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Buying printer: laser or inkjet? Scanner, too?
Thread poster: Conroy Fritz

Conroy Fritz  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:44
Member (2004)
German to English
May 8, 2003


I\'m starting out in the translation business and need to buy a printer for my computer. I\'m trying to decide whether to get an inkjet or spend more money and get a laser. Does anyone of you who have been doing this awhile have an opinion on which type to get? Do agencies/clients expect laser quality? Do you find yourself doing a lot of printing, or can you get by using mostly electronic means? Also,do you have occasional need for a scanner?

thanks in advance.



Domenica Grangiotti  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
English to Italian
+ ...
I'm taking the same decision May 8, 2003

And I have decided I will buy a (printer+fax+scanner).

I still haven\'t decided whether laser (about 1,000 Eur investment black and white) or inkjet (about 400 Eur investment color) but I will probably choose inkjet.

Not much printing needed for customers, just for myself.

Have a nice day.


P.S. I live in Italy


Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
depends on amount to be printed May 8, 2003

I\'ve been translating for over 20 years now and have gone through a typewriter, a matrix printer, several inkjets, and finally a laser (Brother HL-1250).

I like hardcopies of whatever I\'m translating so I have a lot of printing to do. The laser is much faster than an inkjet and also much cheaper because the ink price per printed page is lower. You can buy colour lasers, but they are prohibitively expensive.

If you don\'t need to print very much and you would find colour useful, then an ink-jet is probably the better option. The print quality of a good ink-jet is almost as good as a laser nowadays.

A scanner is also very usefel, but you will need good OCR software to get the best results.



Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
fax machine in my opinion more important than printer May 8, 2003

I agree with Tayfun that a fax machine is more necessary than a printer. So, in my opinion the most cost-effective investment is an all-in-one: fax, scanner, printer and copier. Not surprising, because a fax actually is already a combination of a scanner and printer. All-in-one machines are a sound result of the optimization trend that is typical for the ICT sector. The copy feature of the aal-in-one is also very useful.

As to the brand, I\'d like to say: let the volume of the ink cartridges be an important criterium. I exchanged my next-to-last fax/scanner/copier/printer because it was in my opinion equipped with way to little cartridges. That is extremely frustrating for the fax feature. I sometimes came home and found a fax message of 20 pages in the receiving tray: some pages black, some grey and some ... blank (but I might be the only one with such experinece). So I bought a machine with bigger cartridges.

The computer shop sales(wo)man surely can advice you about new cartridges and refill possibilities. In my country I am able to buy new ones, factory-refilled ones, and refill sets for my own old cartridges (last two possibilities are cheaper and more environment-friendly).


Gayle Wallimann  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
Member (2001)
French to English
+ ...
printer scanner May 8, 2003


I always use my printer for translations. I print the source copy to have standing next to my screen and I translate on my computer. I suppose that it\'s a carry over from pre-computer times, and I like to have it to make any notes on if need be. I use an inkjet, only because it was much cheaper when I started out. I am now looking into laser, however, I think that I will keep my inkjet for color printing (I don\'t need color for my translations). The scanner is a big help too because a few clients require me to fax signed documents, however, I wouldn\'t say that it\'s indispensable to start out with. Although you may find a good deal with all three functions, scanner, printer, fax. Do have a fax, though.

I don\'t know what it would be like to have CAT tools, I tried using one once but I just don\'t like them. I\'m a bit old-fashioned, perhaps, but I prefer using my hard copy tools, along with online ressources.

Good luck getting started and welcome to the \"family\"! icon_smile.gif
Kind regards,



Harry Bornemann  Identity Verified
English to German
+ ...
Laserprinter May 8, 2003

In the long run a laser printer is much cheaper and more reliable than an ink printer.

A fax is not really necessary because you can fax with you PC plus online services (for receiving 24/7).

A scanner is useful but make sure it will work with your operating system (I\'ve got an XP scanner which does not work with my Win9icon_cool.gif.


Alan Johnson  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
German to English
Do you need colour? May 8, 2003

If you do (and sometimes it comes in useful even if you think you don\'t need a colour printer), go for the inkjet. If you\'re fairly certain you don\'t need colour, or can do without it for a while, get the laser printer. If you can afford it, get both. I need a scanner now and again, I would advise you to get one. Basically, equip your office as well as you can (i.e. as finances allow), even if you do think you don\'t need (for example) a colour printer.

[ This Message was edited by: ajohnson on 2003-05-08 09:40]


J Fox  Identity Verified
New Zealand
Local time: 00:44
German to English
+ ...
laser vs ink-jet printer May 8, 2003

If you don\'t mind printing documents in black and white rather than colour, I\'d recommend a black and white laser printer. Although the initial outlay is higher, it\'s much cheaper per page than an ink-jet. If you need small amounts of colour printing you can always get them done at a copy shop.

However an ink-jet printer tends to be much better for printing graphics. If you want to print out photos as well, an ink-jet would be a good choice.


Sylvain Leray  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
Member (2003)
German to French
All-in-one: what about breakdown? May 8, 2003


An all-in-one device is certainly great, but what happens when the printer (or fax or...) breaks down and you have to take it to repair? You don\'t have any device left for a while. A bit annoying...




Pilar T. Bayle (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
English to Spanish
+ ...
Printer+Scanner+Fax May 8, 2003


However I am planning to buy one printer+Scanner+Fax all in one,possibly HP.

Personally I do not like the 3-in-one combo for one simple reason: if any of the machines involved goes down, you loose all three while the \"ailing\" one is repaired. icon_smile.gif If it\'s beyond repairs, you loose all three to ditch them for a new combo.

As for printers, I recommend inkjet. You have both color and black for a reasonable price. icon_smile.gif Of course, I do not have a great amount to print, just bills and things like that.

If you\'re buying an inkjet you should take something into consideration: buy a printer with two cartridges, one for black ink and one for CMY ink. If you buy a printer with one cartridge only for all colors, you will tend to use the black color first (it\'s the most used) and then you will have to replace the cartridge before you have used up the CMY colors.

A good option for fax is a card you install directly in your computer. Far more basic and far cheaper. As for scanners, I have not really had the need for it.

Best regards,



Henk Peelen  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:44
Member (2002)
German to Dutch
+ ...
don't rely too much on printed copies for reference purposes; use Trados instead May 8, 2003

I recognize that people may think really different about the most comfortable and profitable way to translate, but here is my experience.

I started five years ago as a translator and used to print out the source document for reference use while translating. The CAT tool Trados does more or less the same (and much more). You always can compare source and target texts while translating or editing: just the sentence you are processing, and without need to thumb through the hard copy.

A second possibility to compare source and target text is to adapt your computer somewhat: a rather more expensive video-card allows you to use an additional monitor and so you can view the source text (you anyway should make a back up of the source text before you start translating) on one monitor and the file you are processing on the other monitor. Very useful while translating texts on schematics and so on! For translating schematics I sometimes use a monitor to translate the text and a monitor to enlarge the source text (a big schematic sometimes is stuffed to fit in a A4 PDF page) as well as a hard copy for the overview.

Anyway, in my opinion German as source language and technology as speciality cries out for the use of Trados. Yesterday I earned about EUR 1000 by \"not\" translating ( a big document with ninety percent 100 % matches (but that happens not everyday, unfortunately)).

If you have for instance a budget of about 500-2000 Euro/USD, I think you should in first instance think about buying Trados (and a Platinum membership, both stress your professionalism), and secondly think about things like a printer/fax and/or a second monitor. By the way, Trados offers you the possibility to have an own \"web page\" ( which may render in a lot of jobs (with or without Trados) since the site features a search machine for agencies looking for a freelancer.

This is just my view (I recognize that you didn\'t ask for a opinion about CAT tools), and \"early success no guarantee for the future\"! Maybe useful information, however.


Joanne Parker  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:44
Member (2002)
German to English
Running costs May 8, 2003

Whichever one you go for, don\'t forget to look into the cost of replacement cartridges. Mp printer (an inkjet) came free with my PC and was the cheapest in the range. It also happens to use the most expensive catridges around! Once I\'ve run this one into the ground, I\'ll make sure that I factor in the cost of cartridges into my decision.

Another handy money-saving hint, not directly related to your comment but related to my point above, is to print on both sides of paper (saves paper costs and the environment). Also, if you are printing out documents for your own proof-reading purposes only, you may as well print them in black and white draft mode(rather than colour high quality mode), if this is supported by your printer, as this also saves on ink.



Claudia Iglesias  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:44
Member (2002)
Spanish to French
+ ...
Printer-Scanner-Copier May 8, 2003


I see you have all the opinions already, it will more difficult to choose that selecting the best answer in KudoZ icon_wink.gif

I\'d just like to say that I\'m very happy with my PSC 500 from HP.

I like hard copies, but I had the possibility (before I changed to Windows XP)to choose the economic printing, without colors, this allows me to spend less ink. And I also could print two or more pages in one, or both sides. Since I have XP these options don\'t work any more icon_frown.gif.

I also use inks that are not from HP with no trouble.

I never give my translations on paper, even when the originals were hard copies.

I really appreciate to be able to copy from time to time, and I use this more than faxes.

I don\'t have a fax, I can receive my faxes through a service that sends them to me by e-mail, and whenever I need to send one I have to go out, but I think I had to send 2 in 6 months.

So it all depends on how you work.


Kasia Trzcińska-Draper (X)
Local time: 11:44
Polish to English
+ ...
New OS and hardware May 8, 2003


On 2003-05-08 14:01, c.iglesias wrote:

I had the possibility (before I changed to Windows XP)to choose the economic printing, without colors, this allows me to spend less ink. And I also could print two or more pages in one, or both sides. Since I have XP these options don\'t work any more icon_frown.gif.

Hi Claudia - just a thought: have you tried downloading the latest drivers? You can find them on the hp support pages - try this one:




Todd Field  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:44
Member (2003)
Portuguese to English
All three... May 8, 2003

Although most of our delivery is electronic, we do have all three in our office, and are glad we do. All have come in handy at some point.

In descending order of importance, we would suggest:




Good luck!

Todd and Monica

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