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

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 09:52
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Got me... Feb 19, 2011

IPtranslate wrote:

All this, of cours, under the assupmption that you don't own shares in the companies that produce these (often not working properly) CATs. If the answer to this question is positive, then the comment all of a sudden does make sense.


Well, you saw right through me! A little disclosure - my name* is Memoq Across Trados. I got rich by starving the poor little translators...

Now, with that aside, you've made an interesting point - agencies ask for specific CATs and don't ask for specific computers! If they do this of sheer spite, why aren't they not consistent?

The answer is simple: it is not the same. When the CATs are fully interoperable, they will not insist any more - why would they exclude some of the best assets (i.e. translators) for such a reason?

Yesterday, I had to "hop" a job through three CATs - none of them was able to do it all, every one of them produced different results. If I outsourced the jobs to translators, I would either require the same tool or prepare the text in such a way that the tool used would not matter at all. But this would cost time and time is money - I would need to pay the translators less for that reason.

* Actually, it is not - it's Jarosław Michalak.


 

Mohamed Gaafar  Identity Verified
Egypt
Local time: 09:52
Member (2005)
English to Arabic
+ ...
totally agree Feb 19, 2011

Nadejda Vega Cespedes wrote:

A CAT tool is an investment like any other. If the ROI justifies the purchase, it is not too expensive. If it doesn't, but you invest anyway, you should strike against your own lack of basic business skills.

You can strike against some bugs in the software , some issues related to what they promised to deliver and did not but Not in general against all of them.


 

IPtranslate (X)
Brazil
English to Dutch
+ ...
Not the tool... Feb 19, 2011

it is not the tools I have a problem with; it is with the fact that agencies feel they have the right to impose which tools I should use....all of this of course under the excuse of "if you use this tool, we can provide you with more work".....Reminds me of situations in 19th century Belgium (and probably in other countries as well) where factory workers were only allowed to spend their hard earned wages in the shop that was part of the factory and of course owned by the same boss....not quite s... See more
it is not the tools I have a problem with; it is with the fact that agencies feel they have the right to impose which tools I should use....all of this of course under the excuse of "if you use this tool, we can provide you with more work".....Reminds me of situations in 19th century Belgium (and probably in other countries as well) where factory workers were only allowed to spend their hard earned wages in the shop that was part of the factory and of course owned by the same boss....not quite similar, but nevertheless....Collapse


 

B D Finch  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:52
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Substitute for Trados Feb 19, 2011

Claudette Hepburn wrote:

I have just today given up a big job because Trados was involved and the client suggested, as I protested, that I should consider buying it. I protested even more then.

My reason is that I have tried Trados and dislike it very much. I am a fervent user of Wordfast classic, Pro, Anywhere, whatever!

Well, eventually, the client asked if I would like to proofread the files then, so I did not lose everything...

My strike will be permanent, Thomas.

With you all the way!

Claudette


I absolutely refuse to acquire Trados - I have heard such bad things about it from others and I am happy with Wordfast, not least because it is cheaper. I explain to agencies that I can handle their Trados TMs in TMX format using Wordfast and find that agencies generally have no problems with that.

Barbara


 

JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:52
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
Sustainability Feb 19, 2011

If you are looking for an environmentally friendly solution, the type of products suggested by Laurent may just cut it !

Otherwise, there is another product, not too pricey, and fully compatible with
Omega-Three, but it needs training:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/experidoum/4642753452/


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:52
French to German
+ ...
You load sixteen tons / What do you get? Feb 19, 2011

IPtranslate wrote:

it is not the tools I have a problem with; it is with the fact that agencies feel they have the right to impose which tools I should use....all of this of course under the excuse of "if you use this tool, we can provide you with more work".....Reminds me of situations in 19th century Belgium (and probably in other countries as well) where factory workers were only allowed to spend their hard earned wages in the shop that was part of the factory and of course owned by the same boss....not quite similar, but nevertheless....


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Joo90ZWrUkU - quote: I owe my soul to the company store

[Edited at 2011-02-19 14:50 GMT]


 

Egidijus Slepetys  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:52
German to Lithuanian
Let's strike against "unclean files"!!! :) Feb 19, 2011

I respect SDL since 2009 for moving on from "unclean files".

Only clean files should be delivered!

Trados' price is not high at all. Try to bye Star Transit. But Transit is like Swiss watches - not to compare with Trados...


 

Danesh
Local time: 12:22
English to Farsi (Persian)
+ ...
Defend yourself! Feb 19, 2011

All in all, I side with Thomas Johansson. We should take action against getting misused and victimized for using CAT tools! The points Tony M, Laurent KRAULAND, Wordeffect, and IPtranslate made are very thought-provoking and in place!

 

Pablo Bouvier  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:52
German to Spanish
+ ...
General strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools Feb 19, 2011

Lutz Molderings wrote:

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]


I am sorry, but imho CAT tools are a catch 22:

a) First, CAT tools are not able to differentiate contextually the same sentence with a different meaning, which translators make directly without any difficulty.

b) Second, CAT tools require a much more comprehensive review, than if you translate the source text directly, because you do not know if the memory you got from the outsourcer is a good one or not. The time you save translating, is gone with the time you need to review.

c) CAT tools are totally inflexible in changing the style to provide a fluent reading in the target text, which is essential for understanding.

d) Usually CAT tools are used by outsources that haven't invest a penny for you as argument to lower your rates. That is, work harder for less money. Dunno, I do not think this would be a good idea ...

A CAT tool only makes sense to me, if you have steadily very repetitive texts that have been already verified over and over, or to update previously translated texts.



[Edited at 2011-02-19 18:53 GMT]


 

Amy Duncan (X)  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 04:52
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Yeah, Tony! Feb 19, 2011

Tony M wrote:

I just boycott them altogether!

For every job I turn down because the client insists on the use of CAT, I have 10 others that don't, and are usually more interesting.

One client the other day tried to insist on the use of CAT, for a document with less than 1% actual repetitions; I pointed out that for the sake of saving a very small number of €uros, they were going to sour their long-standing relationship with me, as well as missing out on the quality of my service; they soon saw reason!

By deliberately boycotting CAT, I still manage to get more work than I can handle, at advantageous rates, and make a perfectly respectable living out of it, thank you very much!

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?

Indeed, the fact that other people invest in CAT tools suits me just fine — 'cos I pick up such a lot of work proofing and correcting the output of those people who no doubt cut corners, in order to both recover the cost of their expensive CAT tool and work more to make up for the lost earnings because of the reduced rates! In what other industry would one be required to invest money in a tool that would help you... earn less?!

Strikes me it's a bad case of 'the tail wagging the dog'.


Sounds like you're describing my life, Tony! I totally agree with everything you said. Some time ago I worked for an agency that required Trados, but they provided the software. Even so, I never enjoyed working with it and eventually moved on. I now use Mac exclusively, and don't care that it's not Trados compatible, or whatever (to make it compatible you have to install Paralells or some other program). And yes, most of the work done by CATs doesn't interest me anyway. I'm with you, bruddah.


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 09:52
French to German
+ ...
Thank you, but... Feb 19, 2011

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

As Tony put it, this is a permanent strike - or better, a declaration of independence.


Independent from what? You already are a FREElance, so you have your independence. And as far as "expensive" CAT tools are concerned, again, we are FREElance so we are FREE to say no and not to use them or to choose an inexpensive one... it gets a bit tiring seeing this employee mentality amongst people who are supposed to be businesses, but think in terms of "slavery"... get a grip!


I think I made my paradigm shift back in August 2009, when my iMac came onboard (not exactly what one would call a "cheap computer") *. And I don't think that I ever used the word "slavery" in this thread...

* Furthermore and like Amy, I don't care about the fact that you can install a virtual Windows OS on them Macs to use Windows-specific software.


 

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 02:52
English to Swedish
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Some general replies Feb 19, 2011

(1) "A strike would be useless, inefficient"

I think it would be a way to send a clear signal to the market - agencies and CAT tool producers - that excessively expensive CAT tools are not OK and won't be accepted.


(2) "Why are you against CAT tools so much? What is the problem with CAT tools"

The issue is not CAT tools, but the _high prices_ of some CAT tools.
And especially when the market in various ways is pushin
... See more
(1) "A strike would be useless, inefficient"

I think it would be a way to send a clear signal to the market - agencies and CAT tool producers - that excessively expensive CAT tools are not OK and won't be accepted.


(2) "Why are you against CAT tools so much? What is the problem with CAT tools"

The issue is not CAT tools, but the _high prices_ of some CAT tools.
And especially when the market in various ways is pushing (many of) us to buy those CAT tools.


(3) "The price doesn't matter, as long as buying the CAT tool is a good overall business investment (in terms of increased productivity, ability to take on more projects etc.)"

Just because they CAN charge whatever price they want from us - and still get their products sold - doesn't mean the price is fair, just or reasonable. We are simply being used, and we should not accept that.


(4) "Nobody is forcing you to buy Trados. You can use one of the freeware tools or Wordfast. It's your choice and your business decision to invest in a tool like this."

We often cannot just decide whichever CAT tool to use for a specific job. Many jobs are posted as requiring TRADOS. And there is an overall push towards TRADOS on the market. More and more agencies decide to work exclusively with some specific expensive CAT tool. And, as somebody put it, "if you don't have a required CAT tool, you can't collaborate effectively and your output is likely to cause technical problems for other people."

I for instance have personally acquired Wordfast, but I am loosing many job opportunities simply because I don't have TRADOS (and, no, I won't buy it either as long as the price is outrageous, however much sense it would make from a business or investment point of view).


(5) "No one complains about the high prices of AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop, MS Word/Office etc."

That is simply not true at all.
Architects complain about the high prices of AutoCAD all the time.
Graphics artists complain about the price of Adobe Photoshop.
And people around the entire world complain about the high prices of Microsoft Office.

But more important:

Whether or not they in fact do complain - they definitely should. Because we should not accept outrageous prices simply because the manufacturers know they can charge such prices and get away with it.


(6) "The problem is not the CAT tools themselves, but the fact that agencies/companies feel they have the right to impose which tools we should use."

Yes, this is annoying, but it is especially annoying when they try to impose one of those particularly _expensive_ CAT tools. (I mean, I don't mind so much when they ask me to use a freeware.)

By striking against expensive CAT tools, we send a clear signal to the market (both agencies and CAT tool producers), that expensive CAT tools are not accepted.


(7) "A strike would be a perfect chance for someone to enter and submit a bid for a expensive-CAT-required project avoiding much competition."

Could be so in many cases. Each translator would have to make a case by case decision whether or not to boycot the relevant CAT tools for any particular job/client.


(8) "If you translate for big companies or institutions, then there are plenty of reason why they need you to use a CAT tool and need you to do it. Take it or leave it."

What is at stake here is not whether companies NEED CAT tools or not, or whether we should be working with CAT tools or not. What is at stake is the PRICE of those CAT tools and a very basic demand that those prices be fair and just.


(9) "Rather protest against the practice of agencies to unreasonably bullying us to price our services in particular ways just because we use particular CAT tools"

We should protest against that as well, but this would be a separate project/discussion.

The issue at stake here is the price of the CAT tools and the overall push of the market to require us to purchase such tools at such rates.

[Edited at 2011-02-20 00:05 GMT]
Collapse


 

Daniel García
English to Spanish
+ ...
Why do you find them expensive? Feb 19, 2011


(1) "A strike would be useless, inefficient"

I think it would be a way to send a clear signal to the market - agencies and CAT tool producers - that excessively expensive CAT tools are not OK and won't be accepted.


Hi, Thomas,

I failed to see the your reasons why you think some CAT tools are expensive.

Let's assume that you pay 1000 dollars for CAT tool that you will use for two years (until a new version is released).

That will cost you 500 dollars a year, or 41 dollars a month.

What percentage is it from the gross turnover of your business? 1%, 2%?

How does it compare to other costs? Is it that much higher than other stuff you have to pay to keep your business going?

When you run a business, you add up your costs, you calculate how much profit you want to get and then your charge your customers accordingly.

I have seen translators who charge extra if their customers required them to use tools which are not free.

Do you want a translation done in OpenOffice? Then it's 0.X per word.

Do you want a translation done in MS Word? Then it's 0.X + 10% to cover the costs of having buy the software.

If running your business has a cost, you should transfer this cost to your customers.

Daniel

PS. On the other hand, I have no idea of how much it costs to develop a CAT tool, so I can't say if they are too expensive or not. Do you know what it costs?

PPS.

(5) "No one complains about the high prices of AutoCAD, Adobe Photoshop, MS Word/Office etc."
That is simply not true at all.
And people around the entire word complain about the high prices of Microsoft Office.


To tell the truth, this is the first time I hear about complaints about the price of MS Office, specially when there are excellent open source alternatives. Do you have any links?

[Edited at 2011-02-19 22:11 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-19 23:10 GMT]


 

FarkasAndras  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:52
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Perspective Feb 19, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:

(3) "The price doesn't matter, as long as buying the CAT tool is a good overall business investment (in terms of increased productivity, ability to take on more projects etc.)"

Just because they CAN charge whatever price they want from us - and still get their products sold - doesn't mean the price is fair, just or reasonable. We are simply being used, and we should not accept that.


You seem to have trouble understanding capitalism. If they can charge what seem to be exorbitant prices and still get their products sold (without a monopoly or trust etc.) then those prices are not that exorbitant after all. Everything is worth as much as people are willing to pay for it, and apparently Trados is worth a whole lot. There's reasonably strong competition on the CAT market, I would say. Trados is by far the biggest player I believe, but not nearly a monopoly, so by and large the price is set by the market, not SDL's greed. MemoQ costs 620 Euro and I got my copy of Studio for about 350, so it's not like Trados is the only expensive CAT.

Thomas Johansson wrote:
(4) "Nobody is forcing you to buy Trados. You can use one of the freeware tools or Wordfast. It's your choice and your business decision to invest in a tool like this."

We often cannot just decide whichever CAT tool to use for a specific job.

You don't have a God-given right to do every job. Clients set conditions and requirements. If you can't or don't want to meet them, you're out. I don't see the problem with that, there's plenty other jobs left. It's your call whether you want to invest in a new tool in order to have access to certain new jobs.

Thomas Johansson wrote:
Many jobs are posted as requiring TRADOS. And there is an overall push towards TRADOS on the market. More and more agencies decide to work exclusively with some specific expensive CAT tool. And, as somebody put it, "if you don't have a required CAT tool, you can't collaborate effectively and your output is likely to cause technical problems for other people."

I for instance have personally acquired Wordfast, but I am loosing many job opportunities simply because I don't have TRADOS (and, no, I won't buy it either as long as the price is outrageous, however much sense it would make from a business or investment point of view).

Again, your call. If you find the price too high and you find that's a good enough reason to pass up a potentially lucrative business opportunity, so be it. No reason to get angry at anyone, it's your decision.

Personally, I also find Trados (and generally, CAT) pricing more than a little high, but again, it's a matter of mathemathics. If it's worth it to you, you buy it. I did, you didn't. No need to get worked up about it either way.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 08:52
Member (2004)
English to Italian
No, not slavery... Feb 19, 2011

Laurent KRAULAND wrote:

And I don't think that I ever used the word "slavery" in this thread...



just independence... because you are independent already. You can set up any business model you like... I hope you can see that.


 
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