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

welle
Local time: 11:24
I agree with Lutz Molderings Feb 19, 2011

Sorry, but it seems to me a pointless discussion. If the tool is going to allow you to do a better job or just to get a translation job, 500 Euro for a translation software is almost nothing for a full-time professional translator.

Any web programmer, architect, graphic designer, etc. will need to invest some money to have the tools they need to do their job and "go with the market". We need at least a computer, possibly a Word Editor. Nobody would argue, I don't want them. I just
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Sorry, but it seems to me a pointless discussion. If the tool is going to allow you to do a better job or just to get a translation job, 500 Euro for a translation software is almost nothing for a full-time professional translator.

Any web programmer, architect, graphic designer, etc. will need to invest some money to have the tools they need to do their job and "go with the market". We need at least a computer, possibly a Word Editor. Nobody would argue, I don't want them. I just want to use pen and paper... or pretend to use a free computer (an open source Editor is to some extent possible).

I know several very good translators that do not work with CATs. Their market segments allow it. And this is fine. But if you translate for big companies or institutions, then there are plenty of reason why they need you to use such a tool and need you to do it. Take it or leave it. Slavery is something else.

Please strike against unprofessional translators (and agencies), miserable fees, impossible deadlines...

The choice is yours.
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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:24
German to English
+ ...
investment? Feb 19, 2011

Tony M wrote:
I know I'd have to work a lot more to recover the cost of a CAT tool and then actually make more money using it, so why bother?


If you have more work than you can handle and you have decent rates (like me, I think), the "investment" in a CAT tool is hardly worth mentioning. You'll have made the money to buy a tool within 2-3 days. I probably spend more money on magazine subscriptions than on my CAT tool.

I simply don't understand this categorical rejection of this obvious time-saver.
It's like walking to the library instead of using their online services.
It's no big deal. Just buy one, learn to use it in a day or two and start using the time you save doing something more enjoyable - like reading your favourite magazines

Maybe you are a literary translator. Then I wouldn't bother buying one either.
But then again, I probably I couldn't afford one anyway






[Edited at 2011-02-19 09:51 GMT]


 

Alison Sabedoria  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
With Tony and Laurent Feb 19, 2011

Any CAT should be a tool that helps translators be more productive, not a rod for agencies to beat down rates with, quibbling over % matches, etc. I get the impression that some translators spend longer analysing weighted word counts and haggling over them than they spend actually translating the document!

When the investment in time and money doesn't pay or leads to poor quality, as Tony says, this really is "the tail wagging the dog".

I have Wordfast (free and quite a
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Any CAT should be a tool that helps translators be more productive, not a rod for agencies to beat down rates with, quibbling over % matches, etc. I get the impression that some translators spend longer analysing weighted word counts and haggling over them than they spend actually translating the document!

When the investment in time and money doesn't pay or leads to poor quality, as Tony says, this really is "the tail wagging the dog".

I have Wordfast (free and quite adequate) but rarely use it and I wouldn't dream of offering reductions for % repetitions. My rates are already calculated according to the nature of the document and how much "cut & paste" or "search and replace" I can do. That a and the get counted as repetitions so don't need to be paid for is completely farcical and I wouldn't dream of working for any client who has that mentality.

I often charge to a rounded word count or total sum, so who cares about a few words more or less here and there? The hair-splitting that CAT use encourages is unbelievably silly and such a waste of everyone's (apparently not so valuable after all) time!

(Oi'll get me coat!)
Alison
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Tony M
France
Local time: 11:24
Member
French to English
+ ...
Horses for courses... Feb 19, 2011

Lutz Molderings wrote:
Maybe you are a literary translator. Then I wouldn't bother buying one either.


I'm not a literary translator, but the kind of work I do do involves very little repetition, certainly at segment level; typically less than 2%.

I have been using Wordfast classic for some time, and for certain types of work from specific customers. Here, it is the glossary feature that is most useful to me, since there is virtually zero segment repetition, but quite a lot of repeating technical terminology. Much as I like Wordfast and its highly intuitive approach, using it just for the glossary feature is rather cumbersome (how I wish I could have just that feature, without all the rest!)

However, I don't find it actually saves me all that much time, especially with the additional problems it causes, and the time I have to waste putting those right. I actually found that manual search-&-replace techniques on the main terms is quicker — and I do even have a little macro that does the job wonderfully well for me, if I can be bothered to configure its glossary, which generally, I can't!


 

Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:24
German to English
+ ...
agree Feb 19, 2011

Tony M wrote:
...especially with the additional problems it causes, and the time I have to waste putting those right.


That is indeed true. I have also wasted quite a bit of time due to CAT related problems.


 

Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:24
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
hm.. Feb 19, 2011

.. I wonder how many architects and engineers complain about having to pay about 1,500€ for AutoCAD...

 

Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A message from the strikebreaker Feb 19, 2011

I am not, and will not, be on strike against tools that cost more than 100 euros, quite simply because developers also deserve to buy a car, feed their children, and enjoy a reasonably good wine a couple of times a year.

In exchange for our money, developers should produce tools that make us happier, less overworked professionals and help us produce ten/twenty/thirty times more value than the cost of the software every year. If your software does not achieve that, drop it and choose
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I am not, and will not, be on strike against tools that cost more than 100 euros, quite simply because developers also deserve to buy a car, feed their children, and enjoy a reasonably good wine a couple of times a year.

In exchange for our money, developers should produce tools that make us happier, less overworked professionals and help us produce ten/twenty/thirty times more value than the cost of the software every year. If your software does not achieve that, drop it and choose another one! Its price is not relevant as long as you recover your investment quickly.

I wonder whether our customers should call for a strike against English-Spanish translators charging more than 1 cent per source word. It would follow the same line of thought as your proposal, I reckon.

[Edited at 2011-02-19 10:50 GMT]
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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:24
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Indeed! Feb 19, 2011

Lutz Molderings wrote:
I think I'd rather organise a strike against the cost of quality shaving blades, but it would be just as pointless as a strike against CAT tool prices.

Indeed! They money I pay in blades every year is very probably more than one license of a top-notch CAT tool. And I wonder why they are so expensive. After all, for thirty years all the improvements they have made is to add more blades...

I completely support a "beard strike"!


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 11:24
French to German
+ ...
Durable tools Feb 19, 2011

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Lutz Molderings wrote:
I think I'd rather organise a strike against the cost of quality shaving blades, but it would be just as pointless as a strike against CAT tool prices.

Indeed! They money I pay in blades every year is very probably more than one license of a top-notch CAT tool. And I wonder why they are so expensive. After all, for thirty years all the improvements they have made is to add more blades...

I completely support a "beard strike"!


I say, invest in durable tools - like this one: http://tinyurl.com/6fga88p

[Edited at 2011-02-19 11:25 GMT]


 

Natalie  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 11:24
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

MODERATOR
How childish... Feb 19, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:
...to refuse to accept any jobs with the CAT tools concerned...

What do you think? Would a strike be justified? Would it have any sort of effect?


I think, yes, it will certainly have an effect. You will lose all your clients, as they will give up using your services and will find other translators.


 

Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:24
German to English
+ ...
interesting Feb 19, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

I say, invest in durable tools - like this one: http://tinyurl.com/6fga88p

[Edited at 2011-02-19 11:25 GMT]


Sounds interesting. Any idea how often the blade needs re-sharpening?


 

Translation-Pro  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:24
Member (2007)
English to German
+ ...
The point is... Feb 19, 2011

Simone Linke wrote:

.. I wonder how many architects and engineers complain about having to pay about 1,500€ for AutoCAD...


...no one ever asked me for a rebate for using AutoCad or any other CAD software.


 

Simone Linke  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 11:24
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
And.. Feb 19, 2011

Translation-Pro wrote:

Simone Linke wrote:

.. I wonder how many architects and engineers complain about having to pay about 1,500€ for AutoCAD...


...no one ever asked me for a rebate for using AutoCad or any other CAD software.


And if they would, what would your answer be?

Why boycott the tool if it's the tool user (agency or translator) who's to blame?


 

Christel Zipfel  Identity Verified
Member (2004)
Italian to German
+ ...
Well Feb 19, 2011

I have used and owned Wordfast since several years and tried other CAT tools but without buying them so far.

Only 1 or 2 of my customers care whether I use a CAT or not. Anyway, I do charge to all 30% of my fee for large pieces of repetitions and that's it. I have never bothered to count all the fuzzies in varying percentages and always wondered how many time I would spend analyzing a doc and invoicing correspondingly, not to mention the probably heavy reduction of my hourly/daily
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I have used and owned Wordfast since several years and tried other CAT tools but without buying them so far.

Only 1 or 2 of my customers care whether I use a CAT or not. Anyway, I do charge to all 30% of my fee for large pieces of repetitions and that's it. I have never bothered to count all the fuzzies in varying percentages and always wondered how many time I would spend analyzing a doc and invoicing correspondingly, not to mention the probably heavy reduction of my hourly/daily income if I were to charge only 60%-70% or still less for the various matches that actually I charge 100%.

I dont think the use of CAT tools compensates the lower income with a higher rate of working, thus justifying all those less paid scales. And firstly, you have to buy it (although there are also free ones) and then to learn to use it. My rate of working has remained almost the same since I have steadily used Wf. Of course, sometimes it comes in very handy. For example, right now I have a document that is very similar to another one that I have translated time ago. A CAT spares me the tedious copy & paste thing.

In my opinion, the comparison with architects and engineers that use AutoCAD is misleading. They have considered investing in such a tool as this would save them a lot of time. I don't believe they charge their customers less for that reason... They have to amortize this investment and this is possible only charging the same but spending less time.

I believe no one here is against CAT tols, but only against the strangling behaviour some agencies keep toward their translators, "obliging" them so to speak firstly to buy a possibly expensive tool (we all know which one) and then to accept heavy reductions for the only reason they own and use it, and very often have to struggle with it.



[Bearbeitet am 2011-02-19 21:07 GMT]
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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:24
French to English
+ ...
I think the debate needs to be separated Feb 19, 2011

As I tried to hint at in an earlier post, I think the problem is that there are two more or less separate issues here.

(1) the price of a CAT tool, and whether that price represents a good return on investment should a translator of their own free will *choose* to make that investment;
(2) whether the CAT tool is free or costs a millioin billion squillion Euros, the issue of being *bullied* into using a particular tool, and/or bullied into pricing your services in a particular
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As I tried to hint at in an earlier post, I think the problem is that there are two more or less separate issues here.

(1) the price of a CAT tool, and whether that price represents a good return on investment should a translator of their own free will *choose* to make that investment;
(2) whether the CAT tool is free or costs a millioin billion squillion Euros, the issue of being *bullied* into using a particular tool, and/or bullied into pricing your services in a particular way because you use that tool, and also the dangers of a false impression being created that CAT tool X is "necessary to be professional".

I completely agree that for many full-time translators, 1000 Euros as a one-off investment is not necessarily a large amount of money and could represent an excellent return on investment, just like other things that we *choose* to invest in. I have personally *chosen* to invest in other things instead to improve my productivity, such as an expensive laptop with a large screen and powerful processor. That is the choice that seems right for my workflow at this moment. But I fully respect those who decide to invest in whatever tools, CAT or otherwise, that they decide will improve their personal productivity.

What I think it is important to resist is the issue (2). The segment of the translation market where a CAT tool is actually *required* is not the entire market and we shouldn't let "professional translation" be equated with methodology that doesn't actually universally represent the practice of translation. Not least when such tools are being marketed on the basis of mantras such as "You'll never translate the same sentence twice", which are just linguistically nonsense and advocate *bad* practice, not good practice.
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