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Would you pay to work for a translation agency? March 25, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tools, Translation.
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There is a very interesting discussion going on at ProZ.com at the moment about Lionbridge’s new plan to have its translators pay a subscription in order to use its tool, Logoport. In other words, translators will now have to pay Lionbridge a subscription in order to be able to work with a system that “has no visible benefits for translators and all the benefits for Lionbridge!”

They are known to be one of LSPs on the lower end of the pay spectrum, so I highly doubt they will be willing to allow their translators to adjust their word rates to factor in the cost of the subscription fee. I can’t imagine this going over very well with its translators, and will not be surprised if it backfires on them. As one translator stated in the discussion, “Working for a low rate, being forced to use their proprietary tool, and being forced to be a customer to their CAT tool business as part of the deal is not quite my idea of an interesting customer…” My issue is that no client should be allowed to force its freelancers to use a tool in order to work with it. If they do, that makes us quasi employees.

Logoport is apparently a “one-way, Internet-based” system. My big question with this Internet-based systems is how can the client maintain quality? For example, I use Trados. When I translate, I translate a rough draft first and then go back, edit it (sometimes several times) and clean it up into the TM. I then edit it one more time to make sure the text flows and sounds like a native English text. I frequently find typos or duplicate words that I missed the first or second time around. A one-way, Internet-based system does not allow that freedom and control that I need to deliver a quality translation.

No thanks, Lionbridge!

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Comments»

1. Globalme - March 25, 2010

This sounds quite strange and it probably won’t gain much interest from translators.
I do not know about Logoport but some other Internet-based systems (such as GlobalSight) do allow offline work. You can download the text as an RTF file which will also include fuzzy matches from the TM. You can then translate this file with your CAT tool of your choice and upload it back to the system.

2. indonesian translator - March 25, 2010

It is ridicilous idea. Translators who work, translators who pay? I would definitely say no, and find another agency, use another tool or find direct client.

3. Dutch translator - March 25, 2010

Absolutely: don’t bother. They need us more than we need them, especially for less common languages.

4. Dondu. N. Raghavan - March 25, 2010

This outsourcer’s rates are too low. They approached me once or twice for English to Tamil translation and offered to pay me one Rupee per word (1 Euro = 62 Rupees) which they considered to be very generous.

There you are.

Regards,
N. Raghavan

5. translatormum - March 26, 2010

Aside from your other arguments: Logoport is not a one-way system. It works almost exactly like Trados. Translators work in Word or a Tag Editor-like tool and have every opportunity they need to read, re-read and correct their translation. The main difference with Trados is that the TMs are stored centrally, on a Lionbridge server. There are downsides to this, but also advantages. Logoport has an in-built function to batch-convert documents that have been edited in Trados to Logoport (and vice-versa), so translators can easily clean their translations into their own Trados TMs.

So, all is not as bad as it seems. As for wanting to pay? I’m not sure what I think about that. SDLx isn’t free either. However, I do have a problem with the fact that more and more agencies impose not only the tools we have to use, but also things like the invoicing environment. It makes life unnessicarily complicated.

6. Kevin Lossner - March 27, 2010

It’s the next logical step in digital sharecropping.

7. Jenia Laszlo - March 28, 2010

@translatormum: you raise an important point – in a modern day’s translator toolkit, are the main tools of trade free? As you said, Trados is not free either. Do people see paying for Trados as paying to work for SDL? I have not heard about it in that context.

What makes it hard on translators is that the switch is happening by announcement, and they have to react in a rather binary way: either decide to look for work elsewhere, or agree to partner with Lionbridge and vote, literally, with their dollars.

8. Person, Spain - March 29, 2010

I freelance for Lionbridge, and I have been faced with this situation recently. I asked my contacts at Lionbridge for more info, because I could see exactly what they were planning to do despite the fact that it was being presented as an advantage for translators: “Two free months for Lionbridge translators!!” Whoopee! I was told that they could not give me any more info, that a different department was dealing with the switch and that I just had to sign up for a “Webinar” session to learn how to use the new system. I didn’t sign up because I was too annoyed and I had not even been told how much we are going to be charged to use it! We’ll see – things have gone quiet in the last month.

Re. rates – I am paid 0,095 euros per word, which I don’t think is too bad for my language combination, particularly as I live in Spain where the average is more like 0,05. It is a rate I am happy with and which I set myself. I work on some really interesting projects (e.g. I translate European Parliament debates) and my experience has been positive on the whole.

However, I am furious about this. As Jenia Laszlo said, translators are left with no choice but to lose a major client if they don’t want to sign up for the subscription.

9. Riccardo - March 30, 2010

There is a major difference between what Lionbridge is doing and a translation company that says to its translators that they want all translators to use Trados: you can deliver Trados bilingual files to about any agency, and they’ll accept them. The only customer using Lionbridge’s system, so far, is Lionbridge.

Also, although Lionbridge now touts its system as a low-cost alternative to Trados, you can now use for your other projects, when you look at it close, it’s not so low-cost. It’s true that (for now) they won’t charge usage for Lionbrdige’s own projects, but they will still charge “tenancy”. For freelancers it’ll be, from what I heard, 10 euro per month. For “agencies” (even very small ones), it’s 50 euro per month (i.e., just for the privilege of subscribing to their tool: if you actually use it for your other customers, you have to pay extra).

We are a small company, and 840 dollars a year for a tool may be a small amount, but I would have better uses for it (e.g., I could instead use it to pay SDL support charges, or maybe acquire a better tool).

10. Tess - April 1, 2010

Right on Jill! I am in favor of working in “the cloud” but I would like to choose what tools I pay for and for which clients. I would probably use it for Lionbridge work if it was free like Logoport, but I am not interested in paying a monthly fee for it.

11. sarah - April 1, 2010

As my mother taught me when I was 16 and looking for my first job:

If they want YOU to pay THEM, it’s a scam.

12. Person, Spain - April 9, 2010

The new system – “Translation Workspace” – is an upgrade from Logoport and freelancers working for Lionbridge will not be asked to pay; they will continue using the system as usual on Lionbridge projects. If they want to use TW as commercial software for their own projects then they can pay the subscription fee. Whether TW will be of any use to agencies, I don’t know.

13. Agnieszka - April 11, 2010

@translatormum — there are three big differences between Lionbridge’s solution and any other CAT tool.

1. You have to pay EVERY TIME YOU OPEN A SEGMENT. Yes, that’s right: you pay for every instance of opening a segment, regardless of whether you just want to correct a single letter, or translate it anew. The rate is ridiculouosly expensive: it’s approaching normal proofreading rates per word. Now, in the typical translation process, you open each segments from 3 to as much as 5 times or even more (initial translation, proofreading, consistency check). It’s conceivable you’ll end up paying Lionbridge MORE than actually earn doing a translation / proofreading on a text that has a lot of 99% – 100% matches.

2. It’s subscription-based, and the minimum term of subscription is, AFAIK, one year. The yearly cost of this subscription is comparable to buying regular upgrades for more widely used CAT tools.

Yet the basic subscription (“tenancy”) only covers 3000 words – seeing as each segment will have to be opened several times, and words will be counted against the quota each time you open a segment, you’ll end up having to pay much more than the basic subscription to do even the smallest jobs.

Contrast this with regularly upgraded Trados, which is not much more expensive than this basic subscription, but you can use it to translate hundreds of thousands of words – as much as you want.

3. It’s managed centrally by a company outside your control, and you’ll have to pay dearly for the privilege of doing any maintenance to your memory databases. I wonder if running global search and replace on your own memory databases in the Lionbridge cloud will also be a paid service. And such maintenance will have to be done much more often than normal, because translators will be forced to work with an expensive tool that will prevent them from freely going back and correcting minor errors — that will be too expensive in the long run, because each time you open a segment, you lose money.

I’m not going to buy the subscription under no circumstances, seeing as I will still have to pay for Trados anyway to work with all other translation agencies in the market.

14. Jenia Laszlo - April 11, 2010

@Agnieszka: a quick heads-up that I am a Lionbridge employee, posting here in personal capacity and not representing them. (OK, needed to get that one out of the way.)

From your comment, it seems like you have very strong opinions and feelings about word metering, and based on your evaluation on the features of this CAT tool, it is not something you would choose.

And at the same time, I am wondering if you are getting the most up-to-date information about Translation Workspace. GeoWorkz portal provides the following information on subscription in their FAQ:

“Translation Workspace has a system-wide 60-day metering period. The first time a segment is opened, it is flagged as having been metered. If the same segment is opened again in the 60-day metering period, it is not counted again against the word balance.”

60-day metering period would cover translate-edit-proofread cycle for most projects, where segments can be opened more than once without getting metered again.

Also, it is important to make a distinction about words in your tenancy vs. words in someone else’s tenancy. If someone else (Lionbridge or another agency) issues an alias to you (that is, gives you a virtual link to their translation memory with certain access rights), those words are billed on their account, not yours. So any words that an agency sends to you would not impact your personal tenancy’s words balance.

Agnieszka and others – I hope this clarification gives you an additional perspective. Reading everyone else’s comments has been very interesting.

15. Agnieszka - April 13, 2010

@Jenia Laszlo –> What about huge projects that have tons of 99% matches or 100% matches that need to be reviewed? You still pay full money for opening such segments, and earn very little (or nothing) back.

And if you work in a translator / editor team, when your editor opens the segment (under their own tenancy, presumably) they incur the cost all over again.

Because of this, working with Translation Workspace for any project other than Lionbridge’s would be impractical.

And let’s face it — the aim of Lionbridge is also to have as much “near-perfect” matches as possible, even at the cost of quality. This is, after all, the point of creating the cloud, isn’t it?

So you are expected to bind yourself financially to one agency (Lionbridge) without getting any actual benefits in return.

Additionally, you have to wonder how long will working for Lionbridge be “free” except for the tenancy fee. After all, Logoport used to be free, wasn’t it.

If I could buy the tenancy access on a project-by-project basis, I’d simply add the charge to the project’s invoice issued for Lionbridge. No problem. But paying all year long, whether there are jobs or not, is simply not a sound business decision.

16. Jenia Laszlo - April 13, 2010

@Agnieszka: I actually don’t see many projects where a lot of 99% or 100% matches need to be reviewed. Of course, you will decide whether or not to accept those kinds of jobs based on what makes the most financial sense to you. In case those jobs are in someone else’s (e.g. agency’s) TMs, they would be publishing an alias to you, and they would be the ones who would pay for the words.

Regarding translator/editor team – actually, the editor will not incur the cost all over again if they open a segment within the 60-day period. Whoever has the TM in their tenancy would publish aliases for the translation team – translator, editor, reviewer, etc – and those people would have access to the TM (until it is revoked) but the words would be paid by whoever owns the TM. So if someone publishes an alias to you (that is, gives you rights to their TM) they are the ones whose words are metered – it does not impact your balance.

Or if you own the TM and then publish an alias to your editor – they will not be metered on the words usage in your TM.

It’s a new concept so a bit complicated – does my example make it a bit clearer?

Regarding where it would be practical to use Translation Workspace for projects other than Lionbridge’s: I like the fact that it allows for concurrent translators working in the cloud and that everything is online. Each translator/agency will be able to decide the cost/benefit of the subscription, perhaps even on a per-project basis. I can see TW becoming a mainstream tool and worth the investment.

Not sure I understand your comment about near-perfect matches, quality and the cloud. The way I see it – it really makes much more sense to manage TM rights and continuous updates online, to streamline the process and be able to work concurrently and have TMs updated simultaneously.

As to your closing comments about paying vs. benefits – again, up to you to decide whatever tools, clients, kinds of projects you want to work with. Translation Workspace is a new kind of service, so it is natural that a lot of people going through a decision process and having questions. You can actually send feedback to the support TM via GeoWorkz website, if you have specific suggestions/concerns you would want them to consider.

P.S. My response turned out longer than expected – did not mean to hijack the thread! And would be interested to hear more people’s opinions/questions about this.

17. Freelance Liox translator - April 14, 2010

Person, Spain – I´m sorry to tell you we have to pay. 10 euros/month. Every Lionbridge translator has to pay de basic bonus. Which do not include service support, of course. You have to pay appart if you want this. And if you do not use your bonus, you loss it, such us for a phone card bonus system. And you have to give a credit card number. If you cancel your subscription and you do not inform 3 months in advance, you will be charged with 3 months… and more and more good news that nobody nows because they are not telling them.

18. Freelance Liox translator - April 15, 2010

What if you were forced to pay for the time you sit on your desktop at work while you are providing your knowledges to the company?
THIS is the “new concept” Lionbridge is trying to impose. This should be illegal, if it´s not. We, Liox translators, ALL know how this tool works. We have been the testers for so many years… we have suffered the tool.
What do you think about spending 1 HOUR for trying to do a wordcount of a 1k words project?
Liox has feed it´s TMs with our knowledge and after more than 10 years, the only respect they show to its great translators and professionals is talling them in a “wonderful marketing” message that they will have to pay for working in 3 months.
Not very professional, don´t you think so?

19. Spanish Translator - April 27, 2010

@Jenia Laszlo
During Q&A in one of the webinars someone had the following quite simple straight forward question:
are the number of words counted in the plans WWC* words?
* WWC=Weighted WordCount, ie a count of words that applies %ages according to the various types of matches (fuzzy matches, repetitions, 100%, new words)
The answer was:
The way word usage metering works is that only source words in opened segments are counted. The plans are based on source words opened against a TM. As such, THE WEIGHTING OF THE WORDS IS IRRELEVANT TO THE WORD COUNT (the capitalising feature is mine)–we are counting the total number of words opened against a TM. However, re-opening a segment within 60 days–for editing or proofreading, for example–will not count again. When a user opens a segment – either a single segment during an interactive translation or a collection of segments during pre-translation – the system deducts the number of source words in the opened segments from the balance of words in the subscriber’s plan. Concordance search, analysis, and terminology lookup operations are NOT metered.
This means:
If you have an update on 20000-word file that was counted as 350 words WWC, you would be paid for 350 words BUT 20000 words would be deducted from your Translation Workspace plan.
Do you still think it is a good plan for translators?

Jenia Laszlo - April 27, 2010

@Spanish Translator: whether this is a good plan for translators will depend on your personal situation, and of course it’s up to you to choose the CAT tool that best corresponds to your needs.

In case of your example project: 20,000 total words/350 weighted words. Have not seen any of of these in real life – I guess this would be VERY high 100% leverage and you would do pretranslation. I can see a couple of scenarios:

1. Agency (even Lionbridge) sends this project to you and you need to do the update, including the pretranslation. In this case, the total word count is irrelevant to you – because it’s metered against their subscription, not yours. If you are given an alias to someone’s TM, they need to worry about their word metering and it does not affect your bill.

2. You are the TM owner and the project goes through the TM in your own subscription. In this case, I would look at the financials and decide: maybe a minimum charge for the updates to the client? Or perhaps extracting the small part of the file that does have words requiring updates, and then just processing those? Maybe this project was completed in the last 60 days and therefore words will not be metered again? Or, if indeed you cannot make it work, exporting the TM and looking at other ways to pretranslate.

Hope this helps.

20. The Balkan - April 28, 2010

@Jenia Laszlo: Freelance Liox Translator said:
“If you cancel your subscription and you do not inform 3 months in advance, you will be charged with 3 months…”

Is this true?

21. Jenia Laszlo - April 29, 2010

@The Balkan: this is a good question that I don’t know the answer to as I am not part of the Translation Workspace support… I suggest contacting them directly to clarify this – that way, you’ll know for sure 🙂

22. MC - April 29, 2010

This is an awful idea. It will turn off translators from dealing with Lionbridge. They are after all, as the article suggests, at the lower end of the pay spectrum.

However, to the point of using these tools (and again, they should be free!) Why can’t translators get it into their heads that the end users – the customers of the agencies – need to have cohesion with project management, invoicing regularity and management reporting.

This has never been a progressive industry and the attitude that these tools are somehow a bad thing is evidence of that.

TRANSLATORMUM suggests the invoicing environment is also complicated – but would you rather wait til the end of the month for a cheque that takes five days to clear – or learn how to do everything instantly?!?!

These very, very dated ideals are killing this industry and translators are doing themselves out of pocket – you need to move with the times, people.

Ergo, use the tools (provided they’re free) and if you want someone to translate somethign for you, YOU PAY THEM!!!

23. Stefano - April 30, 2010

Hi all, thanks for opening a post about these new developments. I firmly believe that these selling strategies are appalling. Actual messages from Lionbridge to their current suppliers originally were along the line of “in order to continue your partnership with Lionbridge, you need to subscribe to TW after the trial period”. The messages then changed to: “in order to continue using TW, you need to subscribe to TW after the trial period”. So, while the second message states the obvious, it still has the same meaning as the first one: In order to continue your partnership as a Lionbridge supplier, you need to subscribe to TW. Hence, I second the thought expressed above by Sarah: If they want YOU to pay THEM, it’s a scam – and this prevents me from entering further arguments for or against plans, fees, etc.

24. George Bennet - May 10, 2010

Hi all,

This is a very interesting discussion. Besides Jenia, I don’t see anyone else being very excited about this tool. We are an agency supplying to Lionbridge (they make up 5% of our business roughly). After researching about TW, we decided not to go with it. Their sales people approached us a few times and we politely declined and said the volume of business, low rates, tough deadlines, so much rediculous QA (that deteriorates the quality actually), and now the fees for TW (word meter, subscription etc.) does not justify it.

What is surprising is that we received a rather not so polite message from their sales people saying we will have to make you known here if you are not buying a subscription and our response was to do so.

While, our situation is different than freelancers, I agree with one of the posts that Lionbridge would not exist without its suppliers. If it can find suppliers who are so desperate for work to pay back whatever they earn from Lionbridge, then good for them. We are not going to be part of that group of loosers. There is still more business out there.

What is more interesting is that their CEO, praises machine translation in one of his video marketing messages. True that IBM and the LogoPort provide real time machine translation, but it is a disgrace when you call human translation to be expensive (after all you are heading one of the largest LSPs, may be soon there should be machine executives).

Without going any further, two of the largest LSPs (Lionbridge and TransPerfect) have lost their status as being good clients, they may as well become MT suppliers. Good luck to any translator or agency signing up for TW and to Lionbridge to save dollars.

25. me, laughing - May 27, 2010

How can any serious translator even think of putting other client’s texts on servers out of their control?

We routinely sign contracts of confidentiality, and using such a non-inspectable system would clearly be a professional misconduct.
It’s a no-brainer.

How did they come up with such stupid an idea?

This probably is motivated by blinding greed.

26. Gabsy - June 10, 2010

Hi all,

There are two major issues here.

1. If Lionbridge has, for the sake of argument, 1000 translators on their books, they will earn 120000 euros a year without doing anything. If the project is a total flop, they will still earn 30000 euros.
This is clearly a way to raise cash for the company and the only reason I can think of is that it is not doing very well at the moment. I tend not to work for companies that do not have a healthy balance sheet.

2. There is a huge issue with privacy of clients material and breach of non-disclosure agreements. It is obvious that translators will not be able to use this tool to work for other clients without being in breach of confidentiality agreements.

After considering this, I very much doubt I would accept to be bound by such contract terms.

27. Sam Wu - June 12, 2010

It is funny that while you can leave messages on Lionbridge website for this tool, or comment on their blogs… there is none that criticizes this tool. If you look at other sites such as http://www.proz.com/forum/business_issues/159536-translation_workspace_lionbridge.html you will notice that there is an abundance of complaints. How strange that people are not voicing their concerns directly with Lionbridge or censorship has hit a new record!

28. kraulandblog - June 27, 2010

@ Sam Wu: from some colleagues who have tried posting at the Liox blog, it seems that negative comments are not welcome.

29. mauricio aguirre - July 3, 2010

Lionbridge really sucks…

30. Lene - July 6, 2010

See link below (found on Proz.com) for a letter addressed to Lionbridge. You might want to read it and sign it – at least it is an attempt to put forward a collective and reasonable response.
http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=dFlqU1hFYXJuOGI4TzM0MmlCcWNUS1E6MQ

31. Laurent Krauland - July 7, 2010

Hi all,
while I agree that there are certainly some problems with LB’s policies, the question for me is: why bother with them?

I admittedly never worked for this mega-agency and probably never will. Why? First of all, because I do not like the overall tone coming from them, be it through their job postings or e-mail contacts.

This TW matter is only one more offspring of this “I rule the world” attitude. There’s not much else to say…

Stefano - July 7, 2010

…why bothering? Because the moment they lose their current translation suppliers (and that is already happening) they will look for new, inexperienced resources, offering them less satisfactory deals, lowering rates, getting young people to start a career with a pay-to-work policy. I don’t think the profession will come out unscathed from this. They have started asking translators to pay if they want to meet the required conditions to work. And this is not the same as choosing a tool for your own profession. Far from it. They are asking this openly, without shame. So, that’s why I would continue bothering.

32. Laurent Krauland - July 7, 2010

@ Stefano: while I can share your concerns (and I surely do!), the same schema applies IMHO when other agencies look for cheaper “resources”… with or without binding translators to a “mandatory” tool.

33. Karl Hansen - July 14, 2010

@Stefano, Laurent Krauland: My take is, then let Lionbridge get the translators they deserve! They will receive the quality they deserve, and they will in turn give their clients the quality they paid for.

There is always someone out there who can do things a little cheaper and a little worse than yourself. If Lionbridge wants to pay Indian or Chinese rates, let them use Indians or Chinese to translate complicated technological texts into the European languages, and let them see what their end clients say to that!

Meanwhile, we will have time to concentrate on more attractive clients who don’t mind paying quality rates for quality work and who don’t want us to pay any fees in advance for the off chance of landing some jobs. I see no reason why we should aid Lionbridge in ruining the translation market, not to mention the translation profession!

34. Deceived Translator - July 19, 2010

Be Carefull when deciding to give the Translation Workspace a try for a job – you ACTUALLY END UP PAYING TO WORK FOR LIONBRIDGE.

The system says it’s totally flexible and allows you to make changes in your subscription freely – so this helps you decide to give it a try.
But it’s a deceptive message!!!

See the message you get when trying to CANCEL your subscription:
https://docs.google.com/leaf?id=0Bxuto-_k0J-fMjg5MDljNjktNmI1NS00Y2NhLThmMjAtYzE2Mjc2NzI0YzNk&sort=name&layout=list&num=50

US$213 for cancelling the account!! That’s absolutelly ridiculous, a total rip off. I feel so betrayed. Everyone should know about this, it’s very deceptive.

Hope you don’t fall for this as I did.

Jill (@bonnjill) - July 19, 2010

Welcome back, MT! We’ve missed you! I’m so sorry you fell for it. It makes perfect business sense for Lionbridge, but not so much for us translators…

35. Don't need Lionbridge - July 20, 2010

Some time back, I was recruited onto a team working with a major Lionbridge client. When I refused outright to work with Translation Workspace, I felt a bit sorry I would be losing jobs worth a couple of thousand at a time.

I am delighted to say I have just completed exactly the same type of big job for this same end-client through a totally different agency, with the full TM from Lionbridge supplied in Trados format (I know, because I recognise colleagues’ names in segments dated from the Lionbridge period).

I am being paid 12% more than Lionbridge ever paid me for this work, not being hassled about giving a discount or forced to buy unwanted software.

I think quality translators need not fear about refusing to be scammed by Lionbridge, because it looks as if quality clients are deserting Lionbridge as well.

36. Another translator - October 31, 2010

Hi there
Some time back a person from Lionbridge contacted me through my profile at proz.com and asked if I could join one of their projects which was perfectly within my area of expertise. I had not heard much about Lionbridge before and so I did some investigation. Then I told their PM I find the whole idea of my paying THEM for work rather absurd, and I would add this 10 euro to my invoice.
Funny thing was they ignored this statement and then offered me to translate the source text without imposing on all that bullshit (that is, using whatever I want and deliver the cleaned-up document). The deadline was tough and I would not want, above all, to waste time for TW before starting the translation.
We ended up leaving it to MY choice this time. I am not using their TM, which is some extra pain in the neck for their PMs, but a hint about old good ways of sorting this out by sharing some reference material between me and other translators working on the project was dropped=)=)

So… Let´s see.

37. Lionbridge does it again… « Musings from an overworked translator - November 1, 2010

[…] Posts Would you pay to work for a translation agency?Trying to understand the Germans…Business cards and resumes, oh my!Musings from the ATA […]

38. mr. Mojo - November 17, 2010

Lionbridge’s business model is a scam. Plain and simple.

I have to share my recent experience with Lionbridge and their Translation Workspace. I was offered a job of about 50K words, 10K of which were no match, there were some repetitions, and the majority of the source was in the 70-99% match range. I have worked as a professional translator for over 15 years now and I have extensive experience with various translation tools, so I didn’t have any problems with the interface. It was very similar to TagEditor and of course the shortcuts are almost identical.

However, the progress of the job was much slower than expected. It seemed like it didn’t move forward at all. As I said, as an experienced translator I knew what I should expect. At first I wasn’t paying too much attention to the match ratings for individual segments, I was just using whatever was offered (most of the existing translation was really crappy, inconsistent and useless anyway), but when I realized that it is just too slow, I started checking out higher rated matches. It was a disaster. For instance, I’d have a 25-word sentence with three matched words rated as an 83% match! The vast majority of higher-rated matches were just useless and in Trados analysis they wouldn’t even make it to the 50% match.

To cut the long story short, they have cheated me for at least a half of the objective wordcount (you can figure out how much cash that is from the project data). I then realized why they insist on using their tool – it’s the analysis. It has nothing to do with project management or availability of translation memory (if they want the memory, it’s childishly easy to export from Trados and import into any tool). They are lying, cheating bastards and I strongly recommend you pass their offers.

Oh, not to mention their (un)responsiveness. I’d wait for a week for them to answer a simple question (which was crucial to the formatting of the UI in the manual I was translating), and then when I was one day late because of their deception and lack of communication, I’d get a threatening e-mail to please deliver ASAP or face consequences.

Stefano - November 18, 2010

That’s an interesting angle which deserves some attention and research – comparing a few CAT analysis results against the very same TM and the same bunch of files. If anybody is aware of such a study, online or otherwise, could you please let me know? I’m curious and I could try a comparison myself if nobody tried it before.

39. I. Wolf - November 18, 2010

@ mr Mojo

I tried exactly the same some time ago. I translated quite a big manual from English into Danish. The word count was approx. 25% new words, 50% fuzzy matches, and 25% repetitions. It was about some medical equipment which can be a bit tricky but I thought what the heck – there are plenty of fuzzy matches, meaning an extensive TM, I could use for concordance/terminology search. Since I have many years of experience, looking at an analysis gives me a good idea of how long it’s going to take me. Not so. It didn’t take me long to find out that the TM was actually empty. All the fuzzy matches were some I generated myself during the translation. When Trados calculates fuzzy matches, it’s ONLY based on the existing TM – not something that is created along the way. That means that those fuzzy matches in TW would have been paid as new words in Trados. When I confronted a global project manager at Lionbridge (who I know personally), his answer was that it was correct that the analyses were different and something like “we did that to be able to give our client a better price”. Sure – but I’m the one doing the work here. I got this translation through a subvendor – not Lionbridge directly, and I ended up having a huge fight with the PM about this. She kept saying “yes, but you are paid for the fuzzy matches – what’s the problem”. I explained and explained, and she just didn’t get it. They don’t care – they are just redirecting the work.

Of course you could argue that those fuzzy matches are actually NOT new words, and that TW is just more precise than Trados. But to me it’s just another way of pushing the price down. And why on earth would I want a tool that I make less money with than Trados?

So you are right – that’s where they make the money – and I wish each and every translator would know how that crapware works. And that’s on top of their fees. When I cancelled the subscription recently, I had a cancellation fee of 75 EUR.

People just have to stop using it – that’s the only way to teach them.

40. Joel Earnest - November 18, 2010

I used to get the occasional job from Lionbridge and found the software to be workable although sometimes slow to respond due to the cloud arrangement.
Then one day I lost over two hours of proofing work due to a crash somewhere in the system and wasted another hour with their support department trying to recover the work. With Trados, I would know exactly what to do; with Logoport it was completely out of my hands. After that, I refused all Logoport job offers but still got a job every month or two for which I could use Trados.
My last job for them was for about 8000 words with about three-quarters of it with high matches. Knowing from the past that I could expect those matches to be crap, and that if I accepted the job as offered I’d be proofing that crap for peanuts, I negotiated an hourly rate for the job.
As it has turned out, this was the last time they asked me to work for them, although I’m still on their mailing list, which is always entertaining.

41. Joel Earnest - November 18, 2010

Another thing… I also found the project managers hard to reach and thus slow to get answers. My guess is that they’re doubling as sales reps

42. Joel Earnest - November 18, 2010

Here’s growing-by-the-day Facebook group devoted to Lionbridge’s antics: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_116776718384355&ap=1


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