Saturday, July 2, 2011

Work struggle

Although it’s always a bit of a struggle to find sufficient time and more important peace in this house to do the translation jobs I’ve been taking on, I’m enjoying the work. That is, I’m enjoying the translating itself. What has made the entire venture a struggle is the software scheme that surrounds the business of translating. It is based on extortion, really. Almost all jobs require translation in a specific program, SDL Trados, and it costs a fortune. There’s no competition, no way around it, no alternative programs or methods. If you want these jobs, you have to use Trados. The program costs $895!

I’m sure that using a translation memory speeds up the work significantly, and that using a termbase helps companies with consistency and improves the quality of their publications. But for someone like me, who has time but no money, this system is excluding.

So far I’ve managed to get by, by using the company’s so generously offered 30-day trial period. It has caused me a lot of trouble though, and I’ve spent significantly more time on trying to set things up, install, uninstall, download, transfer, etc. than I have spent translating. This week I was in the middle of a big job when a couple of days ago my trial version expired. So I had to download a new trial version to a different computer and transfer all the files. Turns out the new SDL Trados’ trial version doesn’t contain the old Trados version though, and that the files I’ve been working with are useless in my new trial version. The downloading part is very complicated because of our horrible, horrible internet situation (it requires me to stay up at night, for one, because that’s the only time I can even attempt such a download, and it takes time), and with this additional complication, along with some other problems, I’ve had to turn to my commissioner for help. Again.

Soon, after I’ve got paid for those first jobs I’ve done, I will be able to buy SDL Trados. As much as it hurts to have to spend such a huge chunk of money on a program that is so clearly over-prized, I don’t think I have a choice. And it’s kind of an investment, right? I just hope my contractor’s patience doesn’t run out before then.


  1. As it happens, I also translate, for the past 18 yrs or so, and I also use Trados. Why would it be so expensive for you? The prices I know never exceed 300 eur, like e.g. here:

    Or do they differentiate price by markets, but so much? I am working with Studio for the last month and am totally angry how it is not backwards compatible with the previous version, the 2007 Suite. Because some companies still use and send packages prepared in Suite, which cannot accept any more. So I am totally p...ed off and thinking of an alternative program, do not know how compatible Wordfast is but Memoq seems to work well w Trados
    Just 149 euros... and you get to test for free. Unfortunately myself I haven't yet but I suppose you can find from Web what others think of its compatibility for clients who require that you work with Trados. Because in reality they simply need a file format or a memory format and they do not really care what program you used, if you can produce that format for them.
    Otherwise (khm!) no one I know in Egypt uses any paid programs or even OS-s... 8-)

  2. Sorry, Memoq would be 620 eur... the 149eur version does not allow working with other formats than Memoq itself and also will be discontinued shortly (another buyer trap?). Ugh...