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General strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools
Thread poster: Thomas Johansson

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:38
English to Czech
+ ...
ROI Feb 25, 2011

Although my ROI on Trados was much quicker than Laurent's, I agree with every other word he's said. I am not forced to accept anything. I use the tool because it makes my everyday life easier. Full stop.

 

Jaron
Local time: 14:38
Dutch to Polish
+ ...
Trados Feb 25, 2011

I just translate not using Trados. There are another more vriendly tools . One time I wrote on Proz about Word..... and they did not publish my suggestion because of promotion of competition. What's wrong about it? Jaron

 

Philippe Papillier
France
Local time: 14:38
English to French
+ ...
Let's go ..... Feb 25, 2011

For continuing with the on going strike organization :

What will be the concrete actions or dates and how shall we be informed ??

PP

PS to Laurent and Stanislav :Could you just precise on which period you got such ROI (1000 % (10 times the price) for Laurent, 'much quicker' for Stanislav !!) ?
Or what is your ''personal'' definition of ROI ?


 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:38
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
The quality problem is the other translators, not the CAT tool Feb 25, 2011

Ph. Papillier Ph. Papillier wrote:

Here is my standard answer to agencies who claim Trados (desolate in French) :

(...)je me suis rendu compte que la qualité de mes traductions ne dépendaient
pas seulement de mes compétences ou de mon expérience, mais aussi des mots
et phrases traduits avec plus ou moins de 'bonheur' par d'autres et enregistrés
dans des bases de données !!!
(...)
4) une qualité inférieure des traductions (voir ci-dessus),


You blame lower quality on CAT tools (because of the inferior translations contributed by other translators), when the problem resides not in the use of CAT tools, but on poor choice of translators by the translation company.

Shared translation memories, anyway, are just one way in which the tools are used. What about individual use - when all the segments in the translation memory are contributed by yourself?

Or what about the situation in which a shared memory has been built by other good translators?

The GIGO principle of course is valid with CAT tools as well... but then a large translation project divided among several different translator would risk the same problems even without the use of CAT tools.

[Edited at 2011-02-25 17:02 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-25 20:45 GMT]


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:38
French to German
+ ...
2 remarks Feb 25, 2011

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

You blame lower quality on CAT tools (because of the inferior translations contributed by other translators), when the problem resides not in the use of CAT tools, but on poor choice of translators by the translation company.

Indeed - my proofreading experience confirms this. Even with clear PM instructions, some still fail to follow guidelines. GIGO is the name of the game.

Ph. Papillier Ph. Papillier wrote:
PS to Laurent and Stanislav :Could you just precise on which period you got such ROI (1000 % (10 times the price) for Laurent, 'much quicker' for Stanislav !!) ?

Within 12 months from the purchasing date AFAIAC and it was not the only CAT I used at that time.


 

Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 14:38
English to Czech
+ ...
ROI Feb 25, 2011

Trados paid itself with the second project that I received. While still single (not for long anymore ) and without children, the ROI was pretty quick: about two months. I have to stress that I had already worked for end clients with lots of repetitive content long before I started working with CATs. Without them, my ROI would probably have been a little longer.

Considering my ROI and the fact that the tool costs about
... See more
Trados paid itself with the second project that I received. While still single (not for long anymore ) and without children, the ROI was pretty quick: about two months. I have to stress that I had already worked for end clients with lots of repetitive content long before I started working with CATs. Without them, my ROI would probably have been a little longer.

Considering my ROI and the fact that the tool costs about the same as a smartphone or six full tanks of diesel in my car, the tool is quite inexpensive.

[Upraveno: 2011-02-25 18:50 GMT]
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Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:38
French to German
+ ...
Well in this case... Feb 25, 2011

Stanislav Pokorny wrote:

Trados paid itself with the second project that I received. (.../...)

It was the same for me: 2 projects and I had my investment back.


 

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 07:38
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
bla bla Feb 25, 2011

Riccardo Schiaffino wrote:

Thomas Johansson wrote:

So why are CAT tools so much more expensive then?



Your whole line of reasoning is fatally flawed.

You base everything on your assumptions about how much time is needed to develop the tools, what functionalities they should have, how many people are required to develop the tools, what functionality are required by translation companies, what functionalities are necessary for translators, and so on.

Assumptions out of thin air.



First, they were not "out of thin air". I have explained my assumptions and on what grounds I base them.

Secondly, you yourself and many others do not seem to have ANY conception of what could be a reasonable price for these products. You simply seem to accept whatever prices happen to be currently used and defend them on a whole set of assumptions yourselves.



Your estimates about the cost of developing CAT tools are several orders of magnitude off.



Please just not just _state_ this; prove it or show me clearly on what assumptions you base this statement; and give us some real figures based on reality.

And explain why developing a CAT tool should be much more expensive than developing, say, an advanced text editor for web development. And do that without exaggerating the internal design of CAT tools vis-a-vis other types of software.



And you do not seem to realize the differences in productivity that are offered by different CAT tools.



Of course I realize this. But the point is that this is not an issue under question here.



For example, why do you think that Omega-T has such a small market share, when it costs nothing? There are many cash-strapped small translation companies that could use it and save money -- if they don't it is probably because using that tool would actually be less profitable for them than paying for a more feature-rich tool.



That's a possibility. So? How does that show that most CAT tools currently on the market are not way off too expensive?


 

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 07:38
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
The actual strike Feb 25, 2011

Ph. Papillier Ph. Papillier wrote:

For continuing with the on going strike organization :

What will be the concrete actions or dates and how shall we be informed ??



The strike will happen. I have not forgotten about it, at least.

Personally, I was thinking about continuing with a concrete proposal in this regard in about a week or two (unless of course others take some initiative in the meantime). (I will be pretty busy over the next few days.)

I think it is important that a strike happens, to let the overall market know that unreasonably expensive CAT tools (in general, not just trados) are not ok and that solutions should be developed (by the market as a whole: agencies, end clients, software manufacturers, etc.).

Such solutions can for instance consist in:
- lowering the prices of CAT tools for translators
- gradually shifting to less expensive tools
- solutions for handling all possible conversions between different file formats at agency or end client levels
etc.


 

Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:38
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Re: "blabla" Feb 25, 2011

Thomas,

this is not supposed to be a shot aimed at you as a person. But since you so openly call the experience of others in this thread (who have told you their first-hand experience with software development) nothing but "blabla", I have to ask:

I've looked at your website where you make equally bold claims as in this thread here. Now, the last update of your Website happened almost exactly 1 year ago.

That is to say, you've had 12 months as an individual
... See more
Thomas,

this is not supposed to be a shot aimed at you as a person. But since you so openly call the experience of others in this thread (who have told you their first-hand experience with software development) nothing but "blabla", I have to ask:

I've looked at your website where you make equally bold claims as in this thread here. Now, the last update of your Website happened almost exactly 1 year ago.

That is to say, you've had 12 months as an individual (software) developer to create a marketable website, and apparently you haven't managed to do so. Despite your claims that even something as a CAT tool could be developed within 12 months by one person.

Are you really sure that - of all people in this thread - you're the one who knows best what it takes to develop - and sell! - software?
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Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 07:38
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Similis (Heike, please check this) Feb 25, 2011

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

In your list of acceptable CAT tools, you list numerous highly specialized tools (only PO files, only Word files), a term extraction tool (Similis), some tools that require the end client to prepare the files for the translator, some lite tools that are crippled versions of their "big brothers" and have only limited use, etc. I think from your long list, only OmegaT and Across come actually close to "regular" CAT tools.



Thank you for pointing this out, Heike.

I am working to correct any possible errors in the list.

As for (i) tools specializing on specific file formats (only PO files, only Word files), (ii) tools requiring the end client to prepare the files for the translator, and (iii) lite-version tools, I see no problem including such tools in the list, since the purpose of the list is to include any tools used as CAT tools or at least for CAT tool-like purposes.

As for Similis, you write that it is a "term extraction tool" (whereby I assume you mean that it is not also a CAT tool).

However, when I check the Similis website, I do get the impression that it is actually usable as a CAT tool.

See for instance these two pages:
- http://similis.org/linguaetmachina.www/index.php?afficher=10&info=Similis&PHPSESSID=790854c01b43bd00ac81562044b4392d
- http://similis.org/linguaetmachina.www/index.php?afficher=10&sel=51&info=Tutorials

So, I would sincerely appreciate if you could please have a look at the website, perhaps especially these two web pages, compare that information with your own experience of the tool, and let me know what the situation is. Is it perhaps possible that you are referring to an older version of Similis and that it has undergone development since then?

Thank you,

Thomas


 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:38
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
My basis Feb 25, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:

Your estimates about the cost of developing CAT tools are several orders of magnitude off.
Please just not just _state_ this; prove it or show me clearly on what assumptions you base this statement; and give us some real figures based on reality.


I base it on what I learned personally about the efforts involved in developing other software using medium-sized development teams - experience earned while working in the translation department of a business software company. Among my personal experience, I should add, I was directly involved in the requirements and protoyping stages of several specific translation tools developed internally.

I also base it on what has been stated by Trados (now SDL) about the number of lines of codes and amount invested in the development of their tools (I believe that the actual numbers have already been mentioned by others in this thread) - I have no reason to disbelieve their broad claims.

Finally, I believe that whatever the cost may be of developing a tool (if you think you can develop one for so little, you should go for it), is really beside the point: companies are entitled to try to maximize their profits from their efforts.

[Edited at 2011-02-25 20:44 GMT]


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:38
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Strike??? Meaningless - vote with your money instead Feb 25, 2011

It is amazing and amusing how long this discussion has become. I am sorry that I do not have time to read all contributions; I am just responding to the initial idea here.

Sorry, Thomas, I don't get it. Strikes are meaningful for employees, where the employer has nobody else to get the work done. We are freelancers, so a "strike" of any kind is pretty useless. (Unless the freelancer world became unionized overnight, and I did not get the memo.) If you are on "strike" for any reason,
... See more
It is amazing and amusing how long this discussion has become. I am sorry that I do not have time to read all contributions; I am just responding to the initial idea here.

Sorry, Thomas, I don't get it. Strikes are meaningful for employees, where the employer has nobody else to get the work done. We are freelancers, so a "strike" of any kind is pretty useless. (Unless the freelancer world became unionized overnight, and I did not get the memo.) If you are on "strike" for any reason, the outsourcer will just find another translator to do the job.

As to organizing a "strike" against some CAT-tools, now you really got me lost.
You said the "strike" would entail not taking any work that requires the use of the designated CAT-tools.
This does not make sense.
If the job requires using tool A, and you don't have it, then you can't "refuse" the job, because you are simply not qualified to take it in the first place.
If you do have tool A, then why would you refuse using it? You already bought the tool, you already voted with your money. Assuming the purchase was a well thought-out business decision (as it ought to be), then you agreed to the price and are currently enjoying the benefits of the tool, so there is no point is "refusing" the job, because getting the CAT-jobs was one of the goals of buying the tool in the first place.

Protesting about the price, or refusing the job while I have the tool for it would feel like hypocrisy to me. If my purchase decision was bad, and the tool did not bring the expected benefits, I can "refuse" upgrading, but that's about it. Again, refusing a job would be stupid in this case, because that may help recovering the sunk costs of the tool (even if I consider it dead wood and would never want to upgrade it).

If you cannot justify the price of a tool, do not buy it. It is this simple.
If many people refuse buying stuff, the seller will have to adjust the price, depending on the market demand.
I was just told yesterday that my favorite zero-VOC paint that I have been using and wanted to use now to paint the kitchen had been discontinued, because there was not enough market demand for it. It was a bit pricey (although it was very good), so I guess people opted for cheaper paints (and decided to suffer from the toxic fumes in exchange).

What I am saying is that markets, including prices are based on supply and demand.
(Have you filled your gas tank recently? Then you get my point.)

Katalin

[Módosítva: 2011-02-25 21:21 GMT]
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Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:38
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Similis Feb 25, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:
As for Similis, you write that it is a "term extraction tool" (whereby I assume you mean that it is not also a CAT tool).

However, when I check the Similis website, I do get the impression that it is actually usable as a CAT tool.

See for instance these two pages:
- http://similis.org/linguaetmachina.www/index.php?afficher=10&info=Similis&PHPSESSID=790854c01b43bd00ac81562044b4392d
- http://similis.org/linguaetmachina.www/index.php?afficher=10&sel=51&info=Tutorials


Thanks, I stand corrected.
I checked it out at
http://www.translatorstraining.com/mat/presentazioni/Similis.htm
From what I can tell, it looks fairly cumbersome and you can't add terms from the current project to your term base. Maybe that's why I have only heard of it in the connection with its apparently strong term extraction feature.


 

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:38
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
A "reasonable" price is whatever the market will bear Feb 25, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:
Secondly, you yourself and many others do not seem to have ANY conception of what could be a reasonable price for these products. You simply seem to accept whatever prices happen to be currently used and defend them on a whole set of assumptions yourselves.


Price is whatever the market will bear.

"Reasonable" is a subjective concept. What is reasonable for me may not be reasonable for you. Moreover, what is "reasonable" for the buyer may not have much in common with what is reasonable for the seller.

Just as I decide the rates for my translations, I believe in the same liberty for the companies that sell me the tools that help me do my job.

This discussion would be much more productive if instead of fixating on such a nebulous concept, you talked of what is "affordable".

You would then see that what is perhaps not affordable for a part-time or amateur translator, is a requisite, and quite affordable, for a professional.



[Edited at 2011-02-25 22:58 GMT]


 
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