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SDL Trados licensing and why I hate it
Thread poster: Michael Roberts

Michael Roberts  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Dec 26, 2009

So I just recently laid down $795 for a license for Trados. I really only wanted Trados Freelance 2007, but I have to buy the whole nine yards. That's OK, eventually I'll use it.

Only one problem. The old dongle was understandable and effective, and I could use it to transfer to my laptop when I went traveling. I was under the impression that I could relinquish a license through the online licensing system to do the same thing with this new system, but that button is gray in the License Manager.

Since I only gave them $795, though, for SDL I don't count. They have no support at all, not even an email address, anywhere on their site. Their ridiculous hoop-jumping excuse for a support system breaks in Chrome. They have no telephone service, it would seem.

Back when TRADOS was still a separate company, I didn't like their business practices, but at least they could be reached and, on occasion, they would respond to peon freelancers. SDL doesn't care even to that extent.

So I've forked over $795 against my better judgment and now - now that I need to transfer the license to my laptop for departure *tomorrow* - I can't. I just plain can't, because to have a transferable license, I would have to be richer.

I consider this truly and egregiously bad practice on SDL's part. Since ProZ is a venue where my voice has been heard in the past, I thought I might throw this out there in some vain attempt to notify SDL that they are bad actors in their refusal even to support email support requests, or in the faint hope that I am mistaken in my inability to transfer a license.

(Help, by the way, crashes the License Manager. Amateurs.)


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Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:51
English to Dutch
+ ...
Join the club Dec 26, 2009

.. is all I can say to that. Honestly: installing an SDL product on Christmas! There should be a law against it

I'll e-mail you two addresses of SDL support people. Maybe you're lucky, but I doubt it.

Sorry about your loss (of the 800 bucks, I mean).

- Rien


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Giuliana Buscaglione  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 12:51
Member (2001)
German to Italian
+ ...
What do you do exactly and what happens? Dec 26, 2009

Hello Michael,

I can understand your frustration, I am not myself any fan of online licensing, plagued by a nice list of worrying what-ifs and annoyed by the fact that in a network different (FL) licenses can't co-exist, but that's our reality, the way it is, so I can't but go along with it, as I am a daily user.

This said, why can't you return your (2007 I presume? 2009 works the same way, so not really important) license? What do you do exactly? (Your operating system)? Any error message?

Thanks,

Giuliana

PS AFAIK for licensing problem you can have support even if you haven't any support contract - via talisma data base. There is a link in your SDL account (support) and the licensing issues are quite nicely visible and easy to spot compared with some other issues, which take ages to be found.

[Edited at 2009-12-26 07:49 GMT]


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:51
English
How to return a licence Dec 26, 2009

Michael Roberts wrote:

..... now that I need to transfer the license to my laptop for departure *tomorrow* - I can't. I just plain can't, because to have a transferable license, I would have to be richer.


Hello Michael,

Try the following.

1. Start - All Programmes - SDL International - SDL Trados 2007 - License Manager - License Manager

2. View Activated Licenses

3. Then choose your license and click on Return License

4. Then use the same license on your laptop

I hope this helps.

Paul


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:51
English to German
+ ...
SDL Trados Support - and why I am happy to pay for it Dec 26, 2009

Michael,

Since I only gave them $795, though, for SDL I don't count. They have no support at all, not even an email address, anywhere on their site.

Not true.
I have had a support agreement for several years now - a very good investment I can recommend. Of course, venting in a public forum is sooo much more fun, isn't it.

They have no telephone service, it would seem.

They do, and it works - very well, in fact.

Back when TRADOS was still a separate company, I didn't like their business practices,

Why do you buy their products, then?

but at least they could be reached and, on occasion, they would respond to peon freelancers. SDL doesn't care even to that extent.

I guess an apology to Paul is in order.

So I've forked over $795 against my better judgment and now - now that I need to transfer the license to my laptop for departure *tomorrow* - I can't. I just plain can't, because to have a transferable license, I would have to be richer.

Again, untrue. The Plus licence is more convenient because you don't have to go through the process of returning and re-downloading the licence - but if you want to save a few euros to do that, fine.

Amateurs.

Yeah, right...

Thanks to Paul for trying to help nevertheless.

Regards,
Ralf


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Wolfgang Jörissen  Identity Verified
Belize
Member
Dutch to German
+ ...
Maybe ditch Trados? Dec 26, 2009

If Trados frustrates you to such an extent, wouldn't it be a good idea to try one of the competitors? One of them still uses dongles (which I very much appreciate), others go the extra mile when it comes to support.
Without a valid SDL licence, Workbench still operates in demo mode. That is all you need to ensure compatibility.


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Maarja Ora  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 13:51
English to Estonian
+ ...
Cannot understand it either Dec 26, 2009

Hi,

However, there must be a way how you could install the license on your laptop since as far as I know you are allowed to have a licence on two computers. I had another kind of license problem with SDL last summer and I complained about it to Martin (mphillips at sdl.com) (I first wrote to their support and then got an aswer from Martin and we exchanged a lot of emails) and he helped me out.
Paul may be right. Maybe you should return the license and installa nd activate it on your laptop. However, I cannot understand why since you MAY have the same license on two computers!!!!!


[Redigeeritud 2009-12-27 13:35 GMT]


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SDL Community  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 12:51
English
License on Two Computers Dec 26, 2009

Hi,

In theory you can have the license installed on two computers as the EULA only precludes you from running them at the same time. However, it should be noted that the reason, for 2007 products anyway, this is possible is because there is some slack in the license control to allow a user who crashes and has to rebuild their computer, or has it stolen for example, the ability to license the products again despite having failed to return their license first.

So, if you take advantage of this now (which you can do) and do not return the license then please be aware that if you have a problem and only have access to one of the machines then you may not be able to reactivate the product without having to jump through a few hoops first.

Regards

Paul


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Michael Roberts  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:51
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Kudos to Paul! Dec 26, 2009

Paul, you rock! That is exactly what I did last night, except for the "View activated licenses" button. I just saw the grayed-out "Borrow or Return..." button and panicked. At any rate, my travel is saved, so thanks!

Ralf, I think you need to calm down a little; my point is that after spending that much on a piece of software, I shouldn't need to pay more just to get a question answered. If you prefer to do that, that's your decision, but SDL's invisibility is still bad business practice.

I'm particularly stunned by your belief that I should apologize to someone I didn't even know existed. This is precisely why airing issues like this in a public forum is an appropriate way to proceed.

Wolfgang - none of the competitors does what I want. I love the TRADOS product and always have - I just don't care for the business practices of the copyright holder.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 11:51
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Trados licensing and support is not always evil Dec 26, 2009

Ralf Lemster wrote:
I have had a support agreement for several years now - a very good investment I can recommend. Of course, venting in a public forum is sooo much more fun, isn't it.


Not having had such an agreement myself up to now, I can't share my own experience. However, a number of my technically competent agency clients who have been long-term Trados licensees have been far less than satisfied and are actively exploring other options. There varied experiences probably have a lot to do with the technical challenges faced and the luck of the draw regarding who at SDL is providing the support. If you get someone with brains and sense like Mike Kidd (now elsewhere) or Paul Filkin (thankfully still there), problems get solved and things get done. However, in a large company like SDL Trados, there is inevitably a certain unevenness in the quality of support if the infrastructure does not provide employees with the information necessary to deliver it. I was quite angry with SDL for about two years over an upgrade that I tried repeatedly to purchase, only to be told that I was not allowed to and must buy a new license instead. Mind you, this wasn't Support, it was Sales, and I was trying hard to give them a reasonable amount of money for a product I liked and used. As luck would have it, that particular MultiTerm Extract upgrade is available to users at no charge, but I made numerous attempts to find out about it via e-mail and online chat (available on translationzone.com) over a period of two years and came up with zero. Paul sorted it out in a day, for which I am very grateful. If everyone in that company worked like him, I would probably be singing SDL's praises daily. As you know I have only a modest amount of positive comments regarding policies and products there.

I think the idea of paying for support after a suitable breaking-in phase (6 months? a year?) is reasonable and good. I think SDL has some kind of allowance in this regard or did at one point; I'm sure Paul can correct me here and update everyone on the current state of things. Atril's upgrade and support policy for Déjà Vu (always free), though it has "saved" me some cash over the years (often a good thing) now rather disturbs me, because I suspect that it contributes to the slow pace of development and bug-fixing there. Once I've seen that a tool works for me and helps to keep my business profitable, I want it to keep working well, and I expect this to cost a little something over time. I pay to maintain my car, and I think that business-critical software is not a lot different. AFAIK Kilgray intends to charge some sort of annual support, maintenance and upgrade fee, and I find this reasonable. The rules should not be different for SDL.



>> but at least they could be reached and, on occasion,
>> they would respond to peon freelancers. SDL doesn't
>> care even to that extent.

I guess an apology to Paul is in order.


Agreed. SDL company policies and marketing practices have offended me on numerous occasions, but at least the company has had the good sense to put some competent, communicative employees out in the field to provide some assistance and polish their image. Paul has been consistently helpful to a lot of people here and elsewhere, and while I expect to disagree with him and his company on future occasions, credit should be given where due and good actions acknowledged.

SDL has taken some interesting new directions in the past year to follow the leaders in translation technology. It remains to be seen where this path will take the company and whether at some point the marketing muggles there will take higher ground than the fear-uncertainty-doubt (FUG) tactics that have been resorted to so often in the past. But moves like SDL enabling multiple freelance licenses on a LAN are very good and address the concerns of many small offices like mine. I am encouraged also by some of the exchanges I have seen between Paul of SDL and some of his competitors. Keep it up.


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 12:51
English to German
+ ...
Perfectly calm, thank you... Dec 26, 2009


Ralf, I think you need to calm down a little;

Funny enough, that's what I was going to recommend to you...

my point is that after spending that much on a piece of software, I shouldn't need to pay more just to get a question answered.

You don't.

If you prefer to do that, that's your decision, but SDL's invisibility is still bad business practice.

'Invisible' is not exactly how I would describe SDL.

I'm particularly stunned by your belief that I should apologize to someone I didn't even know existed.

Live and learn - the point I was trying to get across (unsuccessfully, I'll be happy to admit) is that generalised attacks are rarely a wise move.

This is precisely why airing issues like this in a public forum is an appropriate way to proceed.

"Airing" is fine - venting frustration is, well, something different... particularly when part of the problem is caused by one's own inability to handle a process. But I'm sure Paul didn't take it personally.

Have a nice evening,
Ralf


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Aleksandar Stanković
Macedonia (FYROM)
Local time: 12:51
English to Serbian
+ ...
Aaaaaargh Dec 26, 2009

SDL Trados just keeps on cementing its reputation as the most unintuitive, overpriced and ill-supported piece of professional software. This must be like the gazillionth thread for Trados-related issues. Issues of course being a euphemism for mind-blowing, time-consuming, work-stopping, curse-provoking, random-object-throwing disasters and subsequently derived tales of horror.

To make the irony complete, people who have forked out eight c-notes for the licensed version are experiencing even more difficulties than the ones who have taken the alternate google-trados-torrent-download-install route. Reminding myself of this rare perk of living in the wrong half of Europe always manages to restore my mental balance after the occasional TW glitch.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:51
English to Czech
+ ...
Hmmm... Dec 26, 2009

Aleksandar wrote:
This must be like the gazillionth thread for Trados-related issues.

Two-thirds of which could have been avoided by searching the manual for the appropriate answer, I should add...

[Upraveno: 2009-12-26 18:38 GMT]


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Oleksandr Kupriyanchuk  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 13:51
Russian to English
+ ...
Hmmm... Dec 26, 2009

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Aleksandar wrote:
This must be like the gazillionth thread for Trados-related issues.

Two-thirds of which could have been avoided by searching the manual for the appropriate answer, I should add...

[Upraveno: 2009-12-26 18:38 GMT]


Possibly yes (although my co-workers and I are not sure about it).

However, what is at issue is that many translators do pay dearly for the other third of those "issues"...



[Edited at 2009-12-26 19:58 GMT]


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:51
English to Czech
+ ...
Any bug-free software out there? Dec 26, 2009

Hello Alexander,
if there is any bug-free software out there, please let me know about it. BTW, this thread is was originally not about a bug; it was rather about a "greyed-out" button which would become active once you select the license you want to return.


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