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(Unfortunately, a major customer of mine switched to Across some time ago, and I had little choice but to go along. My previous experience with Across had already placed it on my blacklist, and I had made it a rule to refuse any offers that involve Across.)
First, there's the mere size of it. On my system, the Basic Edition of V7 claims 1.17 GB (!) according to the "Programs and Features" of the Windows Control Panel. Seeing that number alone, you know that shit gonna be bad. It will also slurp up your memory (currently running at 467 MB, together with its satellites, making Chrome's memory usage a laugh). On slightly older computers, Across will cripple the whole system, especially during uploads and downloads (stop your music).
Then, it co-installs a spy-ish application called CodeMeter which is unclear as far at its intentions are concerned, and without which it will not run.
You will be working directly through your client's server and speed will very much depend on your connection and on how that server feels. This may compromise the whole application to a great degree; the very concept is a guarantee for super slow working pace.
In order to start working, you will have to retrieve orders from the client's server. The process is slow and it is totally unclear what is being downloaded and where it is stored, or even what the use of that procedure may be.
In fact, you have no local control whatsoever of the material you are working on. There is no memory on your system, there are no files for you to use on your disk, and there is no archive of any previous order. Any work you do just vanishes though your internet connection with the client's server and there is no reward in the form of any library on your local disk. Every string translated is simply donated to the client's server. There is no export function that will allow you to keep a local copy of your work (except as stated below).
The interface is sloppy and counter-productive. There is an overview of the strings of the texts in which you cannot directly work; instead, for inexplicable reasons you have to edit texts in a separate pane. This may not be the worst of all disadvantages, but it sure ranks high on the ladder of stupidity.
Quality assurance features (number checks, tag verification, term recognition, spelling) are many, but far too cumbersome to be happy about.
Term recognition is quite useless, as it is not aware e.g of cases of nouns in languages that have declensions.
Spelling correction is as slow as one can possibly imagine, positively reaching the "I wouldn't bother if I cared" level. You can either correct or add spelling mistakes; the option to ignore unknown words (names!) in the whole text is not included.
In fact, the only way to use Across is to avoid using it as much as possible.
There is, however, one one single ray of light in this darkness: through the "Correction Mode" pane, you can generate a side-by-side overview of all strings in HTML that can subsequently be imported into other programs (e.g., Word) and then translated using other translation tools; you will just need to take the time to copy your translation back into Across on a phrase-by-phrase base when you are finished. This way, you can speed up the translating process with Across, so that it may perhaps take less than ten times more of your precious time than any other tool, but it will also reward you with your own translation memory for future use.
7 out of 8 found this review helpful.
4 out of 5
How easy is it to learn?
Best Across version so far
ticlatan . Having used various Across versions since Across v3, I was really looking forward to the new version. So here are some of my observations (most of which also apply to previous versions):
I use both the client mode (for 3 customers) and the standalone mode (for many other customers). I've helped other translators to get started with Across, and I must say that the learning process is quite straightforward; translators usually start getting productive within a few minutes after they've installed the system.
Use of the translation memory and of the terminology database is highly intuitive. However, some initial guidance is needed (and is provided in the documentation) to understand how external TMs and terminology databases can be imported (i.e. for a specific customer, project, subject, etc.).
The documentation is easy to understand and very comprehensive.
Support is readily provided. If you experience a problem and submit a ticket, they will help you until your problem is really solved.
The reports generated by Across are very informative. Once you check in a file, the report will indicate how much work you are actually looking at (pre-translations? repetitions? fuzzy matches?).
Data exchange with customers/suppliers who do NOT use Across is very easy using exchange formats such as XLIFF and TMX.
All in all, why doesn't Across deserve five stars? Here are my reasons:
1. The import of very large TMX files simply takes too long (other TM systems enable on-the-fly integration).
2. I hate the subscription model, and I know other translators who feel the same way. Even Microsoft has returned to offering a conventional purchase model alongside its subscription model.
3. Why does the input window have to be separate from the display window? Input and display should take place in the same window!
4. Across has improved the arrangement of its settings, but the user settings and system settings are still overloaded.
Despite these points of criticism, I believe that Across is the best CAT system on the market. Basically, all CAT systems offer a similar functionality spectrum, but to me, Across is the most successful in terms of how it delivers the functionality to the users.