Poll: Which of the following computer know-how is essential for a freelancer?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 22:17
Aug 13, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Which of the following computer know-how is essential for a freelancer?".

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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:17
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
Both, of course! Aug 13, 2007

Unless you work the old-fashioned way, with a typewriter... you need to know both hardware and software.
Of course, software is the #1 choice. But then you must know the basics of hardware as well. Be able to fix a lot of silly things (wrong connections, recognize a CD reader that doesn't work, ADSL failing, etc.) in order not to get totally mad when "it all seems a question of this new software".

AND: always have somebody able to help, not too far away!
Especially if you work all on your own on weekends, etc. Don't forget that, usually, the best clients are those who always hire you on Friday morning to deliver a very important document on Monday early in the morning. What if your IT thing fails...? Unthinkable situation!

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Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:17
Member (2006)
Portuguese to English
+ ...
both Aug 13, 2007

I build my own machines from parts, load them with Linux and configure my software, plus, of course, I have to know how to manipulate a broad range of file formats, since work come as .doc, .xls, .ppt, .html, .pdf, faxes, and hard copies, and I have to return, .doc, .xls, hard copies, .ppt, etc.
I have to be able to format complex documents, manipulate html, create and maintain my website, navigate internet marketing, communicate by phone, e-mail, instant messenger, VoIP, etc.

Being tech savy gets me work, saves me money (espcially since I use Linux), and gives me an edge over those who don´t have these skills.

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Fernando D. Walker  Identity Verified

Local time: 02:17
English to Spanish
+ ...
Both, but... Aug 13, 2007

I think that both knowledge are important, but I think software is more important because in the case of CAT tools, for example, the more you know about them, the greater are the possibilities of offering more services or being assigned a job. In the case of hardware knowledge, I learned about it because of the problems I had with my computer.
Have a nice day!

[Editado a las 2007-08-13 16:40]

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Luciana E. Lovatto  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:17
English to Spanish
Both… Aug 13, 2007

I think both aspects are relevant. You have to know how to operate your machine, how to work with the software and how things work inside. Personally, I used to hate hardware because I got nervous very fast when things didn`t work, simply because I didn’t like that part. However, I realized that I had to manage the situation in other way, so I learned to love my machine. Now I am able to understand when it has some problem or I don’t desperate any longer, I try to find out what’s wrong, instead!

[Edited at 2007-08-13 18:29]

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Local time: 18:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Depends on help available Aug 13, 2007

I put software because it is possible (though not ideal) to get by with assistance from someone else on the hardware side (whether paid or unpaid), since issues are not occurring constantly with it.

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
English to Polish
+ ...
Both, but with emphasis on software Aug 14, 2007

I have recently managed to replace the power supply in my desktop. I am proud of myself, although I was working with a beating heart, unsure if I wasn't going to smoke my machine.

I think a freelancer needs to know his way around the insides of a computer, because help may not always be available.

Software - that's obvious. We would avoid questions like "How do I turn a PDF file into Word?" - This must be the "I love you" of software support questions.

Pawel Skalinski

[Edited at 2007-08-14 07:46]

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Marie Melinon  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:17
English to French
+ ...
Both Aug 14, 2007

I selected both because when it's not Trados who crashes or doesn't want to do what it is intended to do, it's always the hardware's turn (which just wants to worsen the situation!).

I am not like an engineer for hardware, but I undestand quite a few more things than other friends of mine. However, when it's about WLAN or other networking problems, I give up instantly! It is such a mess, isn't it?

But, I would say that I am very lucky... because my boyfriend is a webdesigner and he knows many things about IT/hardware/software. So, I am always seeking help to him.

Sunday, the WLAN decided to crash for both of our laptops. He managed to get Internet back on his, but not on mine. Then I had to wait one more day for him to get things right. Strangely my computer didn't want to be fixed, whereas I needed it to send back a one-month long project!

I am very happy to be able to get his help because getting someone else's help (paid or not) would be too much time-consuming!

So maybe the best solution is to get a boy/girlfriend who likes IT and has problem-solving skills.

Best regards to all of you.

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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:17
German to English
Both Aug 14, 2007

Although it's nice to be able to solve most of your technical difficulties (software + hardware) yourself, it's just as important to understand the nature of the problem so you can know where to look for help. Identifying then articulating a problem are important steps in finding a solution.

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United Kingdom
Local time: 06:17
English to Norwegian
+ ...
Definately both Aug 14, 2007

What use is your software if the hardware crashes on you?

It's important to learn enough to deal with the most common hardware issues.

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Mohsin Alabdali  Identity Verified
Saudi Arabia
Local time: 08:17
English to Arabic
+ ...
Neither Aug 19, 2007

Perhaps I'm a bit anti deluvian. I started translation work over 40 years ago. Desk top computers at that time were non-existant and yet translators around the globe turnd in quality translations.

To my mind, computers are nice to have but are not absolutly essential. I can get along without them. My knowledge is in my head and not machine-dependent. To me, therefore, neither software nor hardware knowledge is essential. A computer breakdown (whether software or hardware related) willl slow me down and even irritate me a bit but definitly will not stop my translation work. Even if my dusty typwriter refuses to work, I can still use paper and pencil. The translator's job is not tool dpendent at all.

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Poll: Which of the following computer know-how is essential for a freelancer?

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