Just wanted to write a few words about buying Trados (“T”), which is a kind of a milestone for me because I’ve been avoiding using it in a hope that I could just wait until CAT tools become totally interoperable. In this post, I share my mixed feelings about this purchase.
What I Don’t Like about It
T is a great translator productivity tool except for two things. First, since it’s a de-facto industry standard, many translation agencies use it and ask their translators to buy and use it as well. I’m already proficient with the CAT tool I like and don’t want to use a different tool because this will slow me down. The time I’ll waste on figuring out T is better spent on more value-adding tasks. Second and most important, its price is exorbitant. Making a huge investment in something that you actually don’t need is kind of a challenge.
Struggling without T
The great program we use for translation, OmegaT, supports Trados, including the most recent version. That is, you can translate T files with some limitations. The challenge is that you still need T to have a look at the translated files. This is critical because OmegaT is not 100% compatible with T, which occasionally results in technical problems with the translated files. You won’t notice those problems unless you use T to look at the translated files. For quite some time, I’ve been using various workarounds, but because of a few major issues, I decided this resistance no longer made financial sense.
As soon as the next promotion started, I got T at a very generous discount. Even though it was twice as much as MS Office, this was the price I’m actually prepared to pay for professional software.
Usually, I’m quite compelled to learn a new productivity software that I get my hands on. But not this time. To be able to use T in a team environment, I need to purchase a team license for each PC. The license price is exorbitant. While a freelance version costs €802, the team version costs the staggering €3,225. There is no way I’m buying several licenses at this price. It’s hard to even consider buying when the free OmegaT offers the same or even better functionality for team projects. This means that I’ll use T just for the tasks that I can’t accomplish with other tools such as reviewing the translated files.
The bottom line is that even if T it’s a great and popular tool, the price is completely prohibitive for small players like me. SDL claims 80% of translation supply chain use it. Are these 80% really happy about this pricing? The rates in the translation industry are dropping and so are margins. Why people keep buying T (and thus directly or indirectly forcing other people to buy it) instead of looking at less expensive and even free alternatives is a mystery to me.
For more information about using OmegaT in a team environment, check out this post about how the team project function in OmegaT works.
Do you use Trados in your work? Or maybe you have an interesting workaround? Please share in the comments.