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Poll: How do you usually learn to use new software?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 04:03
SITE STAFF
Feb 26, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How do you usually learn to use new software?".

This poll was originally submitted by Susana Magnani. View the poll results »



 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:03
Member (2006)
German to English
Self-teaching Feb 26, 2014

Learning by doing, and the occasional call at the hotline / browse through forums.

Dont normally have the time to go into detail.

But has always proven to work, although a course in the one or two CAT tools would probably help me with some of the "tricky" things


 

svenfrade  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:03
French to German
+ ...
Learning by doing Feb 26, 2014

Learning by doing works best for me. I don't have the patience to sit through taught courses or whatever, I need to be able to proceed at my own pace and consult manuals/help functions if/when I need them.

I don't bother with details I don't need since I tend to forget them if I don't ever use them again. And should I ever need them at some point I can always look them up somewhere.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 20:03
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
On-the-job training Feb 26, 2014

Like inkweaver, I prefer to look around and tinker with the software, and go through the menus to figure out how it works.

If I need to acquire new software skills to get a job done, I'll jump in at the deep end - as I did with Studio 2011 - and use it right away on a job that has a relatively long delivery date. A healthy bit of adrenalin does shorten the learning curve. icon_biggrin.gif


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:03
Spanish to English
+ ...
Ask somebody Feb 26, 2014

I'm usually too busy to spend much time on learning curves, so I usually just ask the "need to know" basics from someone who knows how it works: How do I do X? What if X happens? And can I do Y? ...
That's probably why I tend to get annoyed when I can't find out something quickly from the manufacturer's instructions, and I really appreciate the proz forums for this kind of thing.
It's also why I still haven't got round to using many features of SW that I do have, for example WF, which I've used in my own fashion for a few years now, but still can't get the glossary function (and other features) to work. I gave up on Systran too... I'd used an old version for years and it was useful, then invested in the new version and found it too clunky and fiddly compared to the older version.
Luckily enough, I have some good tech people I can consult when necessary.

PS: I can't even get NitroPro to work properly for me, so I always end up using SolidConverter, which I find more user-friendly, or in my case, idiot-proof...

[Edited at 2014-02-26 10:32 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Intuitively Feb 26, 2014

Click on open, type for a while, click on saveicon_smile.gif

 

Wouter van Kampen
Thailand
Local time: 18:03
Danish to Dutch
+ ...
I just start :) Feb 26, 2014

By clicking around and an occasional look at online resources I just learn by doing.

 

Susana Magnani  Identity Verified
Argentina
Member
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good morning from Argentina! Feb 26, 2014

Hello everybody and thanks a lot for your feedback!

I was curious about what other colleagues do regarding software. I am a self-learner also. When I use the forums (on this site or anywhere else) I tend to feel guilty for not being more methodic in learning certain tools, but I don't seem to have enough time to follow any training webinars and, honestly, the few times I did, I found myself pretty bored until the trainer addressed my specific points of interest.

Thanks again for the feedback and good day to all!

Susana


 

Steven Segaert
Estonia
Local time: 14:03
Member (2012)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Self-teaching WITHOUT the manual Feb 26, 2014

Trial and erroricon_smile.gif.

Some software works quite good like that, and that is the kind of software I like.


 

Reed James
Chile
Local time: 08:03
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Same here, with a slight variation Feb 26, 2014

Steven Segaert wrote:

Trial and erroricon_smile.gif.

Some software works quite good like that, and that is the kind of software I like.


I build up basic competence by just playing with the software. Only after extended use do I use the manual to get to the fine-tuned features. As I heard someone say once, "If you play with hardware, it breaks. If you play with software, it works."


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:03
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I get help Feb 26, 2014

I cannot do it intuitively and haven't the patience for most manuals...

If I go for trial and error, and suddenly it works, I cannot remember which keys I pressed or where I clicked, so I have to start all over again, getting more confused and frustrated all the time.

However, my husband can understand IT, and knows how to take a deep breath and guide me through. We write down the steps, compiling a personal manual. He finds it a bore, but at least he does not have to listen to me ranting and fuming, or come and help me out at midnight when I still have three hours' work to do before next morning... I let him know I appreciate it!

He does not mess with Trados, but I found an equally patient independent instructor who was very happy to give courses and a week's support afterwards - and thanks to him, I can now work my way through new functions one by one and see whether they will be useful to me.



[Edited at 2014-02-26 12:33 GMT]


 

Filipa Plant dos Santos  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:03
Member (2011)
Portuguese to English
Play with the software? Are you kidding? Feb 26, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

Like inkweaver, I prefer to look around and tinker with the software, and go through the menus to figure out how it works.

If I need to acquire new software skills to get a job done, I'll jump in at the deep end - as I did with Studio 2011 - and use it right away on a job that has a relatively long delivery date. A healthy bit of adrenalin does shorten the learning curve. icon_biggrin.gif



Just reading this makes me feel anxious!!

I need a simple manual to guide me through the steps until I know how to do it.

The online courses and manuals that you can buy for Studio (the ones they make themselves) have suited me down to the ground.

I still get the manual out each time I want to start a new termbase - who can remember all those strange and meaningless steps!

My worst fear is something going wrong with the software - no time no time no time!!! and no knowledge either!!

Oh for an IT husband!!


 

Allison Wright  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 12:03
German to English
+ ...
Combination Feb 26, 2014

Mostly, I have simply dived in and explored items on all the menus to discover how the software "thinks".

If that is not effectively, I will pay a cursory glance at the Help files.
Trados Studio 2011 has the most ghastly Help files of any software I have ever encountered in my view. I watched a few videos online for the basics, and picked up some useful tips from Emma Goldsmith's blog. Learning by doing has resulted in some pleasing revelations, too.

I am currently learning via video how to use a corpus analysis tool, AntConc. But then, both the activity and the software tool are new to me. This is quite pleasurable. I look forward to my next lesson. Having said that, I had already explored the options in the last three lessons. The video helped to clarify concepts I had not articulated yet, but understood, from my exploration.


 

Elvira Alves Barry  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Member (2007)
Portuguese to English
Take a deep breath... Feb 26, 2014

It never fails that every time I need to learn something new invariably seems to coincide with someone else's emergency. So I pretty much learn software the same way I learned to drive - a quick lesson for the basics and then get in there and do it. Eventually, after a lot of gnashing of teeth, it comes automatically.

I've been known to browse forum entries and you tube videos, Mats Linder's manual has a lot of useful information, and my clients have gotten used to my asking "You want me to do WHAT??!!"


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:03
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
A combination Feb 26, 2014

First of all I panic, then swear a lot at the computer, then decide I really need some kind of formal training or manual if my computer and I are to survive. I love translating, but tinkering around with software is not my idea of fun. Eventually I end up compiling my own user manual - every time I figure out how to do something I write it down in a notebook so that I don't forget it.

 
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