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Technical problems might not be good for your health
Thread poster: Bernhard Sulzer

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
English to German
+ ...
May 1, 2014

Hi,

Looking at the topics posted in the forums today it's very obvious that technical problems with software are very popular. I can only imagine that the software being used is essential for the poster's job.
I don't think it's good for one's health to have to deal with these issues continuousy - which might not be the case and every new post is a new problem for another translator - but it seems the number of posts related is just incredible.

I'd be interested in opinions of those colleagues who experience these problems:

Do you have a lot of software problems and why?
Do you get mad/angry, does your blood pressure rise and you wish back the days where we just translated by typing the text?

It seems that lots of software doesn't seem to be user-friendly or are you too lazy to read the manual?
Have you experienced health issues (tiredness, blood pressure rising, exhaustion to the point of having to stop working, getting ill, etc.)

At last, I have a suggestion: less is more. The less software you use, the fewer problems you encounter. Maybe you can negotiate with the client to find a format/software that you use and are comfortable with or no special software at all. Less aggravation frees up time and relieves all kinds of pressures I would say.

(edited for clarity)

B

[Edited at 2014-05-01 17:38 GMT]


 

Radian Yazynin  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:04
Member (2004)
English to Russian
+ ...
What we say in Russia is May 1, 2014

"the best is the enemy of the good". And I do agree with all your observations as regards the latest posts which swarm with troubles caused by constant updates when you can't stop all that jazz. Sound conservatism should be the solutionicon_wink.gif

 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
not just software May 1, 2014

I'm a lot happier, when I can use the software of my choice and only accept assignments requiring other CAT tools from nice and forthcoming clients. I have become a lot stricter in that respect, after a complete 12k translation was corrupted during export on an unfortunately popular tool only a few hours before the deadline. I actually cried.
This is exactly, why I love - not just like - MemoQ. It just works. It does what I expect it to do. No surprises. No sudden crazy errors. No temper tantrum at every Java update (the software, NOT me, honest). This is a key factor in my approach to focus on direct customers. I can choose my tools and I don't have to re-import and fix tags after an external review because the TM needs delivering as well (I don't know how people can review in the tool, I need to see the text in its final form), which can save quite a lot of time and nerves.
However, I would not like to go back to moving through a document manually. I did that right at the start. It wasn't fun. I've had a few assignments from files that couldn't be converted or were in read-only mode and I don't mind working from a print-off once in a while. But I enjoy many of the features a good CAT tool offers.

Anyway, technical issues stretch much further and a huge chunk of my first year's earnings had to be invested in satellite broadband, UPS and back-up power, external storage, and so forth. These issues are maybe a lot more severe when you live remote and there were several nervous breakdown moments along the way, especially when providers like BT put you on hold for a record 8 hours only to tell you that they don't know when they'll get around to fixing the fault. I'm glad I have the set-up I have now, but when you first start out, those kind of investments really hurt and really shouldn't be necessary.


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Software-induced stress May 2, 2014

I have almost NO software problems, IMHO because I'm sticking to Windows XP as long as I can. Everything works smoothly.

Now and then my family members using newer versions have trouble. Today my sister-in-law brought her notebook here, with some unexplainable problems. Programs wouldn't work, strange requests for security whatevers came up onscreen at unpredictable times. Of course, Windows 7! As lack of transparency was overwhelming, I uninstalled a half a dozen things that were obviously unnecessary, installed/updated some useful programs, and got the computer working smoothly.

My stepson has an old netbook he uses when he travels. It came with Windows Vista installed, so it was a lemon. As soon as Win 7 came up, he upgraded. That computer (I used it on trips too) was as sluggish as it gets. My wife has an almost identical netbook, originally (and still) with Windows XP, and it's amazing what that small thing can do, and how quickly. So my stepson asked me to format the hard drive, and downgrade his netbook to Win XP. I did it, reinstalled all software, and that computer is also whizzing at high speed.

Word 97 was okay. However I was forced to move to 2003, which was awful. And then I was forced to move up to 2007, which is considerably worse. I've heard enough bad things about later versions, so I'll stick to 2007 for as long as I can.

As I see it, software development leads to exponentially more stressful apps. I wonder if computer users will some day file a class action against software developers for stress-induced health problems, caused by software upgrades.


 

Madeleine Chevassus  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:04
Member (2010)
English to French
twice I could not finish my translation because of the CAT tool failure May 2, 2014

Hi

I first bought in 2011 the most known Cat tool, which most clients / agencies asked for.
I bought a support contract.

Twice, during translations contracts with this Cat tool, I had blocking problems and it took more than two days to the support to find a correct turnaround.

When the translation is supposed to take 4 days alltogether, this is not acceptable. In these two cases I lost the translation contract because of the CAT tool / support and I was not paid.

As a former IT engineer, I know what a good support should be, and also that bug corrections should be retrofitted into new versions.

As a result, I bought MemoQ and I use it now for 90% of my translations and I save the support fee for the other CAT tool. It is better for my nerves.

Madeleineicon_smile.gif

[Edited at 2014-05-02 07:48 GMT]

[Edited at 2014-05-02 08:22 GMT]


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:04
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
less is more and all that May 2, 2014

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
Do you have a lot of software problems and why?


- Any time I try something new basically

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
Do you get mad/angry, does your blood pressure rise and you wish back the days where we just translated by typing the text?


- I remember once looking out of the window and wondering whether five floors was high enough (but then, being English, I made myself another cup of tea and called a friend to pick my kids up)

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
It seems that lots of software doesn't seem to be user-friendly or are you too lazy to read the manual?


- No, software is very often not user-friendly. It'll tell you the printer is not plugged in when I know it is. I get the distinct impression that software developers hate people. I overheard the manager of a company developing CAT tools saying that he hated translators.

- And no I'm not too lazy. I just know the manual will take me through all sorts of basic stuff ("to open, click on Open") without tackling the problems. I've translated enough software manuals to know that when they get to the problems, the language becomes more opaque and fudgy. My partner once solved a printer problem for our daughter and told me that "you could have done it too, you only had to read the manual, and you've translated plenty, so don't tell me you don't understand". He showed me the page in question and I said "yes, I understand enough to translate it, but not enough to apply it".
As an eager-beaver youngster I used to tackle this sort of problem, now I'm jaded and cynical and have decided that trouble-shooting is best left to trouble-shooters, while I get on with translating - preferable not a manual!

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
Have you experienced health issues (tiredness, blood pressure rising, exhaustion to the point of having to stop working, getting ill, etc.)


- I had my first migraine further to working on a file that was basically too unwieldy for my computer to handle.
- I also had to start wearing glasses round this time.
- Not realising where the floor was due to difficulty adjusting to my glasses, I fell into the neighbour's strawberry patch and sprained my wrist

I took action: I signed up for yoga classes, I had my eyes reexamined and got better glasses and I decided I wouldn't let my boss bully me any more (I was working in-house).

Bernhard Sulzer wrote:
At last, I have a suggestion: less is more. The less software you use, the fewer problems you encounter. Maybe you can negotiate with the client to find a format/software that you use and are comfortable with or no special software at all. Less aggravation frees up time and relieves all kinds of pressures I would say.


- With you all the way there!


 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 15:04
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Technical problems May 2, 2014

I haven’t had any technical problems related to software (touch wood!) for some time now and I don’t use CAT tools… The only issues I have had are very, very rare, but extremely annoying, Internet connection problems. Anyway, with time I have learned to manage my stress…

 

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro
Germany
Local time: 16:04
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
No May 2, 2014

It is relatively rare for me to have technical problems and I use all kinds of different CAT tools.

What I see is a somewhat worrying anti-technical attitude in many people - they simply prefer to keep working with the tools they are used to and feel uncomfortable if they have to learn new things. Luckily, not all humanity behaves like that, otherwise I might be busy with hunting or collecting instead of writing this post.

I can only try to imagine a world without CAT tools or technology in general. We live longer, have an easier life in general and have solved many problems thanks to technology.

Getting angry when encountering problems is not a problem only related to CAT tools - any tool that refuses to work as intended can make us angry. However, that is a very inefficient reaction and we can learn to overcome this kind of reaction - mindfulness and stress management techniques or even simple common sense can get any person to the point where he or she can simply try to find a solution for the problem, without having to envolve negative emotions or even physical reactions. I mean, it is obvious that Trados isn't going to set the object reference just because we shout at it and turn red or blue in the face...


 

Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 16:04
German to English
Look at it positively May 2, 2014

As a long-standing card-carrying member of the Trados club, I have tried other software, but have always returned to the devil I know. As a former software programmer myself, life wouldn't be the same without the odd inexplicable bug turning up every so often. For example, I'm currently translating a text in Studio where in one particular segment a certain term is not recognised by Multiterm. It only occurs once in the segment and there is no apparent reason for it. I fiddled around for a while to find out why this was, but time was passing so I moved on. No doubt I will return to it when I finish the translation.

I must admit though that, since it is beyond my control, my blood boils when someone digs up the broadband cable!

BTW, I bet José Henrique also has a DOS computer running somewhere in the corner!


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 12:04
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No, I don't! May 2, 2014

Roy OConnor wrote:

BTW, I bet José Henrique also has a DOS computer running somewhere in the corner!


However now and then, when trouble gets really deep, I use the "Run" command that still exists in Windows, type CMD, and get it all solved in no time.

Incidentally, I have a Pentium MMX with Windows 98 installed stashed away, but ready to go. The reason is that I have an abnormally fast hi-res SCSI scanner whose latest driver was devised for W98.

One day I received a 400-page book to translate, in hard copy, hard cover too. My state-of-the-art Lexmark multifunctional scanner is slower than a lame and stubborn mule. So I put together some e-junk, assembled that vintage machine, and scanned the book. The entire operation - assembling computer hardware, installing Win 98 & scanner drivers, AND scanning all the the 400 pages (two at a time - that scanner window takes legal-size paper) - took less than 3 hours. Then I saved a PDF to a CD, and did OCR on my main computer.

I have a high-speed dot-matrix printer stashed away too, in mint condition, in spite of the hard work it did in its days. If inkjet printer manufacturers eventually escalate to selling 1 milliliter non-rechargeable ink cartridges for USD 500 apiece (it's their dream!), I might recommission the DMP. Each ribbon cartridge for it costs USD 5.


 

Diana Obermeyer  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
Member (2013)
German to English
+ ...
If you put it that way... May 2, 2014

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

Luckily, not all humanity behaves like that, otherwise I might be busy with hunting or collecting instead of writing this post.


Point taken - I actually still do that, too.

And I trade my dogs' rat catching services for a couple of fresh eggs. I fully appreciate that mass production increases efficiency, but it removes much of the pleasure and it just doesn't taste the same.

Equally, I want to be able to ENJOY my work.

I don't have a problem trying new things. But if I have tried option A and option B and option A works smoothly and option B does not; option A offers me all of the useful functionality of B plus a few extra things; I had a positive experience with the support team of option A and a negative one with the team behind option B; and I am able to work faster with option A than option B, then it is a very clear cut matter:
If I'm required to work with a temperamental tool, then the effects of that volatile software behaviour - both on my time and on my nerves - need to be accounted for. The same applies to an inefficient tool.
It's stressful, it's time consuming and it's depressing.


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:04
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
hunter gatherer translator May 2, 2014

Anna Sarah Krämer Fazendeiro wrote:

What I see is a somewhat worrying anti-technical attitude in many people - they simply prefer to keep working with the tools they are used to and feel uncomfortable if they have to learn new things. Luckily, not all humanity behaves like that, otherwise I might be busy with hunting or collecting instead of writing this post.

Getting angry when encountering problems is not a problem only related to CAT tools - any tool that refuses to work as intended can make us angry. However, that is a very inefficient reaction and we can learn to overcome this kind of reaction - mindfulness and stress management techniques or even simple common sense can get any person to the point where he or she can simply try to find a solution for the problem, without having to envolve negative emotions or even physical reactions. I mean, it is obvious that Trados isn't going to set the object reference just because we shout at it and turn red or blue in the face...


Well as I said earlier, I used to tackle tech with great enthusiasm (impressing many a client when I pulled out my screwdriver, they probably thought I wouldn't know what to do with it, being young and pretty at the time).

But each new version of anything brings a fresh crop of issues so now I just cling to whatever works well - XP on my desktop (downgraded from Vista) and Windows 7 on my laptop if I remember rightly. Now that I'm starting to get the hang of the ribbon menus I'm thinking I might just upgrade the desktop, but mostly my attitude is that if it ain't broke I'm not fixin' it.

I do use CAT tools when the client requires it, however I'm a great believer in clingon, as in clinging on to my paper address book (which has never broken down or run out of battery power) and clinging on to my low-tech glossary with a column for source and another for target which I did in Word (because Excel doesn't underline any spelling mistakes).

My partner too berates me for this, he always has to have the very latest telephone etc, whereas my daughter is happy with his latest cast-off and I am also happy with the previous cast-off. For me, there are more important things in life.


 

Bernhard Sulzer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:04
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
printer madness May 2, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I have a high-speed dot-matrix printer stashed away too, in mint condition, in spite of the hard work it did in its days. If inkjet printer manufacturers eventually escalate to selling 1 milliliter non-rechargeable ink cartridges for USD 500 apiece (it's their dream!), I might recommission the DMP. Each ribbon cartridge for it costs USD 5.


I had to find out the hard way that a color printer (any here in the US I believe) using a color cartridge and a black-and-white cartridge will drain both cartridges even if you only make black-and-white print-outs - and yes the printer was set to just print in black-and-white, "draft" format.

The color cartridge is drained even faster than the black-and-white one, no matter if you print color (well, of course, you say) or black-and-white (huh?!)

My moment of Zen came when I was out of color (empty color cartridge) and I installed a black-and-white cartridge only in hopes of just needing that one to continue printing black-and white. That of course was a no-go. The printer told me in no unclear language that I had to first install a new color cartridge to continue printing.

I said to the printer: you $#@67@# piece of @W#&4227$@## .. well something like that and haven't used it since. I wasn't a happy camper and it wasn't a good thing for my blood pressure. And the feeling that you got duped for quite a while is what really gets me. I get wiser every month about the ways of the world even though I thought I knew everything when I was 25.icon_smile.gif

I get print-outs at the printing store - I hardly ever need them but will buy myself a black-and-white printer only to be able to review printed pages - sometimes that's a good thing to do as most of you will agree. But I will be asking many questions before I decide what printer to buy - and it can't be a "cartridge eater."

Why did I have a color printer in the first place? Well, I wanted my daughter to be able to print out colored stuff. Within a few months, the color quality had deteriorated - she had nothing to do with it - although we never printed much anyway and kept buying these expensive cartridges .... and to figure out how to fix the quality besides calibrating and cleaning the printer heads as instructed (which didn't improve anything) was just too much.


B

[Edited at 2014-05-02 15:04 GMT]


 

Rachel Fell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 15:04
French to English
+ ...
But... May 2, 2014

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I have almost NO software problems, IMHO because I'm sticking to Windows XP as long as I can. Everything works smoothly.


I have found that Windows 7 doesn't bite and I haven't had problems from it, and XP is no longer going to be supported by MS - I admit I am not sure of the import of this, but it doesn't sound encouragingicon_smile.gif


 

Kay Denney  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 16:04
Member (Apr 2018)
French to English
computers can definitely sense whether you like them or not May 3, 2014

I've never called MS for support so that won't frighten meicon_wink.gif

What I've noticed is that computers can definitely sense whether you like them or not. I'll be trying to do something, I'll turn the computer off and start again and it still won't work, and when I'm reduced to having to ask my techie partner to come and help - which induces high levels of stress, because said partner will refuse to get up, preferring to tell me to try this or that (already tried that), reboot (ditto), will fail to understand why I need this particular thing to work this particular way, won't listen to my explanation, then refuses to come and see because he's doing something more important/relaxing/interesting, then will start ranting that I should look after my computer better, that probably the XYZ board will need fixing, and why don't I learn to handle this stuff myself etc etc - he finally comes to have a look

and the darn thing just does what he tells it to without blinking a bally eyelid.

However this, nice computer hasn't caused too many problems, only the printer sitting next to it, which is now covered in dust as a warning to whoever might start getting ideas.


 
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