Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20] >
General strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools
Thread poster: Thomas Johansson

Riccardo Schiaffino  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:03
Member (2003)
English to Italian
+ ...
I don't understand you at all Feb 21, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:

Assume:

(1) You are required to buy the translation.

---(a) The English version is not an option (perhaps you cannot read English, or perhaps the English version only exists in a few rare and unavailable exemplars).

---(b) You are required to get the translation (perhaps you're a student and your course requires you to read the book, for some reason).

(2) The fees of all available translator are excessively high

---They charge, say, 2-10 times more than reasonable (depending on what you think is a reasonable hourly income for a translator).


In this case, wouldn't you think there is something strange and unfair going on here?

Whether a STRIKE would be feasible in this sort of situation and how it would be implemented, I don't know, but obviously something wrong is going on and, if possible, you and others (like your fellow-students) should better take some sort of action in this situation.


1) A strike is something employees do against employers. Not something purchasers do against suppliers.

2) A subjective concept as "reasonableness" has nothing to do with prices. A price is something at which a good or service is offered. If the seller finds buyers who agree the good or service at that price, then the sale is completed, otherwise the seller has the option of either lowering his price until he finds a price at which buyers are willing to purchase, or he might decide not to sell the service or good at all. In the case I outlined in my example, the price for translating a book might very well be hundred of times higher than the purhcaser is willing to pay. It is not up to him to cry "foul" and say that the price asked is unreasonable and that the translation should be done at a lower price (because, as in your counterexample, the would-be purchaser of the translation is a poor translator who absolutely has to have that book translated).

3) It is not "obvious" at all that something wrong is going on.

I absolutely need to read a book that only you can translate. The book is 500 pages long, 100,000 words total. I know that the book in the original language costs 10 dollars from the publisher. I also have seen that it was translated into Spanish, and I could purchase the Spanish edition for 15 dollars. Unfortunately, I don't read neither the original language, not Spanish. I could read the book only if you agree to translate it for me. I feel extremely generous: whereas the Spanish translation is priced at 15 dollars, I'm willing to pay to you up to 100 dollars. If you don't translate the book, I won't be able to graduate.

Will you translate the book for me for 100 dollars, or less, or not?

Going back to translation tools: it is not at all true that there is no alternative to Trados: there are dozens of different translation tools, from free ones, to others that are several times as expensive as Trados.

If you don't want to buy Trados, you are free not to do so. It is your choice.

If SDL doesn't want to sell Trados for 100 dollars, they are free not to sell it at that price. It is their choice.

If an agency, decides they want to deal only with translators who can send them Trados bilingual files, the agency is perfectly free to set such a condition. It is their choice.

If you want to work for that agency, and, without purchasing Trados, you are still able to send me Trados bilingual files that fulfill the agency's requirements, you are free to do so. It is your choice.

If you want to work for an agency that requires Trados bilingual files, but are not willing either to purchase Trados nor to find an alternate workflow to create Trados bilingual files, you cannot demand that the agency changes their requirements, nor that SDL sells you their software at a price not set by them. It is NOT your choice.


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Similar prices? Feb 21, 2011

[quote]Jabberwock wrote:

Thomas Johansson wrote:

And with regard to this particular issue, one thing I see, at least, is that there are several good CAT tools available on the market for free or at very low prices. Therefore, I am not sure how TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools can justify their high prices in terms of real underlying development costs.


The only problem is that those free or low-price tools cannot really replace the expensive ones in terms of functionality. Please note that this means both functionality on the translator's side and on the agency/end-client side - both are equally important! On the other hand, those packages that do provide similar set of features (and there are more than one, so competition does work here), tend to have similar prices.


I'm not so sure prices are that similar. I don't really need anything more than what Wordfast offers - but I admit that this could be different for someone who works with technical texts. Just like any other business, we don't wanna spend more than we have to. If a cheaper tool give us all we need, why should we pay more?

But another thing we should discuss is the fact that certain agencies are getting paid commission to force their translators to buy specific CAT Tools. They are acting like vendors, and make their long term translators feel forced to buy something very expensive they might not need (maybe they already use a different tool) with a very clear threat: you must buy it or you'll lose us as clients. Am I the only one who thinks that's wrong?

They're often not very transparent about the fact that they're getting anything out of these sales. It has happened to me, so it must happen to other people: "You will get a lot of work from us, but we only work with this tool. Fortunately, we have a deal and our translators get a discount".

I think that's the main issue here. I think 'strike' is not the term, but 'boycott'?

A lot of people like to say "this is business". Exactly, and we are the core of the business, there's no translation business without us, so should have a say.




[Edited at 2011-02-21 01:00 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-21 01:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-21 01:01 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-21 01:05 GMT]


 

John Fossey  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 06:03
Member (2008)
French to English
Higher cost = higher price Feb 21, 2011

Translators should just charge more when an outsourcer demands that an expensive CAT tool be used. How would they react to being told "I have to charge an extra $0.05 per word to offset the cost of the software"?

Seems better than a "boycott", which doesn't make much sense. How can a supplier "boycott" their clients?

But if a client demands the use of a more expensive process than the supplier would otherwise use, it would be quite normal for any supplier just to p
... See more
Translators should just charge more when an outsourcer demands that an expensive CAT tool be used. How would they react to being told "I have to charge an extra $0.05 per word to offset the cost of the software"?

Seems better than a "boycott", which doesn't make much sense. How can a supplier "boycott" their clients?

But if a client demands the use of a more expensive process than the supplier would otherwise use, it would be quite normal for any supplier just to pass the cost on. Who knows, if the outsourcer badly wants you, in particular, to do the job, they might even be willing to pay the higher price...
Collapse


 

Laurent KRAULAND (X)  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 12:03
French to German
+ ...
Agencies as CAT tools vendors? Feb 21, 2011

Paula Borges wrote:
(.../...)
But another thing we should discuss is the fact that certain agencies are getting paid commission to force their translators to buy specific CAT Tools. They are acting like vendors, and make their long term translators feel forced to buy something very expensive they might not need (maybe they already use a different tool) with a very clear threat: you must buy it or you'll lose us as clients. Am I the only one who thinks that's wrong?

(.../...)


I know of one big, multinational agency (which isn't allowed to post jobs on ProZ.com at the moment) which shifted from Trados to Wordfast Pro because the workflow involving bilingual files was not comprised in the regular Studio procedures. Note: Wordfast Anywhere can work with WFP formats.

Another agency, still for the same reason (bilingual files! - who invented this, by the way?), is now taking its distances with Trados, which is kept only because some end clients have invested in it. This second agency now goes towards MemoQ and offers alternatives such as a floating licence to the full purchase. Studio is not at all on its radar.

Other agencies (among them privileged SDL Trados partners) simply do the upgrade from the old Trados versions to Studio. They either offer special prices for the purchase of this software - about the half of the RMP for a licence - or suggest that translators should use the Starter version of Studio.

In the meantime, SDL Trados repeat over and over again that TagEditor is obsolete, that support will not be provided anymore soon etc. while some agencies (they should be a minority by now) still ask to be delivered .bak files!

Just as a quick reminder, the workflow consisting in the steps mentioned below:

1) conversion of the SL file to the internal format of the CAT tool
2) translation and QA with the CAT in the internal format
3) conversion from the CAT's internal format back to the original one (monolingual file in the TL)

has been around for much longer than the latest version of Trados.

Can anybody make sense out of this? To me, it means that some agencies at least have become aware of the cost aspect of "constantly buying new tools" and that they begin to fear the consequences of this escalation, one of those being that good translators will throw the towel and stop working with them because of thisisms and thatisms regarding CAT tools.

And given the position in which they put themselves as per prices, these agencies have no possibilities - except those mentioned above - to make these changes palatable to translators.

NB/PS: I am of course not speaking of those unprofessional intermediaries whose credo was, is and always will be My way or the highway - even if they don't own a copy, let alone a licence, of any major CAT tool (yes, such agencies exist!)...

[Edited at 2011-02-21 07:37 GMT]


 

Alexey Ivanov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 13:03
English to Russian
Hear, hear Feb 21, 2011

Jabberwock wrote:

....
The only problem is that those free or low-price tools cannot really replace the expensive ones in terms of functionality. Please note that this means both functionality on the translator's side and on the agency/end-client side - both are equally important! On the other hand, those packages that do provide similar set of features (and there are more than one, so competition does work here), tend to have similar prices.


Jabberwock,
You are the first person to mention the real reason behind insistence on us translators using a particular CAT tool on the part of the agencies. Indeed, to see the whole picture we also have to take into account the functionalities required on the agency/end client side. Among my regular clients is a big agency (about 60 PMs) for whom I work almost daily doing service bulletins and release notes about their equipment. I also do big owner’s manuals for them and the last few years I am receiving more and more often requests for translation/editing small excerpts of the annual updates to the manuals, extracted from the complete version. They also send me complete new versions in TTX after running the new text against the TM for proofreading. I understand they use Trados Enterprise for processing the new text after extracting it from the DTP application format. Surely, it saves them a lot of money. But besides that their end clients (2 major car brands) have their own content management systems for the same service bulletins and for many other documents in every language, where all the frequently occurring words and elements stored in their system do not need translation as they are automatically inserted into the document instead of placeholders. The agency’s translation software and the end user content management system must be compatible. Apparently Trados is compatible with it. And to complete the chain the translator’s software must be the same as the software used by the agency. That’s why they insist on using Trados. Remember: “He, who pays the piper, calls the tune.” And whatever anyone may say against Trados, it is the industry’s standard, because it is the tool that answers the requirements of the agencies and end clients best of all other tools in the market.

You may protest or declare strikes against these policies of the agencies till you are blue in the face, but it will not change the fact.
I personally find CAT tools a great advantage, and today my preferred tool is Trados Studio, though I also have licenses for DVX, Alchemy Catalyst and Publisher, and Heartsome.
As to expensiveness. I don’t grudge the expense as I consider they repaid themselves (except for Heartsome) many times over, because I used one or the other for every job in the last 8-10 years and saved a lot of time.

Of course, you can refuse to use the tool you don’t want to use, whatever the reason may be. That’s your sacred right. As well as the right not to use any tools at all. But make sure that it does not turn into a case of cutting off your nose to spite your eye. Be practical.


 

Jaroslaw Michalak  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:03
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Go with the workflow Feb 21, 2011

Laurent and Alexey are actually writing about the same thing: the need for agencies (and end clients) to develop and maintain internal workflows.

That is exactly why the adoption rate for Studio is so low (out of all my clients only one made the switch!). Agencies/end clients have well-proven mechanisms for processing translation files and are rather unwilling to change it. Don't fix it, if it ain't broken... For the same reason large companies skip some upgrade steps (e.g. one or t
... See more
Laurent and Alexey are actually writing about the same thing: the need for agencies (and end clients) to develop and maintain internal workflows.

That is exactly why the adoption rate for Studio is so low (out of all my clients only one made the switch!). Agencies/end clients have well-proven mechanisms for processing translation files and are rather unwilling to change it. Don't fix it, if it ain't broken... For the same reason large companies skip some upgrade steps (e.g. one or two versions of Windows), as the costs related to changes in the internal workflows would easily exceed the possible benefits.

This also shows that the influence that SDL has over the agencies is much exaggerated. Otherwise they would require the translators to switch to Studio as soon as possible. Instead, they insist on using methods that SDL would gladly have them forget about, as they create numerous support problems - cries for help from Studio owners who try to process bilingual doc files are a daily sight.

There is no doubt that things will change: formats get obsolete after all. (By the way, one factor for slow adoption of Studio, probably unforeseen by SDL, is the fact that you can process new Word files with old Trados - before each change in Word format made upgrade of CAT tools necessary.) When agencies will be no longer able to cater to the needs of their clients, they will make the switch. However, it is rather debatable if they all go Trados again - the costs of the lock-in are too high.

I suppose there will be move toward more open solutions, mostly xliff. I have already seen an interesting example of what a future might be: one of my clients has all source files internalized in their system. I can translate it online or grab it as ttx, bilingual doc file, XLIFF - you name it. It is not a perfect system (segmentation is fixed, so rephrasing without joining/splitting segments is rather difficult), but decidedly more flexible than "must use Trados". If that is the way things will be, then indeed you will be able to pay for your tool what you want - or nothing at all.
Collapse


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
But that isn't what happens Feb 21, 2011

John Fossey wrote:

Translators should just charge more when an outsourcer demands that an expensive CAT tool be used. How would they react to being told "I have to charge an extra $0.05 per word to offset the cost of the software"?

Seems better than a "boycott", which doesn't make much sense. How can a supplier "boycott" their clients?

But if a client demands the use of a more expensive process than the supplier would otherwise use, it would be quite normal for any supplier just to pass the cost on. Who knows, if the outsourcer badly wants you, in particular, to do the job, they might even be willing to pay the higher price...


That would be great, but generally they want you to buy something expensive so they can pay you less.

I have tried it and it didn't work, they simply said "what's the point of 100% match discounts if your rates are higher?"

A lot of agencies are indeed stepping away, probably because so many translators do not buy the tool anymore.

But have I seen agencies acting like vendors? Countless times. Offering discounts and hosting events to explain how great the tool is - why would they spend money on these events if they weren't getting anything out of it?

There's a big one here that focus mostly on selling the tool, translation is not their focus anymore. They are often emailing random people who aren't translators saying "did you know you can make a lot of money translating for us? All you have to do is buy this tool". They'd send you a few assignments and then say "There's a lot more where that came from, as long as you buy this from us".

Wordfast is getting more and more popular around here. You're probably right when you say agencies are starting to consider the "upgrading factor" and how much it really costs.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
Member (2004)
English to Italian
still don't understand... Feb 21, 2011

if an agency proposes you discounts for fuzzies, etc., jut increase your rate. They have a right to ask for discounts and you are free to ask for a certain rate. Where's the problem?

 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:03
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
@Paula Feb 21, 2011

Paula Borges wrote:
That would be great, but generally they want you to buy something expensive so they can pay you less.


No. You put in the same (approximately, of course) amount of time and effort to earn the same money when you work for clients who don't require CATs, and for those who do. If your work doesn't include a lot of repetition, then you don't need to worry about fuzzy discounts.


Wordfast is getting more and more popular around here. You're probably right when you say agencies are starting to consider the "upgrading factor" and how much it really costs.


The difference in the official prices of Wordfast Classic + Pro and SDL Trados Studio is about EUR 350. The expense is tax-deductible and you make it once in two years (if you want to keep up with upgrades) or less often. Is that really such a problem?


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The problem Feb 21, 2011

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL wrote:

if an agency proposes you discounts for fuzzies, etc., jut increase your rate. They have a right to ask for discounts and you are free to ask for a certain rate. Where's the problem?


The problem is that they will probably say no and you might end up losing a client.

Introducing new discounts for fuzzies, etc. helps an agency maximize their profits. If you have been working with them and decide you will have to increase your rates, how exactly are they maximizing their profit margin?

From a business perspective, it doesn't make that much sense to regularly spend a lot of money to be paid less. I'd choose a cheaper tool to minimize my loss.

But I think this isn't the point of the thread. It is not about discounts but the fact that many of us feel pressured to purchase an expensive tool when we're more comfortable with other cheaper tools. Or maybe we've invested money and time learning how to work with a specific tool and then we're expected to switch.

We're not saying Trados isn't great - we're simply saying there are other alternatives and not everybody needs it.

I'm glad most of my clients are understanding in that sense, but each one of them tries to convince you to get this or that tool - if I didn't resist I would have three or four different tools by now. How much would that cost?


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Difference Feb 21, 2011

Adam Łobatiuk wrote:

Paula Borges wrote:
That would be great, but generally they want you to buy something expensive so they can pay you less.


No. You put in the same (approximately, of course) amount of time and effort to earn the same money when you work for clients who don't require CATs, and for those who do. If your work doesn't include a lot of repetition, then you don't need to worry about fuzzy discounts.


Wordfast is getting more and more popular around here. You're probably right when you say agencies are starting to consider the "upgrading factor" and how much it really costs.


The difference in the official prices of Wordfast Classic + Pro and SDL Trados Studio is about EUR 350. The expense is tax-deductible and you make it once in two years (if you want to keep up with upgrades) or less often. Is that really such a problem?


I guess it depends where you are. Certain tools are much cheaper in certain countries, many of them offer a discount for translators located in developing countries. From Brazil, the difference is WAY more significant than that. Also, none of those expenses are tax-deductible here, and I suppose it's the same in many other places. You must consider that taxes are much higher in certain places too. Not to mention currency issues, in certain places and periods, 350 EUR can be a small fortune.

Also, who am I to judge, but 350EUR doesn't seem that insignificant, especially if you consider the need to renew those licenses. You can actually pay a new CPD course every year with that amount.

Just like you said, my work doesn't involve a lot of repetition - so I don't really need to invest a lot in that sense - Wordfast does the trick for me.

I think CAT tools are great, I just don't appreciate the pressure. I should be allowed to choose which one is the best for me.

[Edited at 2011-02-21 15:10 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-21 15:17 GMT]

[Edited at 2011-02-21 15:20 GMT]


 

Adam Łobatiuk  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 12:03
Member (2009)
English to Polish
+ ...
@Paula Feb 21, 2011

Paula Borges wrote:


I guess it depends where you are. Certain tools are much cheaper in certain countries, many of them offer a discount for translators located in developing countries. From Brazil, the difference is WAY more significant than that. Also, none of those expenses are tax-deductible here, and I suppose it's the same in many other places. You must consider that taxes are much higher in certain places too. Not to mention currency issues, in certain places and periods, 350 EUR can be a small fortune.


That's right, I forgot about the developing countries discount, which also applies to my country. 350 EUR is a lot of money also here, but it could still amount to one or a few jobs over at least two years. If you can get more business with Trados, I think it's worth the investment.

Can't you really deduct working software from your income as a registered entrepreneur?


Also, who am I to judge, but 350EUR doesn't seem that insignificant, especially if you consider the need to renew those licenses. You can actually pay a new CPD course every year with that amount.


But you don't need to renew your Trados license. It's a Wordfast idea.


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No deductions Feb 21, 2011

Adam Łobatiuk wrote:

Paula Borges wrote:


I guess it depends where you are. Certain tools are much cheaper in certain countries, many of them offer a discount for translators located in developing countries. From Brazil, the difference is WAY more significant than that. Also, none of those expenses are tax-deductible here, and I suppose it's the same in many other places. You must consider that taxes are much higher in certain places too. Not to mention currency issues, in certain places and periods, 350 EUR can be a small fortune.


That's right, I forgot about the developing countries discount, which also applies to my country. 350 EUR is a lot of money also here, but it could still amount to one or a few jobs over at least two years. If you can get more business with Trados, I think it's worth the investment.

Can't you really deduct working software from your income as a registered entrepreneur?


Also, who am I to judge, but 350EUR doesn't seem that insignificant, especially if you consider the need to renew those licenses. You can actually pay a new CPD course every year with that amount.


But you don't need to renew your Trados license. It's a Wordfast idea.


No we cannot deduct anything, nothing, nada, except for education. We can't even be "registered entrepreneurs", it only really works out if you register as a proper business - this means no threshold, every single invoice is subject to VAT-like taxes (there are many), regardless of your income...

Considering the need to pay back student loans and the cost of education, I think most young translators would prefer saving up for qualifications rather than investing in software.

A few years ago, I invested good money and a lot of time in a Wordfast course, so I've been comfortable working with it ever since. I think anyone should choose the tool they prefer. The "no Trados, no work" makes no sense to me - sometimes the agency owner doesn't even know what he/she is talking about, but heard a rumour that if you have Trados your work is supposed to be better somehow.

But I have to admit it's not only Trados. Different agencies have been endorsing different tools, imagine if we really had to buy all of them.


 

Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:03
Member (2004)
English to Italian
The problem #2 Feb 21, 2011

Paula Borges wrote:

The problem is that they will probably say no and you might end up losing a client.


Their loss! They usually come back...


Introducing new discounts for fuzzies, etc. helps an agency maximize their profits. If you have been working with them and decide you will have to increase your rates, how exactly are they maximizing their profit margin?


They want to maximize their profits... so do I... if they don't get this simple concept, they can go somewhere else...


From a business perspective, it doesn't make that much sense to regularly spend a lot of money to be paid less. I'd choose a cheaper tool to minimize my loss.


I spend about £150 everytime I upgrade to a new version of Trados... doesn't seem a lot of money to me. And I'm not paid less, because I charge more and work faster.


We're not saying Trados isn't great - we're simply saying there are other alternatives and not everybody needs it.


All my clients work with Trados, so I don't have that problem...

There is only one agency who introduced the Trados discounts recently and I did dot increase my rates, but that because they don't ask for them for all projects... do you know how much more money I made by using Trados for projects with many repetitions which didn't involve discounts? Lots... so, it's not all negative...


 

Paula Borges  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 07:03
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
But why does it have to be Trados? Feb 21, 2011

That's the issue. Each person has different needs and might find another tool more suitable.

I tried it and found it way to complicated. As I don't work with technical texts, Wordfast seems effective and simple enough, so I can focus on my work rather than learning how to use the tool. I'm sure other tools work just as well, but I've already invested my time and money and won't consider getting a new one, at least not before my license expires, for obvious reasons.

Diff
... See more
That's the issue. Each person has different needs and might find another tool more suitable.

I tried it and found it way to complicated. As I don't work with technical texts, Wordfast seems effective and simple enough, so I can focus on my work rather than learning how to use the tool. I'm sure other tools work just as well, but I've already invested my time and money and won't consider getting a new one, at least not before my license expires, for obvious reasons.

Different tools are designed for people with different needs. Ultimately, all of them improve your speed and consistency, so why can't we choose one according to our needs?
If you really need all that, go for it. But I don't understand why certain clients have been trying to tell me that if I purchase Trados translating magazine articles and newsletters will be so much quicker.
Collapse


 
Pages in topic:   < [1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

General strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools

Advanced search







PerfectIt consistency checker
Faster Checking, Greater Accuracy

PerfectIt helps deliver error-free documents. It improves consistency, ensures quality and helps to enforce style guides. It’s a powerful tool for pro users, and comes with the assurance of a 30-day money back guarantee.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search