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

Thomas Johansson  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 08:19
Member (2005)
English to Swedish
+ ...
Feb 18, 2011

Ok, I'll just throw it out:

Let's call a strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools. Something like the following:

Which CAT tools?
Any expensive CAT tools.
As a pragmatic definition of "expensive CAT tool", I suggest: Any CAT tools that cost more than 100 euro for a permanent license or more than 50 euro per year for an annual license. (Or propose another definition!)

When?
First on a specific day (e.g. March 1), later a specific week (e.g. March 21-27), then specific months (e.g. May, August, November, February) etc. During the designated time periods, those who decide to join the strike try, in so far as possible, to refuse to accept any jobs with the CAT tools concerned (suggestion: advise your clients in advance).

Who?
Any translator who likes joins the strike.

What do you think? Would a strike be justified? Would it have any sort of effect? Is the definition of an expensive CAT tool reasonable and justified?


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Mykhailo Voloshko  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 15:19
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
low rates Feb 18, 2011

We'd better strike against low rates, against those who offer and accept them, but it's useless

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Ricardo Gouveia  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:19
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Perfect chance Feb 18, 2011

Perfect chance for someone to enter and submit a bid for a expensive-CAT-required project avoiding many competition.

Not that I agree with paying something like 1000 Euros for a CAT tool, mainly because I do not have such financial resources that allow me to invest yearly thousand euros; but most CAT tools are somewhat expensive for what they offer, and in my humble opinion believe they should be less expensive.
I agree with your proposal, please do not think otherwise, I just wanted to state a negative side.

Anyways, I am wishing the purpose and the strike the best of lucks.


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Neil Coffey  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:19
French to English
+ ...
Depends... Feb 18, 2011

I think the different issues need separating out here.

In principle, a tool that costs, say, a thousand Euros but then doubles your productivity would not be considered expensive by many. (I've no idea if the "expensive CAT tool" in question actually improves productivity, but I'm saying in principle.)

But whether the CAT tool costs a thousand Euros or is freeware, what I think is worth "striking" over is what seems for some inexplicable reason to have become an accepted de facto practice of using the CAT tool as an excuse to bludgeon translators into slavery or remove their right to negotiation as businesspeople.

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...


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Susan Serbey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
English to French
I agree, they are expensive, especially for freelance translatores Feb 18, 2011

Thomas Johansson wrote:

Ok, I'll just throw it out:

Let's call a strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools. Something like the following:

Which CAT tools?
Any expensive CAT tools.
As a pragmatic definition of "expensive CAT tool", I suggest: Any CAT tools that cost more than 100 euro for a permanent license or more than 50 euro per year for an annual license. (Or propose another definition!)

When?
First on a specific day (e.g. March 1), later a specific week (e.g. March 21-27), then specific months (e.g. May, August, November, February) etc. During the designated time periods, those who decide to join the strike try, in so far as possible, to refuse to accept any jobs with the CAT tools concerned (suggestion: advise your clients in advance).

Who?
Any translator who likes joins the strike.

What do you think? Would a strike be justified? Would it have any sort of effect? Is the definition of an expensive CAT tool reasonable and justified?


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Susan Serbey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
English to French
I'm with you Thomas Feb 18, 2011

Susan Serbey wrote:

Thomas Johansson wrote:

Ok, I'll just throw it out:

Let's call a strike against TRADOS and other expensive CAT tools. Something like the following:

Which CAT tools?
Any expensive CAT tools.
As a pragmatic definition of "expensive CAT tool", I suggest: Any CAT tools that cost more than 100 euro for a permanent license or more than 50 euro per year for an annual license. (Or propose another definition!)

When?
First on a specific day (e.g. March 1), later a specific week (e.g. March 21-27), then specific months (e.g. May, August, November, February) etc. During the designated time periods, those who decide to join the strike try, in so far as possible, to refuse to accept any jobs with the CAT tools concerned (suggestion: advise your clients in advance).

Who?
Any translator who likes joins the strike.

What do you think? Would a strike be justified? Would it have any sort of effect? Is the definition of an expensive CAT tool reasonable and justified?


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Tony M  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
Member
French to English
+ ...
I'm on permanent strike! Feb 18, 2011

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'.

Regarding rates, it's really no use bleating; the best thing is simply to say 'no' — and explain why.


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Hepburn  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
English to French
+ ...
I agree Feb 18, 2011

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


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Lingua 5B  Identity Verified
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Local time: 14:19
English to Croatian
+ ...
Fully agree. Feb 19, 2011

Mykhailo Voloshko wrote:

We'd better strike against low rates, against those who offer and accept them, but it's useless


CAT tools and their prices ( one-time investment) are nothing comparing to this. This is an ongoing problem in the industry.


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Jabberwock  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 14:19
Member (2004)
English to Polish
Been there, done that Feb 19, 2011

Make sure you bring your sabots...

Oh, by the way, a computer is more expensive than a pen. You could strike against that as well.


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Sheila Gomes  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 11:19
English to Portuguese
Free CAT (or TenT?) Feb 19, 2011

That's why I've adopted Omega T, which is free, as my CAT tool (or as some people are now calling them, a Translation Environment Tool, or TEnT) of choice. Not only because I did not want to pay absurd sums of money for more trouble than I need, but also because it's so straightforward and practical, and works with almost any document format nowadays. I do recommend it (download at www.omegat.org).

And I also endorse the "upheaval" against Trados, in the same sense I support open-source software, which defies the giants that are top of the market mostly because they just got there first, not for the quality of the products they offer.


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Nadejda Vega Cespedes  Identity Verified

Local time: 14:19
Spanish to Russian
+ ...
What is your definition of expensive? Feb 19, 2011

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.

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Lutz Molderings  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:19
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
pointless Feb 19, 2011

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.

If you look up the definition of price, you will find that the strikers amongst us have basically already had their say in price formation.

Those of us who think 500 Euro is too much for a CAT tool will opt for something cheaper or even free. I think there are plenty of tools for every budget.


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JH Trads  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:19
Member (2007)
English to French
+ ...
revealing ! Feb 19, 2011

"I think I'd rather organise a strike against the cost of quality shaving blades"
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Interesting comparison...In fact, fascinating !

Let us see a definition of the Gillette business model:

"Gillette is widely credited with inventing the so-called razor and blades business model, where razors are sold cheaply to increase the market for blades"

The comparison is not completely fair though, because shaving with any random old knife would be a tangible and clear-cut disadvantage; and Procter&Gamble (parent company of Gillette) would be on the shy side here: it is true that one has to replace the blades quite often, but, as far as I know, PG it is not selling us multilevel certifications that would allow us to prove how keen is our understanding of the inner mechanics of the new blades


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Laurent KRAULAND  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:19
French to German
+ ...
What happens in my workshop... Feb 19, 2011

First of all, thanks to Thomas for bringing up this matter.

From a general point of view, my policy is that what happens in my workshop is none of the customer's business. Whether I use a CAT / TEnT or not for any kind of "regular" job depends on my own case-by-case analysis (which is part of the expertise I can offer). Customers will receive their file(s) in the target language, not less and sometimes not more.

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

[Edited at 2011-02-19 09:15 GMT]


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