Trados annoying registration process
Thread poster: Nico Wagner
Nico Wagner  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:33
Portuguese to German
+ ...
Dec 14, 2010

Hi fellow translators,

this is not an actual support request, I just need to blow off some steam and check if it's me who is too stupid to handle Trados or if other people have/had the same problems...

I chose to buy a Trados starter license about a month ago, and so far I've definitely lost far more time trying to get licensing issues fixed and the program running than it will save me over the next couple of weeks, maybe even months.

To give you some background, I work as a Software developer for a living and consider my computer knowledge above average, and don't get stuck easily on basic windows / application installation tasks.

To begin, the registration code sent to me did not work for some reason. -> ~ 1h trying everything possible before contacting customer support.

Tried to contact customer support via the general support request form (without being logged into my Trados account)

Received response asking me to use the proper form (which is hidden behind several "have you tried this/that"-forms), which I don't consider very customer-friendly, considering the fact that my initial request had all the information that was needed to be processed by customer support. Instead, they could just have forwarded my request to the correct support area.

Sent request via the correct form, received a response within 1 day notifying me that my license was converted to registration file, which I then imported and finally got started working.


Time lost on registration so far: ~3-4h and 2*1 day waiting for support response.


Last week I decided to format my PC and install a new Windows version, whereupon Trados stopped working with the old license file. Lost some more time discovering that I need to "return" the license file and create a new one. Unfortunately I was working via remote desktop at the time, and was creating the license file on a different PC than the one running Trados. Tried different combinations of "return license file" -> "create new license file", now I'm stuck with an error message telling me that I tried too often and that I should contact customer support to verify my identity....


There is so much licensed software out there, but I honestly can't remember any application putting me through that much trouble before letting me use the software I paid for.....



Short Version of my post:

Lost a LOT of time registering my paid-for Trados version, losing patience, wondering if it's worth it....



Any feedback is welcome...


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Kevin Fulton  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:33
German to English
Genuine weakness Dec 14, 2010

Before SDL bought Trados, the product used a dongle. Dongles have a number of shortcomings: they get lost, they break or wear out. I've been using dongles with DejaVu since 1997, and apart from exchanging a parallel dongle for a USB device, I've never had an issue with the device. I can move it effortlessly among the various computers I use.

The current registration procedure is a nightmare. When installing an upgrade a while back, I managed to use up both registrations in a panic when my system crashed. Getting a new license (one registration, so I have to be very careful in the event of another crash!) took a while. The process to recover a license is quite arcane and really needs to be made easier, given the apparent lack of robustness of the product (haven't attempted to install Studio yet).

I understand that SDL needs to protect its intellectual property, but other software developers provide a simpler means of protection.

This may come as no surprise, but in all the years I've been translating, people have asked for copies of various programs, freeware and otherwise, but to date, NO ONE has asked for a copy of Trados!


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Easier options Dec 14, 2010

Kevin Fulton wrote:
I understand that SDL needs to protect its intellectual property, but other software developers provide a simpler means of protection.

Indeed, I was a lot happier with the dongle when I used Trados. Luckily we did not have any problems with the electronic licenses, but issues like the described here were bound to happen and have happened a lot.

I can only tell about our experience with another vendor (Kilgray/memoQ) who use the license server approach as well. When you install the software in demo mode, your 45-day license gets validated and installed immediately. It is just clicking a button.

When you buy the software, you get a license number, which you enter in the software, click another button, and voila!... That's all it takes. It is very simple indeed, which proves that it can be made simple and SDL simply did not manage to/did not want to make it simple.


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xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Kilgray vs. SDL Dec 14, 2010

I’d say Kilgray and SDL have rather similar approaches. Kilgray’s approach is a bit more flexible (9 backup activations instead of 1), but basically both Kilgray and SDL prevent the translators from having full control over their license. There are no servers with a 100% uptime and, in certain circumstances (e.g. you just formatted the hard disk and reinstalled the operating system), if you’re unlucky and the activation server is offline, you may not be able to use your software for a while. Moreover, there are circumstances where you might not be able to connect to the internet for a couple of days. It’s rare, but it can happen.

The companies use this method to protect their intellectual property, but does the online activation really achieve that purpose? I very much doubt it. However, the negative impact the method can have on legitimate users is painfully real.


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Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:33
English to Czech
+ ...
A small correction Dec 15, 2010

Mihai Badea wrote:
There are no servers with a 100% uptime and, in certain circumstances (e.g. you just formatted the hard disk and reinstalled the operating system), if you’re unlucky and the activation server is offline, you may not be able to use your software for a while.


Hello Mihai,
I can see your point, but in these very cases, both SDL Trados Studio and MemoQ have trial periods that will work for 30 days, 45 days respectively.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
It does, most of the time! Dec 15, 2010

Mihai Badea wrote:
The companies use this method to protect their intellectual property, but does the online activation really achieve that purpose? I very much doubt it. However, the negative impact the method can have on legitimate users is painfully real.

Although I agree that in extreme cases the online activation does not fulfill the purpose, it works better than a dongle since, in theory, you can move your software to another computer without being physically at the computer. Dongles do need a hand to pull it from the port and insert it in a different machine.

You surely agree with me that it is legitimate that software developers want to protect their IP and income. After all, making money is a fair share of the desire of developers to push their boundaries and produce better software.


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Nico Wagner  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 13:33
Portuguese to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
My 0,02€ Dec 15, 2010

Thanks everyone for your replies.

I still think that Trados' security measures are completely over the top, seeing that a lot of more expensive and popular software still uses a simple key that is validated client-side (think Photoshop, MS Office, 3d-stuff like Maya etc...). The problem I am having with their approach is that somebody who downloads a cracked version (which I am sure exists somewhere) will have none of these problems, and the people who pay for their software are the ones who suffer the consequences. When a software gets to that point, the developers should seriously reconsider whether they are on the right path....


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xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Online activation Dec 15, 2010

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Hello Mihai,
I can see your point, but in these very cases, both SDL Trados Studio and MemoQ have trial periods that will work for 30 days, 45 days respectively.


Not sure about Trados Studio, but in order to be able to start using the Memoq 45-day trial, you have to activate it, so you need to connect to the activation server. If the server is offline, you’re in trouble.

I must admit my position about the online activation is subjective. A couple of years ago, Windows crashed and I formatted the hard disk and reinstalled the OS. I also reinstalled Trados 2007, but couldn’t activate it because I hadn’t returned the license, and at that time there was no backup license. I submitted a support request to SDL the same day the incident happened (Friday). The SDL support contacted me on Monday, asking me for documents justifying my request for a new activation (e.g. an invoice for a new hard disk). I found this absurd. In the end, they provided me with a new activation without having to send them documents, but the experience was frustrating.

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

You surely agree with me that it is legitimate that software developers want to protect their IP and income. After all, making money is a fair share of the desire of developers to push their boundaries and produce better software.


Yes, of course. But I would have preferred them to use a method that does not put my business at risk.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:33
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
memoQ's activation server, always active Dec 15, 2010

Mihai Badea wrote:
Stanislav Pokorny wrote:
I can see your point, but in these very cases, both SDL Trados Studio and MemoQ have trial periods that will work for 30 days, 45 days respectively.

Not sure about Trados Studio, but in order to be able to start using the Memoq 45-day trial, you have to activate it, so you need to connect to the activation server. If the server is offline, you’re in trouble.

After over a year using memoQ Server and a number of workstations and several installations (most especially in the big upgrades), the activation server has always been there.


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:33
French to German
+ ...
My 1€ Dec 15, 2010

My suggestion for a simple activation process: you pay and the activation key/licence number is sent to you along with the payment confirmation from the software publisher.

This process is already implemented by some publishers and I am not aware that these are experiencing fraud or other infringement attempts.


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xxxMihai Badea  Identity Verified
Luxembourg
Member (2004)
English to Romanian
+ ...
Online activation Dec 15, 2010

NicNac wrote:

The problem I am having with their approach is that somebody who downloads a cracked version (which I am sure exists somewhere) will have none of these problems, and the people who pay for their software are the ones who suffer the consequences. When a software gets to that point, the developers should seriously reconsider whether they are on the right path....


I completely agree.

I would suggest the software developers to focus on ways to convince people to use legal software (by making it less expensive, by bundling it with great support etc.) rather than trying to prevent them to use the software illegally. Those who want to use a software without paying for it will find a way to do so. Any software with a critical mass of users will be cracked sooner or later and made available on torrent sites on which the software developers have no control.


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