Moving to PC or staying with Mac?
Thread poster: Cecile Arbus

Cecile Arbus
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:54
English to French
+ ...
Oct 10

Hi everyone,

I am new to the translation industry and currently mainly working on a Mac laptop, which has been fine so far. However I'm considering investing in a desktop computer for all the obvious reasons. I have a few questions and would love to hear people's views on the following please:
- Should I move to a PC and Windows system, which is what I'm considering, or stay with Mac?
- Does a Mac work with SDL trados and other similar CAT tools or is it better to get a
... See more
Hi everyone,

I am new to the translation industry and currently mainly working on a Mac laptop, which has been fine so far. However I'm considering investing in a desktop computer for all the obvious reasons. I have a few questions and would love to hear people's views on the following please:
- Should I move to a PC and Windows system, which is what I'm considering, or stay with Mac?
- Does a Mac work with SDL trados and other similar CAT tools or is it better to get a PC?
- How much memory (RAM) should I consider - I'm thinking 2x8GB to future proof as much as possible.
- Any other key technical criteria to consider?

Thank you for any advice!
Cecile
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Tony M
France
Local time: 17:54
Member
French to English
+ ...
A few considerations... Oct 10

Always having worked on Mac myself, when I started in translation (a long time ago!), I found myself constrained to going over to PC for at least one reason that seemed to me insurmountable: although MS Word on Mac is supposed to be compatible with Word on the PC, I frequently encountered incompatibility issues between customer files created on PC and the ones I sent back from Mac. This problem may well have been cured in more recent issues!

In addition, whether Mac or PC, I
... See more
Always having worked on Mac myself, when I started in translation (a long time ago!), I found myself constrained to going over to PC for at least one reason that seemed to me insurmountable: although MS Word on Mac is supposed to be compatible with Word on the PC, I frequently encountered incompatibility issues between customer files created on PC and the ones I sent back from Mac. This problem may well have been cured in more recent issues!

In addition, whether Mac or PC, I find a desktop computer more ergonomic; even on my laptop, I use an external keyboard and mouse, and having a full keyboard allows me, for example, to make use of Alt+Num codes for additional accented letters etc. — which is immensely fiddly to do on the reduced keyboard used on laptops! Having access to these codes has proved very helpful to me on my PCs — I don't know if the same exists on Mac, but I've never discovered how to do it.

I can't comment about translation tools, but their compatibility or not ought to be explained by their respective publishers.
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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 17:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
@Cecile Oct 10

Cecile Arbus wrote:
- Should I move to a ... Windows system, which is what I'm considering, or stay with Mac?
- Does a Mac work with SDL Trados and other similar CAT tools or is it better to get a [Windows system]?


I don't use a Mac myself, but:
1. There are a few CAT tools that run on a Mac, namely Wordfast Pro 3 and 5, CafeTran and OmegaT.
2. The only way to run Trados, MemoQ etc. on a Mac is if you use a virtual machine that runs Windows.
3. As long as you can edit Microsoft Word files without any data loss, I don't see why you can't continue with a Mac.

Is cost a factor? A Windows desktop computer is much, much cheaper than a Mac of equivalent strength.


Jorge Payan
 

LEXpert  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:54
Member (2008)
Croatian to English
+ ...
@ Samuel What about Bootcamp? Oct 10

Samuel Murray wrote:

2. The only way to run Trados, MemoQ etc. on a Mac is if you use a virtual machine that runs Windows.

You can install Window directly onto a drive partition using Bootcamp and it will give you the option to boot to Windows or MacOS. Obviously you can't switch between the two without rebooting again, but it will avoid problems associated with using a VM.


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:54
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Is now the right time? Oct 10

Normally I would advise you to stick with what you know, because changing from one platform to another comes with a real cost in time. Still, some of the major tools (SDL Trados Studio, MemoQ etc.) work only on Windows. Yes, you can work round this by running an emulator on the Mac, but that adds complexity.

However, if you have no specific plans to buy (say) Studio in the short term, why not continue to use your Mac with one of the cross-platform or Mac-specific CAT tools? No need
... See more
Normally I would advise you to stick with what you know, because changing from one platform to another comes with a real cost in time. Still, some of the major tools (SDL Trados Studio, MemoQ etc.) work only on Windows. Yes, you can work round this by running an emulator on the Mac, but that adds complexity.

However, if you have no specific plans to buy (say) Studio in the short term, why not continue to use your Mac with one of the cross-platform or Mac-specific CAT tools? No need to cross that bridge, and spend that money, until you come to it.

If you decide to go ahead, I would certainly advise you to buy a laptop over a desktop. I use a laptop (Surface Pro from early 2017, with 16Gb memory, an SSD, and an i7 6650U CPU) connected to a large external monitor and keyboard. It works very well, is plenty fast enough, and gives me the option of portability.

Regards,
Dan
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Silke Walter  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:54
Member (2014)
English to German
Yes and No. Oct 10

1. When I started with translating I stayed with Mac for obvious reasons.
2. My first CAT tool was OmegaT, which is free and runs natively on Mac, like other tools, e.g. the mentioned CafeTran (and the full version comes free with the ProZ.com Plus membership which could be a good solution in the beginning also for other reasons). I bought e.g. SDL Trados Studio later when potentials asked me to do so.
3. Bootcamp: You have to decide if you want to work with Mac or Windows. Bad idea,
... See more
1. When I started with translating I stayed with Mac for obvious reasons.
2. My first CAT tool was OmegaT, which is free and runs natively on Mac, like other tools, e.g. the mentioned CafeTran (and the full version comes free with the ProZ.com Plus membership which could be a good solution in the beginning also for other reasons). I bought e.g. SDL Trados Studio later when potentials asked me to do so.
3. Bootcamp: You have to decide if you want to work with Mac or Windows. Bad idea, if you use Mail, Facetime, etc.
4. If you decide to go for a Windows computer (which is an excellent idea regarding the fact that most translators work with one and the industry offers therefore usually solutions for Windows and clients most often use Windows software) I would recommend to invest in a 4K (better 5K) display since you are used to the Retina display. This solution is still much cheaper than a comparable Mac.
5. I am using a virtual machine (Parallels) and I am quite happy with this solution. I can use Windows programs but also Mac programs at the same time. And I hardly had issues, at least not more than with a common Windows computer and the Parallels support was great (no, they don’t pay me anything).
6. 2 x 8GB might be sufficient for a Mac-only solution and – at the moment –also with a virtual machine, but e.g. Parallels needs 8GB alone to work well with e.g. Trados Studio or Word. I think two or three years ago it needed 4GB only, so it depends on how long you think you are going to work with this computer. And below i7 is definitely not to recommend.
7. Like Tony I would definitely not recommend the Mac versions of Word etc. Either via virtual machine or on a Windows computer. Due to recurring offers an even cheaper solution.
8. There are keyboards for Mac having a numpad.
9. Although I started with a MacBook Pro (still use one), I now prefer the 27“ 5K iMac for translating etc. where several windows can be opened „side by side“ simultaneously. A real time saver and very convenient. (I use HazeOver [€2,29] not to be distracted by all those windows.)

But I agree with Dan: if you are starting in this business it might make sense to choose the most inexpensive solution. Another 8GB RAM (ca. €160), a free CAT tool for Mac, Microsoft Office for Windows (!) via BootCamp. A bit more expensive but really reasonable: Microsoft Office for Windows via a virtual machine (ca. €70 or €80). And probably ProZ.com Plus membership for the full version CafeTran and other reasons (and no, they also don’t pay me anything).

HTH
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Edvaldo da Silva
Italy
Local time: 17:54
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Have both: working with two screens can be very productive. Just remember Windows is more unstable! Oct 10

Something people here haven't mentioned, but I think you should consider: Mac tends to be more solid and reliable. At least in my experience... I used Windows all my life. So make sure you buy a quality computer with Windows because things do tend to slow down, freeze and crash more often, especially if you buy one with low specs. I bought Windows Surface 3 by Microsoft right after it was launched, it couldn't handle simple things, multiple tasks... A number of times I was in the middle of a cla... See more
Something people here haven't mentioned, but I think you should consider: Mac tends to be more solid and reliable. At least in my experience... I used Windows all my life. So make sure you buy a quality computer with Windows because things do tend to slow down, freeze and crash more often, especially if you buy one with low specs. I bought Windows Surface 3 by Microsoft right after it was launched, it couldn't handle simple things, multiple tasks... A number of times I was in the middle of a class, showing my students some presentation, and it would frequently slow down and crash... the typecover and pen wouldn't always work... such an embarrassment. I couldn't cope with that and tried a Macbook Air... yes, some programs have frozen a few times... but I find it way more reliable compared to all my Windows experiences.

I was about to sell my Surface, but luckily I didn't. I find it very convenient and more productive to work with two computers, Windows and Macbook, side by side. I have some important dictionaries that only work on Windows, and it's also very practical to open documents on a second screen (instead of splitting the same screen) when I have to compare, check, review, etc., while working with lots of other tools. For those who can, I really recommend working with two screens. Besides, it's always convenient to have a second smaller computer, so when you travel you can still work. That's one of the best things about translation: you can work from anywhere.

[Edited at 2019-10-10 22:26 GMT]

[Edited at 2019-10-11 00:26 GMT]
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Rolf Keller
Germany
Local time: 17:54
English to German
Office pc plus travel pc Oct 11

Edvaldo da Silva wrote:

I have some important dictionaries that only work on Windows

OTOH: Are there any important dictionaries that only work on Mac? And what about special tools?

Besides, it's always convenient to have a second smaller computer, so when you travel you can still work.

Agreed. That's why I have a powerful main pc in the office plus a lightweight netbook with a full HD (1980x1080) resolution. On this netbook there is only plain Windows but no applications. Windows allows me to use the netbook's screen, touchpad & keyboard as if I were sitting in front of the powerfull office pc. One can buy certain commercial turnkey solutions for this, but actually Windows 10 provides all you need out of the box, so you don't have to rely on - possibly unsecure - third-party services. Of course you need an everywhere-available & secure remote connection - I never use free Wifi but a mobile phone net. Within the EU this is no problem, anyway.


 

Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
Specs? Oct 11

What are the specs of your Mac? RAM? SSD?

I use CafeTran and Office 365 on iMac: just perfect.

Expensive, but good quality. Silent.


 

Peter Motte  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:54
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Changing is dangerous Oct 18

Read my thread on Windows 10.
I had a bit of a difficult installation: I had to use 3 computers: W Me, W XP and W 7.
When the new Ryzen came on the market, I decided to have a pc with a Ryzen 7 3700X with 1 TB ssd in RAID-1 (so: 2 M.2 ssd's of each 1 TB), 16 GB ram and some other impressive goodies, only to notice that W10 gives me lots of trouble installing my dictionnaries. And without dictionnaries, you can't translate, can you? Moreover: Van Dale Lexicografie doesn't make diction
... See more
Read my thread on Windows 10.
I had a bit of a difficult installation: I had to use 3 computers: W Me, W XP and W 7.
When the new Ryzen came on the market, I decided to have a pc with a Ryzen 7 3700X with 1 TB ssd in RAID-1 (so: 2 M.2 ssd's of each 1 TB), 16 GB ram and some other impressive goodies, only to notice that W10 gives me lots of trouble installing my dictionnaries. And without dictionnaries, you can't translate, can you? Moreover: Van Dale Lexicografie doesn't make dictionnaires on cd or dvd anymore, and their online dic's are far too expensive.
If I would have known that earlier, I would have stick with my old installation.
It's just not worth the trouble.
I didn't gain anything in productivity.
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Hans Lenting  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Member (2006)
German to Dutch
Contact them Oct 19

Van Dale Lexicografie doesn't make dictionnaires on cd or dvd anymore, and their online dic's are far too expensive.
If I would have known that earlier, I would have stick with my old installation.
It's just not worth the trouble.
I didn't gain anything in productivity.


Peter, you should contact them to check whether you are entitled to 2 years of free use of the online versions.


 

Peter Motte  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 17:54
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
But what after those 2 years? Oct 21

Hans Lenting wrote:

Van Dale Lexicografie doesn't make dictionnaires on cd or dvd anymore, and their online dic's are far too expensive.
If I would have known that earlier, I would have stick with my old installation.
It's just not worth the trouble.
I didn't gain anything in productivity.


Peter, you should contact them to check whether you are entitled to 2 years of free use of the online versions.


And what happens if those 2 years are passed?
I don't care for 2 years candy.

Then they can still rip you off iwith their 75 euro's/year online dic's.

[Edited at 2019-10-21 14:15 GMT]


 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:54
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
75 euros a year is too much?! Oct 21

Peter Motte wrote:
Then they can still rip you off iwith their 75 euro's/year online dic's.

On the one hand you say you can't translate without dictionaries.
On the other hand you call 75 euros a year a rip-off.

If you don't want invest in your tools, how serious are you about translation?

If you simply can't afford to invest in your tools, should you even be in this profession? I would think most successful translators could make 75 euros in a couple of hours. According to your profile you've survived in this business 20 years, which I would call a success. If that's the case, you can certainly afford it.

If you need the dictionaries, just subscribe to them. Really.

Regards,
Dan


 

Jean Dimitriadis  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 17:54
Member
English to French
+ ...
Downgrade Oct 21

You can downgrade your installation to macOS Mojave.

 


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