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

EKNXTM
Local time: 09:42
From a CAT tool vendor... how much and how long it has taken to build a CAT tool :) Mar 2, 2011

Hello everyone!

It has been truly insightful to read this full and intriguing dialogue.
The passion, variety of opinion and in some cases down right anger
displayed is a testament to the CAT tools impact on contemporary
translation work.

I read some very interesting comments about how much and how long it
takes to build a CAT tool and thought it would be fun and informative
if I added information about how much and how long XTM has taken to
... See more
Hello everyone!

It has been truly insightful to read this full and intriguing dialogue.
The passion, variety of opinion and in some cases down right anger
displayed is a testament to the CAT tools impact on contemporary
translation work.

I read some very interesting comments about how much and how long it
takes to build a CAT tool and thought it would be fun and informative
if I added information about how much and how long XTM has taken to
build!

XTM development started in 2003, our development team was at first 3
people, then in 2005 was up to 6 people, now in 2011 we have 16 people
developing XTM (and we are recruiting all the time).



Heres some facts:


  • XTM contains around 1
    million lines of code.

  • It has cost over a
    £1million to develop

  • Has taken almost a decade to
    develop XTM to a commercial product.

  • Is developed and supported
    by a team of 16 people today.

  • We started selling XTM after
    5 years development. First five years were R&D.

  • We are constantly updating
    and improving XTM, always new features, always more R&D.

  • Most of our profits go
    towards product development.


Also, we keep our costs down to a minimum, with a small sales team,
with emphasis on customer support and product development.

This is how we have done it, I am sure other vendors have a different
story



Thanks for reading.

Elliot

enedas@xtm-intl.com




[Edited at 2011-03-02 11:11 GMT]




[Edited at 2011-03-02 11:16 GMT]
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esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Big deal! Mar 2, 2011

EKNXTM wrote:


  • XTM contains around 1
    million lines of code.




So what? It may be merely a manifestation of your programmers’ inability to produce concise and efficient code. Or of a wrong choice of the programming platform. I think, 1 million lines of code is reasonable for an operating system, but not sure about a standalone (and single-platform!) application.

  • It has cost over a
    £1million to develop

  • Has taken almost a decade to
    develop XTM to a commercial product.

  • Is developed and supported
    by a team of 16 people today.

  • We started selling XTM after
    5 years development. First five years were R&D.


So, you overspend money for overpaid programmers and greedy managers. Big deal!

What was the point of saying this?


 

EKNXTM
Local time: 09:42
Follow up Mar 2, 2011

@esperantisto

Thank you for the response, please see my comments in response:

The reason I posted this was simply to share information about us, about what we have done.

My responses:

"So what? It may be merely a manifestation of your programmers’ inability to produce concise and efficient code. Or of a wrong choice of the programming platform.I think, 1 million lines of code is reasonable for an operating system, but not sure about a standa
... See more
@esperantisto

Thank you for the response, please see my comments in response:

The reason I posted this was simply to share information about us, about what we have done.

My responses:

"So what? It may be merely a manifestation of your programmers’ inability to produce concise and efficient code. Or of a wrong choice of the programming platform.I think, 1 million lines of code is reasonable for an operating system, but not sure about a standalone (and single-platform!) application:

The code is clean, we use an Agile development method, all code is checked and kept to its most succinct and clean form. You are welcome to ask for examples and I can share an example of our source code with you.

XTM is not a standalone or single platform software application, it is a web based translation tool. An example of its uses are:

A project with 1000 XML files , 20 Indesign, and sundry Word and Excel.
Into say 20 languages.
With say 100 translators working simultaneously.

This is what we build.

To your other comment:

"So, you overspend money for overpaid programmers and greedy managers. Big deal!"
What was the point of saying this?"

This is simply a shocking and wholly untrue statement. Totally unfounded and tilting on the slanderous.

We keep our costs low and we run a tight ship. I work from a home office, we do not drive company Ferraris and I do not own a large mansion.

I think you would have a different opinion if you met our development and management team.. they are all highly educated, extremely dedicated and passionate software developers with years of experience in the field and dedication which is truly amazing. Furthermore, they are paid a fair wage.

In fact, if you are ever in London or Poznan I would welcome you to our offices to show you how it all works.

We all do several jobs inside the company, we all work very hard, all the time, we are not some lazy, greedy, misanthropic group of people whose aim it is to extract blood from our customers.

Oh, and on the management side:

We are small company, privately owned, the shareholders run and manage the companies day to day business and do not overpay themselves. We are a young company, working hard to develop a tool which our customers get a great deal of benefits from.

My aim is to communicate and share.

With thanks and regards.
Elliot


[Edited at 2011-03-02 17:29 GMT]
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Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Thank you for the detailed example Mar 2, 2011

Hi Elliot,
Thank you for providing detailed information with a real life example.
I think your posting is the first one in this thread that contains empirical facts, not just estimations and guesses.

Thanks again
Katalin


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:42
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Comparison Mar 2, 2011

esperantisto wrote:

So, you overspend money for overpaid programmers and greedy managers. Big deal!

What was the point of saying this?


A large portion of this discussion covered supposed costs of development of an advanced CAT tool. As there is no reason to assume that XTM was written less efficiently or that the staff was more "greedy" than in case of other tools, for the time being we should conclude that the order of magnitude is the same (as we have no other hard data).


 

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
No reason for the put-down Mar 2, 2011

esperantisto wrote:

EKNXTM wrote:


  • XTM contains around 1
    million lines of code.




So what? It may be merely a manifestation of your programmers’ inability to produce concise and efficient code. Or of a wrong choice of the programming platform. I think, 1 million lines of code is reasonable for an operating system, but not sure about a standalone (and single-platform!) application.


While it is true, that producing concise and efficient code is a very important skill, I don't understand the vehemence of your comment.
Lines of Code (while somewhat controversial) is a widely used measurement, and as to 1 million LOC for an OS - well, check out the list of op. systems and their LOC figures here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_lines_of_code

The smallest listed is Linux kernel 2.6.0 with 5.2 million LOC.



  • It has cost over a
    £1million to develop

  • Has taken almost a decade to
    develop XTM to a commercial product.

  • Is developed and supported
    by a team of 16 people today.

  • We started selling XTM after
    5 years development. First five years were R&D.


So, you overspend money for overpaid programmers and greedy managers. Big deal!

What was the point of saying this?


And what was your point of saying this?
"overpaid programmers and greedy managers" - aren't you jumping to conclusions just a wee bit too fast?
Honestly, have you thought it through?
8 years, starting with 3, then 5, now 16 people, with obviously not only wages, benefits and taxes, but also office space, equipment, software expenses involved? You can't expect Elliot to disclose his exact financial statements, but applying a bit of business sense and using simple division may have lead to a very different conclusion.
(Maybe he could have outsourced the whole thing to Southeast Asia for sweatshop wages, but then there would be yet another issue to debate.)

He said "We started selling XTM after 5 years development. First five years were R&D."
That means they had 5 years of investment, without any return. This is a very important piece of information, because anybody trying to come up with a business plan would need to have a realistic estimation of the returns (timing and volume), otherwise, no investor in their right mind would throw money at the proposed venture.

Maybe these things are totally obvious to you, but they may be very informative and helpful for others, as a reality check.

So I think the posting had very good points, and it did not warrant the put-down.
Katalin

Edited for typos.

[Módosítva: 2011-03-02 16:28 GMT]


 

esperantisto  Identity Verified
Local time: 11:42
Member (2006)
English to Russian
+ ...
Well, just some comments Mar 2, 2011

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

While it is true, that producing concise and efficient code is a very important skill, I don't understand the vehemence of your comment.


Well, let me explain: a line of code in Python is equivalent to 3 to 5 lines in Java and, say, 10 lines in C. So, 1 million lines of code may be a real labor, but may be only bad choice of the programming language. Show me the code! Anyway, this number is very loosely tied with the program efficiency and functionality.

And what was your point of saying this?


Very simple: all this stuff is irrelevant. The fact that they spend lots of money for their Ferraris and Maybachs does not mean that I should buy their product, does not justify the price. And I guess, I am not the only to thinks so, otherwise that XTM would be the market leader.


 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: requested by poster - duplicate entry

Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:42
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
All clear now Mar 2, 2011

esperantisto wrote:

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

While it is true, that producing concise and efficient code is a very important skill, I don't understand the vehemence of your comment.


Well, let me explain: a line of code in Python is equivalent to 3 to 5 lines in Java and, say, 10 lines in C. So, 1 million lines of code may be a real labor, but may be only bad choice of the programming language. Show me the code! Anyway, this number is very loosely tied with the program efficiency and functionality.


Yes, the business about the differing line numbers is pretty clear to me (in my previous life I developed software quite a bit), and if you read the Wikipedia article it explains that the LOC figure is usually used to express the magnitude of labor that is needed. I don't want to say the same thing again, that's why I refer to the Wiki article. It does not disagree with what you are saying.
However, you were making judgments, and that's what I have a problem with.



And what was your point of saying this?


Very simple: all this stuff is irrelevant. The fact that they spend lots of money for their Ferraris and Maybachs does not mean that I should buy their product, does not justify the price. And I guess, I am not the only to thinks so, otherwise that XTM would be the market leader.


Oh, I see. Well, I guess I have nothing to add to this well thought-out, fact-supported argument of yours that takes into account such a wide range of issues related to starting up and running a business, and gives us a deep insight into how the market works.
Thank you, your comment is certainly the winner.
Katalin

[Módosítva: 2011-03-02 20:50 GMT]


 

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:42
Swedish to English
+ ...
Beautiful Katalin Mar 2, 2011

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

Katalin Horvath McClure wrote:

And what was your point of saying this?


Very simple: all this stuff is irrelevant. The fact that they spend lots of money for their Ferraris and Maybachs does not mean that I should buy their product, does not justify the price. And I guess, I am not the only to thinks so, otherwise that XTM would be the market leader.



Oh, I see. Well, I guess I have nothing to add to this well thought-out, fact-supported argument of yours that takes into account such a wide range of issues related to starting up and running a business, and gives us a deep insight into how the market works.
Thank you, your comment is certainly the winner.
Katalin


 

Witold Chocholski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 10:42
English to Polish
+ ...
Fluffy Matches or the like Mar 2, 2011

Neil Coffey wrote:
I fully encourage a move to tell providers that we set a fair rate according to the overall nature of a text, but don't robotically halve our rate for 80% Fluffy Matches or the like. But I would suggest doing this always, not just on Mondays, Wednesdays or the third Friday following a lunar eclipse...


Oh yes. I agree so much.


 

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 03:42
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
April 4, strike day Mar 2, 2011

I think April 4 seems to be a good date to set the strike.

It's the first Monday of the month and gives sufficient time for basic preparations.


 

Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:42
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
:-) Mar 2, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:

I think April 4 seems to be a good date to set the strike.

It's the first Monday of the month and gives sufficient time for basic preparations.


I think April 1 would be so much more appropriate.


 

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 03:42
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
yes Mar 2, 2011

DouglasCarnall wrote:

I sympathise with the spirit of the proposal to strike over software tools, but in a world of 375,000 competing freelancers, it is unlikely to gain much traction, and is therefore a politically naïve proposal.



Let's dare to be politically naive then. I have no problem with that. Join in, Douglas!


 

Madeleine MacRae Klintebo  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:42
Swedish to English
+ ...
How about the 1st of May Mar 2, 2011

Heike Behl, Ph.D. wrote:

Thomas Johansson wrote:

I think April 4 seems to be a good date to set the strike.

It's the first Monday of the month and gives sufficient time for basic preparations.


I think April 1 would be so much more appropriate.


As that's when employees generally march down the street. (US citizens will of course have to wait until September.)


 
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