via the BB) to see what they think?

Good luck,

Katherine


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Textklick  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:33
German to English
+ ...
Stick with it Jul 24, 2006

JL Baker wrote:

My business is at a point where I'm having to learn to pick and choose, and say "No" with ever-increasing frequency. I've raised my rates a bit and streamlined to where I try to only work with outsourcers that I know well (metaphoriacally speaking) and enjoy working with.



If that's where you are, then stick with it. That's the track I followed and I have absolutely no regrets.

This was reflected in less hours and increased profitability. There's always that nagging temptation to take it all on, but being realistic is the way.

If I had the choice of taking on an unknown (if large) quantity and having to beef up on software I am not familiar with I would refuse on the grounds of stress avoidance.

Anyway: you don't have to say "No" - just say "mi dispiace".


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Jennifer Baker  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:33
Member (2004)
Italian to English
TOPIC STARTER
So right Jul 24, 2006

Textklick wrote:

JL Baker wrote:

My business is at a point where I'm having to learn to pick and choose, and say "No" with ever-increasing frequency. I've raised my rates a bit and streamlined to where I try to only work with outsourcers that I know well (metaphoriacally speaking) and enjoy working with.



If that's where you are, then stick with it. That's the track I followed and I have absolutely no regrets.

This was reflected in less hours and increased profitability. There's always that nagging temptation to take it all on, but being realistic is the way.

If I had the choice of taking on an unknown (if large) quantity and having to beef up on software I am not familiar with I would refuse on the grounds of stress avoidance.

Anyway: you don't have to say "No" - just say "mi dispiace".

Thanks for helping me to see that GROSS SPELLING TYPO- and to think that I'm a translator!
And I'm all for stress avoidance. This has been and still is one of the major decision making factors that I consider when taking on work. It's not been an easy lesson, but I'm learning. And I have to put my familty in the mix somewhere...
Mi dispiace works perfectly in these circumstances, also because its the truth.
Jennifer


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