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Poll: Are you willing to install specific software to work on a project if requested by your client?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 19:20
May 27, 2015

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Are you willing to install specific software to work on a project if requested by your client?".

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
No May 27, 2015

Using new software always makes me unhappy, even new versions of Word


Angus Stewart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 03:20
Member (2011)
French to English
+ ...
Yes May 27, 2015

Yes, provided there is no cost to me and the client provides clear instructions on how to use it.


EvaVer  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Member (2012)
Czech to English
+ ...
No! May 27, 2015

And I refuse to use online systems. Recently, a client persuaded me to try it against my best conviction, and it was a catastrophe. But I am close to retirement, I might see things otherwise if I had 30 years of practice ahead of me.


Łukasz Gos-Furmankiewicz  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
English to Polish
+ ...
Not really May 27, 2015

If there were any real purpose or reason, I might. However, when their custom CAT or online system exists only to differentiate or aggrandize themselves, I won't look favourably on yet another crippled CAT clone.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends May 27, 2015

Not really. Not if I can help it. I would need to look at the pros and cons of each individual case.

For example, in order to save on the licensing fees charged by Microsoft, one of my regular customers decided to start using Open Office for all official documentation. I explained to them that if I had to use this system, it would effect my delivery times and efficiency, as all my software tools are based on Microsoft office as the industry standard, and some of them would not work with OO. On that occasion, it was no big deal, as they simply convert the files to MS format and convert them back to OpenOffice after I have delivered the translations. However, I can see it being more of a problem with other types of software. In general, it has been my experience that when I step out of my comfort zone, it usually means wasting time and other hassles.


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
Member (2007)
+ ...
It depends May 27, 2015

Like so many similar questions, a simple yes/no answer can't be the most sensible. Surely the one definite answer to this question is "(only) If there's a good business case".

If you're nearing retirement age and/or IT-phobic, then it will often be difficult to see how accepting will benefit the business. OTOH, a new translator should be trying to grow their business and avoiding saying "no" when other terms are good. Even if it costs a bit (purchase costs and/or the cost in time taken learning to use it), that could be seen as a worthwhile investment.

Even though I'm both old and an IT dunce, I still didn't answer "no". I'm not totally unable to learn new tricks to please my best clientsicon_smile.gif.


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Personally, no May 27, 2015

I fall in the IT-dunce-close-to-retirement category. In all modesty, am quite good at using Trados Studio, which is compatible with most CAT tools and works with a lot of different file formats. I translate with and without the CAT, and do without it if the source is not CAT-compatible.

If a client cannot send me text in a format I can work with on my current setup, then they are probably better off finding another translator.

In future, the scenario might be that specialising in specific software becomes a selling point - and clients look for translators who specialise in the software they want to use.

Either do DTP and do it well or refuse to touch it - it is not for amateurs, and PDFs are a pain! Likewise different CATs and handling HTML or whatever.

It will simply not be possible for every one-person company to have everything and know how to use it efficiently.
It is not viable for translators to keep installing new systems for individual jobs. Clients are fickle - be careful about those promises of 'lots more work in future'. Even if they mean it and send follow-up jobs, they suddenly change plans and disappear sooner or later. The time and energy spent on new software has to be included in rates somewhere.

I have tried several new systems, online CATs and voice-recording software and always regretted it. I prefer not to play with Power-Point, but can tidy up a slideshow if I have to (and am paid for it).

The resulting quality is not good enough in many cases, unless you invest in professional full-scale software, and spend time learning to use it. That is my experience... Good luck to future generations!

[Edited at 2015-05-27 13:53 GMT]


Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Member (2006)
German to English
Yes May 27, 2015

Why not, I may benefit from it in the future. But it does depend on if I do actually have a little time to "get into it".


Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 22:20
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Happy to see I'm not alone in this matter. May 27, 2015

If I have to learn a new program or become accustomed to a new online system for every project or client I take on, I will spend all of my time learning new tools, and little time getting work done.
It's getting ridiculous, now, every agency with their own online system, etc.
I'm extremely efficient with the tools I have chosen to use, and, in fact, have been using for an entire decade. The tools I use respect and follow international standards in regards to the use and management of a broad spectrum of file formats and are universally compatible with other tools that respect and follow such standards.
I like to draw a comparison in this case, because, in some respects, my reasoning here may differ from others on this forum:
Working my way through college, I used to paint houses.
I had my own brushes, and they were of excellent quality.
I had brushes that could put any kind of covering on any kind of surface (stains on bare wood, primers, oil and/or acrylic paints, etc. on a wide range of surfaces (sheetrock, wood siding, metal, etc.
Had I encountered a home owner that insisted I use a different brush,
I would most likely have regarded their request as completely irrational.
In some cases, I may have agreed, provided they agreed to pay the expense for their preferred brush.
In general, however, the brushes I had were perfectly capable of putting paint on a house.
So long as I could appropriately put the paint on the house, I believe what tool/brush I used was completely a matter of my own choice and comfort. Similarly, demanding that your mechanic use a specific brand of wrench to fix your car would be ridiculous, as would demanding a carpenter use a specific brand of hammer, or a gardener use a specific hoe, etc.

I have software tools to create translations.

So long as I can provide the translation (put the paint on the house), I don't think it's any business of the client what tool I use.
I insist on this freedom to choose my own tools, to control what is in my toolbox, for various reasons.
I built my computer from parts. I can open the case and change those parts. I know what's going on inside the case and am in full control of the technology I use. I bought it, built it, and own it outright.
I also write software, and I want to know, and believe I have the right to know, what any particular software on my hardware does, and how it does it. For this reason, I use only Free/Open Source Software.
I don't trust any corporate entity whose sole motivation is to make a profit at my expense, to act in my best interest. I believe it is my right to choose whom I trust.
I trust myself, and other free/open source software developers, who cooperate and share code in a transparent manner, working together for our mutual interest, not to wring profits from users.
Closed-source, proprietary software is, in my estimation, (another comparison) like a car with the hood locked shut so I can't see what's going on under there, and have to pay the dealer to diagnose and repair any issues.
Vendor lock-in, invasion of privacy, and other such practices of the proprietary software industry are, in my opinion, manipulative, abusive, untoward business practices.
No. I do not wear a tinfoil hat, but I also don't have cameras or microphones installed on any of my computers, either. The software, operating systems, and hardware that I use are all fully under my control, and they are more stable, secure, and efficient than proprietary alternatives.
Using the tools I choose, I can with confidence declare to a client that I can protect their confidential documents, and I believe that is important. Furthermore, I do not use "cloud" services of questionable security or privacy. I keep the client's documents on my hardware.
My tools also cost me nothing (can't beat the price!), and, thus, keep my overhead low.
No, I do not believe that software developers should work for free. I have contributed to free/open source software that I use to make a living, with my time, my coding skills, my language skills, and, at times, with financial support. Other developers who work on these projects use them to make their living (my CAT tool was created and is developed by other freelance translators who are also developers, for example). There are means for being transparent, and providing a useful product while making a profit. Car manufacturers publish manuals for their cars, and leave the hoods open so that a buyer can access the motor to their car, study how it works, modify it, etc., at their discretion (even if it invalidates a warranty), etc. You buy it, you own it, you can do what you wish with it (besides running over pedestrians, speeding, etc.).

I could go on almost indefinitely on the advantages of using the tools I choose to use, and the importance of my freedom to choose them.

[Edited at 2015-05-27 11:14 GMT]


Gabor Nemet  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:20
Member (2012)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Yes May 27, 2015

I would if the client gives clear instructions and is easy to work with.


Daniela Slankamenac  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Member (2011)
English to Serbian
Yes May 27, 2015

Yes. I've had some very good and lucrative projects working on clients' online platforms. These platforms are more or less similar and it doesn't take much time to understand them, especially if the instructions are clear and you have enough time.
However, I've never installed any software given by the client on my computer, nor I was offered to do this.


Hege Jakobsen Lepri  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:20
Member (2002)
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Only if the project is 50.000 words+ May 27, 2015

But it's been years since last time, since I generally work with regular clients where I already have agreed on which Software to use.

But switching software slows you down. Every time I abandon MemoQ for Trados for a project, it takes me almost a day to stop using Ctrl-K and Ctrl-Shift-S, and I keep looking for functions not present in Trados.


Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:20
Member (2008)
English to Italian
exactly May 27, 2015

Angus Stewart wrote:

Yes, provided there is no cost to me and the client provides clear instructions on how to use it.


J.E.Sunseri  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:20
Member (2009)
Russian to English
Flexibility is imperative:-) May 27, 2015

I use three software programs (Trados 2011, Wordfast, and MemoQ) and also one online systems (SmartCat). I see this field as quickly evolving, and keeping pace with the software – imperative.

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