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Which printer would you recommend (just starting out)?
Thread poster: Caroline Lakey

Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
French to English
Jun 12, 2008

I'm just starting out as a translator, and I'm looking at which printer to buy.

Having had loads of problems with various different printers at home, I'm quite wary!

Is there any make/model which you would recommend as being reliable, or conversely which you would avoid?

Many thanks in advance,



Margreet Logmans (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
English to Dutch
+ ...
HP Laser Jun 12, 2008

Hi Caroline,

I have worked with Hewlett Packard printers for more than ten years now, and I'm a very satisfied customer!
I currently have the LaserJet 2015d for my office, and the LaserJet 1022 for personal use. Both are very good, both are monochrome (black/white).

Laser printers are not as expensive as they used to be. Catridges are not cheap, but the cost per page is not bad. Quality is very good, and nothing is lost if you spill coffee over your printed pages!
So I'd definitely recommend getting a laser printer.

If you're going to be printing a lot of invoices, business letters etc., it may be worth while to buy a color laser printer. But I send mine electronically, mostly, so it is not worth it for me.

If you buy a new printer, make sure it is Vista-compatible, but also compatible with other Windows editions.

Good luck! It is a very nice profession to be working in.icon_smile.gif



Catherine Reay  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Member (2004)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Agree with HP Jun 12, 2008

Hi Caroline,

I second the recommendation for HP printers. I have HP deskjet 5150 and am happy with it.

My first printer was an Olivetti - never again! It went through ink like there was no tomorrow.

Good luck.


Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
I'm for Lexmark Jun 12, 2008

Even though my initals are "HP".
I have had 4 Lexmark inkjet printers in the last 10 years. Make sure you bue high-yield cartridges. You can further economise by not replacing the colour cartridge when the first runs empty. Why should I print in colors? For fotos you anyway need a special printer and paper.

[Bearbeitet am 2008-06-12 10:53]


Kristina Kolic  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Member (2007)
English to Croatian
+ ...
First define your needs Jun 12, 2008

Before buying a printer, you should first define your specific needs:

- What are you going to print (monochrome and/or color);
- How many pages do you expect to print per month (printer capacity and speed). If you have to produce certified translations, I would recommend higher speed and duty cycle;
- what kind of materials do you expect to print (documents containing lots of graphics require more printer memory).

I would definitely opt for a laser printer, and in particular for Hewlett Packard. I have been using HP printers for 15 years now, without any problems. I am currently using HP LaserJet 3005d printer (printing up to 35 pages per minute), which has a duplex (double-side) printing option that I find very useful. It also has a standard paper tray of a capacity of 500 pages, which is also very useful if you print a lot.

As regards color materials, since I do not need a color printer on a daily basis (I mainly use my black & white printer for translations), I opted for an Epson Stylus Photo printer, which can also be used to print photographs, print on CD/DVDs,... and has a good resolution.

Anyway, the prices of printers have significantly decreased in the last few years and are now very affordable. Just do not opt for cheap printers, which often use very expensive cartridgesicon_wink.gif


Eleni Makantani
Local time: 17:05
English to Greek
+ ...
HP again Jun 12, 2008

After a nasty experience with ink-devouring Epson printers, I have been using HP inkjet printers for several years now. I am now using HP Photosmart 5180 multifunction and I'm very satisfied. It's very fast, I'm pretty satisfied with the cost per page ratio (especially the draft option, which is just as good as the normal mode). The whole thing becomes even more economical, as I use cartridge refills. I am also particularly happy, because it combines printer/scanner/copier, which is very practical for a home office.

Of course, there is the choice of simpler, printer-only machines, for which I consider HP to be a great solution, or even more compact machines, which combine printer/scanner/copier/fax. Your choice should depend entirely on your needs and on the space you have in your office. You should also do a research concerning the cartridge price and the availability of refills, which are real money savers!


Pavel Blann  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 16:05
Member (2005)
English to Czech
hewlett-packard color laserjet 2605 Jun 12, 2008

it's an entry-level (i.e. inexpensive) color laser printer, which I'm using for more than two years now. I've never had any problems with it: no paper jam, no driver issue (I've got windows xp), no strange output, etc.

looks professional in black & white (using a black cartridge k) as well as in color (using three cartridges cmy)--for photos, too! duplex printing is easy even if you don't have a duplex unit. the driver tells you what to do. the only thing I'm missing is a backlighting of its lcd panel but it was needed just a couple of times. the main status--printing and error ("out of paper", so far the only oneicon_smile.gif--is indicated by two leds.

re: multifunction devices, I don't think they perform as good as the specialized ones. e.g. photos scanned using my old hp scanjet 4400c look much better than using any do-it-all machine. re: fax, I sent/received just one over the last two years (using my pc). re: copy, I scan and print.


Oliver Dirs  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:05
Swedish to English
+ ...
Uncertain about amount of printing Jun 12, 2008

Hi Caroline. I'm in the same position as you, and have been looking into the matter (while I should be working...). I want to keep the purchase cost down, but don't want to end up spending loads on toner etc.

The other thing is I don't know how much printing I'm actually going to do. In my previous in-house jobs I've liked to give things a final proof on paper, but now I'm thinking of the environmetal implications; the cost; the tools available nowadays (big widescreen monitors, text to speech readback, on-screen rulers for proofing); and that deadlines often don't allow time for proofing on paper. Also given the heated debate I read on Proz following a recent poll I'd consider printing less.

So in view of the uncertainty I'm planning to start off with a cheap and basic b/w laser printer: Brother Laser HL-2030 (I think it goes for about £60). It doesn't do automatic double-sided printing (I think that starts at about £150) but it can print 2 pages onto one page, and apparently the toner and drum are sold separately, which makes things cheaper. The reviews I've read have also been good.

I was originally planning to go for an all-in-one scanner & printer, but have decided to go for a separate scanner (possibly Canon CanoScan Lide 25, which I think comes with reasonable OCR software).

I'd be interested to hear about any other good b/w laser options.


Annelise Meyer  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
English to French
+ ...
Avoid Epson Jun 12, 2008

Eleni Makantani wrote:

After a nasty experience with ink-devouring Epson printers


this quote sums up my experience, so I'd also say: whatever your printing needs... avoid Epson inkjet printers at all costs!icon_smile.gif




Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Avoid inkejt at all cost! Jun 12, 2008

They are expensive, because if you print much, you'll end up with buying expensive cartridges all the time. If you don't prink much, you end buying a new cartridge every time you try to get the printer running again after a longer time, as the printing head has been clumped with dried ink.
And buying compatible cartridges is not a real option. First you lose manufacturer warranty and second the quality of replacements is not always good enough.

I'm using a Xerox Phaser 8550 DP. It works with solid ink and once I bought compatible ink. Never ever again. The printing quality of this very good printer has dropped to unacceptable...
However, I would not recommend this printer just for printing some orders, invoices and job drafts. For this purpose it is to expensive.

I would also say avoid any Samsung laser. We have a laser fax from Samsung here. It is unusable, as its paper handling is very bad. I've also read numerous tests about Samsung printers, where the paper handling has been critisized. My favourite would be a Lexmark laser printer. You can get them quite cheap and the page costs belong to lower on the market. If you want really low page cost, go for a Kyocera.



James (Jim) Davis  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:05
Italian to English
A printer??? !!! Jun 12, 2008

I have delivered all my translations by email for years now. The last time I delivered a translation on paper must be well over ten years ago. I also deliver almost all my invoices by email (every now and then somebody wants it sent by ordinary mail - the rest of my customers printout the excel file they sent). All I need a printer for is to print the invoices and my accounts at the end of the year because the law in Italy still says that I must have my accounts on paper. In the past the ink was always drying up because I only used the printer once a year, so I took a CD round to a photo print shop and got it to printout my invoices.
Now I use a Canon Pixma MP250 Photo Lab Quality printer which my wife bought me for Christmas to print out holiday snaps. It is really good. Aren't wives wonderfulicon_smile.gif.


Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Swedish to English
+ ...
Brother DCP-115C Jun 12, 2008

I'm really pleased with mine - it's a printer/copier/scanner. Easy to use, works well and doesn't eat too much ink. I don't feel as if I use a printer enough to justify anything much more expensive.



Riens Middelhof  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
Spanish to Dutch
+ ...
Buy a printer but care for the cartridges Jun 12, 2008

Cartridges for inkjet printers are more expensive than laser if you print out a lot, although you can save tons using aftermarket (non-printer brand) cartridges. I´ve used them in my Canon i550 photo printer for around 6 years now, and the quality is the same as with "official" ink. Check the prices of the different brands of cartridges (brand and non-brand) before you buy. If you buy an Epson you´ll feel it in your pocket!


Simon Mountifield  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
French to English
Make it a laser Jun 12, 2008


There have already been plenty of good comments and advice. Here's my input for what it's worth.

When I decided to go freelance (2002), I bought a HP5550 inkjet, a real workhorse. The poor thing died on me late last year, so I decided to go for a colour laser printer, and I've never looked back. I went for a Dell 3310cn to which I added a few extras, such as a multiplexer unit (you can configure directly on Dell's site). One of the reasons for choosing a laser printer was the overall print cost - I've printed quite a lot since I bought it, and six months down the line, I still haven't had to change the toner, which wouldn't have been the case with an inkjet. So despite a high initial outlay, laser printers are actually quite cost-effective.

Another reason is that I got fed up with shelling out for an accountant and I now do my own accounts, for which I need to be able to print off my income tax returns (such as the dreaded 2035) and other documents (since you live in France as well, you'll know what I mean). According to Ciel (this is open to debate), the tax authorities insist that such returns and forms be printed using a laser printer with PCL 5/6 support. Anyway, if you buy a printer for work, you'll be able to claim it as a business expense. In my case, as the cost was over 500 euros, I chose to declare the printer as an asset and depreciate the purchase cost over 3 years.




Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:05
French to English
Thanks! Jun 12, 2008

Hello everyone, and thanks so much for taking the time to give me your views.

You've certainly given me lots to think about - I was interested to know about the French tax office requiring laser printing for forms for example, I wasn't aware of that so thanks Simon.

The idea of never printing anything is lovely, and obviously better for the environment, but I really don't think I can manage it yet. I envy you Jim!

Putting everyone's views together, it sounds like a HP laser printer would be ideal, but that depends whether I feel I can justify the expense. Business head on and lots of calculating this evening I think! (Sad as I am, I actually quite enjoy that kind of thing.)

Anyway thanks again, it's been great to have such a complete and rapid response to my first post.

Kind regards,


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