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ATA/AAIT Translation Tools Seminar – June 5-6, 2010 April 29, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in ATA, Tools, Translation.
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I just received the following e-mail about an upcoming ATA seminar. If I wasn’t moving June 1st I would definitely be attending. I find that ATA’s smaller conferences/seminars tend to be more beneficial with regard to meeting clients. This seminar just sounds cool since it will be focusing on translation tools, which every translator should confidently use or at least be familiar with. I find translation tools increase my efficiency. If it wasn’t for my translation tool I would not have been able to translate 780 words in 45 minutes yesterday. PDF conversion is also a very important skill every translator should have. If you can attend this seminar I would highly recommend it!


Hyatt Regency
Atlanta, Georgia
June 5-6, 2010
An ATA Professional Development Event
Presented by the American Translators Association and the Atlanta Association of Interpreters and Translators
The ATA/AAIT Translation Tools Seminar offers a unique opportunity to enhance your skills and advance your career! To learn more, click on http://www.atanet.org/pd/tools
– Receive training specific to your needs as an experienced translator and interpreter
– Acquire a set of tools that will enable you to work more efficiently and produce quality work
– Discover the tools you need for successful terminology maintenance, quality assurance, and project management
– Understand how to fully utilize the PDF documents you encounter on a daily basis
– Connect with colleagues, company owners, and seasoned professionals at the Networking Session
– Market your services by taking part in the Job Marketplace
– Obtain the professional development you need to enhance the added-value you can offer in a competitive marketplace
To learn more, click on http://www.atanet.org/pd/tools
– Early Registration Rates (by May 30)
ATA & AAIT Members       $215
Nonmembers                     $385
– Late Registration Rates (after May 30)
ATA & AAIT Members       $260
Nonmembers                     $430
Space is limited. Register today!
Saturday-only and Sunday-only rates are also available.
To register, click on http://www.atanet.org/pd/tools/register.htm
Located along historic Peachtree Street, the Hyatt Regency is a short walk to the Georgia Aquarium and Peachtree Center Mall, and is only 12 miles from Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. The special ATA rate of $126 single/double a night (plus tax) is available until May 4, 2010, or as space allows. Call the Hyatt at +1-888-421-1442 and ask for the special ATA rate!
To learn more, click on http://www.atanet.org/pd/tools/hotel.htm
ATA-certified translators can earn up to 9 ATA Continuing Education Points for attending this seminar.

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

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tools, Translation.

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!

Déjà Vu drops its prices January 20, 2010

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools, Translation.
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One of my colleagues sent the following e-mail to the GLD list this morning. I thought it interesting enough to share it with you all. Since so many people have been unhappy with the latest version of SDL Trados I think it is smart that other translation environment tool manufacturers are reaching out to attract new customers. I myself am thinking about WordFast, but this is definitely a tempting offer…

Atril has announced a significant decrease in price for two versions of DVX:

Déjà Vu Standard: EUR 250 (down ca. 50%)
Déjà Vu Professional EUR 660 (down ca. 30%)

Fully functional evaluation version available for 30 day test period @ http://www.atril.com

Review of Star Transit NXT December 8, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools.
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I have been meaning to write a review of Star Transit NXT, which I use for one of my clients (they provide me with a copy), but the big project that was supposed to start months ago kept getting delayed. I had been planning to write the review as I actually used the tool, so now that the big project has been “postponed indefinitely” I was very happy to read this competent review on Translorial.com (the NCTA newsletter) by Michael Schubert. If you are interested in looking into Star Transit NXT or another TEnT, be sure to check out translatorstraining.com where you can “independently learn about translation technology and to compare tools without marketing hype.” If you are debating which tool is right for you it is definitely worth €34.99.

Free OCR tool on your own PC November 4, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools.

Tuomas Kostiainen and I presented at last week’s ATA conference on Making Portable Document Format Files Work for You. I feel very passionately that every translator should be familiar with the concept of Optical Character Recognition (OCR). I OCRed four files yesterday alone. My program of choice (and the favorite of most translators I know) is ABBYY FineReader, but there are plenty of other tools out there.

I wish this blog post (in German and English) had been written before the conference so I could have told everyone that they already have a free OCR program, Microsoft Office Document Imaging, on their computer (Start->All Programs->Microsoft Office Tools->MS Office Document Imaging). We did list it in the handout, and I mentioned the program in passing. However, if I had realized how ubiquitous the program was I probably would have pushed it more. Julia does a very good job explaining how the program works – with lots of excellent screenshots.

The trouble with translation memory programs October 1, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tools, Translation.

Here we go again…

There is a very interesting article in Ezine, Translation Memory Programs Causing Problems For the Translation Industry and Also For End-Users by John Hadfield, that is arguing that the use of translation memories is in fact slowing down translators and driving the price of translation up as a result. He starts off by claiming, “Under this system, the translator often has more work to do as a result of using a TM, but gets paid much less for a particular translation than he or she would have been paid before the introduction of TM’s.” I don’t know about that, but I do know that I have to really pay attention to every segment (because not all matches are true matches) and spend a lot of time figuring out how best to make the translation units flow together and not sound translated (a final run-through after cleaning up the document usually helps tremendously). He also states that many translators dictate their translations. I don’t know if many translators do this, but I do know a couple translators who dictate their work. He makes some very interesting points including:

…The most glaring result of this problem is that all translators have been forced to increase their standard price per word over the last few years in order to survive, so for documents which are almost totally non-repetitive (and where a TM is therefore useless), the translation agency or end-user ends up paying much more for its translations than it would have paid before the introduction of TM’s. However, that same customer still requires the translator to use a TM for its translation, even though it is obvious to all that the document concerned is not likely to show any repetition in any but a few random single or two-word phrases.

I don’t know if my raising my rates has anything to do with the use of translation memory. I have raised my prices to keep up with inflation. Also, as with any profession more experience should always be compensated with a higher salary, bonuses, etc. As freelancers we don’t have that luxury. I charge what the market will bear. I certainly don’t do it to survive because I am faced with discounts for repetitions and matches.

…Apart from the translation of manuals which use a great deal of repetition (such as workshop manuals, job code manuals, etc.) and certain standardized contracts and legal texts, statistical analysis of any large company’s or large translation agency’s translation work over a period of one year would very probably show that the compulsory use of TM’s, combined with the resulting increased prices per word from freelance translators (who perform by far the major portion of translations throughout the world), has finally resulted in the entire operation costing more to the end-user than it would have cost before the use of TM’s became general.

…There is also increasing evidence of a curious attitude prevalent amongst certain end customers and agencies in which the method of translation (i.e. the use of the TM system) seems almost to have become more important than the translation itself.

I’ll give him that. A common complaint I hear on all my translation forums is that many TMs contains mistranslations, sloppy work and out-and-out errors, which are then perpetuated in the company’s documentation for all eternity. Since we are not paid to correct the TMs and agencies are told by their end clients to not touch the 100% matches, these mistakes are usually not pointed out and the end client is usually blissfully unaware of the problem.

The author is proposing to require the agency’s translators to offer a reduced price per word for translations which do not require the use of a TM, and perhaps abandoning the use of TMs altogether. That is a very interesting suggestion, but I think I’ll stick with my word rates and my TEnT for now. It does save me time in texts that are repetitious, and I generally work with agencies that do not demand discounts for repetitions. I bought my TEnT to save me time and ensure greater consistency. And every once in a while I do get a plum job that is already in my TM, which saves me time and frees me up to take another job.

Translation memory is not a burden to be vilified, but I do think translation agencies and some TEnT developers should think long and hard about their practices. We pay for our tools – not the agency. Why should we be paid less to use them? That just doesn’t make sense. And don’t even get me started on selling certification classes to use the tools. Those certified users are now out in the cold and out several hundred dollars because the latest version is totally different from the one they were trained on.

I’m curious to hear what you all think. Does using a TEnT take you more time or less?

Intrans Book Service August 5, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Tools, Translation.

I love supporting independents. Whether it is the little family-owned restaurant in the next town or the local hardware store I try to spend my money at local or small suppliers whenever I can. One of my favorite dictionary suppliers is Intrans Book Service, which is operated by Freek Lankhof. You can always count on Freek to be an exhibitor at the smaller ATA conferences as well as the annual ATA conference. I always treat myself to at least one dictionary at the ATA conference every year. Freek is also available on the web and offers personal service (in addition to being a really nice guy who has a passion for microbreweries). He sends out about one electronic newsletter a year to his customers. He has some interesting books on offer this time, so I thought I would share his e-mail with the rest of you:

Summer is moving quite along, too much rain here too much sun there, one just has to pick the right spot to vacation.  I had mine, I’m working again… This month I bring you a brand new edition of the “Black’s Legal Dictionary”.  This renowned dictionary has undergone another thorough revision and is now in its 9th printing.  It is my August Book-of-the-Month and you can check it out by going to http://www.intransbooks.com.

A pleasant surprise is the fact that Cambridge University Press has come out with a paperback edition of Claudia Angelelli’s “Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication”. Instead of the $105.00 one had to lay out for the hardcover edition, the paperback is now available for $39.99.  More information can be found at http://intransbooks.com/book_story/0521066778

I just received a copy of a new title called “A Career in Language Translation” – Insightful Information To Guide You In Your Journey as a Professional Translator by Carline Férailleur-Dumoulin.  This clearly written and well organized book contains a wealth of information that will help the novice (and not so novice) translator/interpreters break into the field or find new opportunities. This is a Print-on-Demand title and it may be a few days before I have stock but I should be able to ship by the middle of the month. More information: http://intransbooks.com/book_story/1438944225.

Also just out is the new 2009/2010 edition of the St. Jerome Publishing catalogue. This British publisher of first rate translation studies material brings us besides the very popular series Translation Practices Explained a wide variety of excellent in-depth studies. If you are interested in receiving a copy of this catalog, please drop me a line and I will mail you one.

And finally, remember that the ATA Annual Conference is less than four months away. Make your reservations now and check your list of “want-items” and let me know what to bring.

So if you are looking for a specialized dictionary, check out Intrans Book Service. He most likely carries it.

Addendum to Trados just keeps drivin’ ’em away June 29, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Tools.

I ran into Dr. Sue Ellen Wright Saturday night at the Judy Collins concert. We spoke briefly about the new version of Trados. For those of you who do not know her, she is a professor at Kent State University (teaching MultiTerm and other translation courses at the graduate level) as well as one of the top terminologists in the world. Her fields of interest are terminology studies (theory and applications), translation studies, terminology interchange formats, data categories for terminology management, teaching methodologies for localization environments, terminology and computer applications for translators, localization, localization project management, and training terminology and localization trainers. She is also

  • Chair of the Terminology Committee of the American Translators Association
  • Chair of the USA Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of ISO TC 37, Terminology (principles and coordination)
  • Convener of TC 37/Sub-Committee 3/WG 1, responsible for preparing ISO FDIS 12620: Terminology—Computer Applications—Data
  • Vice-Chair of TC 37/SC 3, Computer-assisted Terminology
  • Convener of TC 37/Sub-Committee 3/WG 3, which is responsible for preparing ISO FDIS 12200: Terminology—Computer Applications—Machine-Readable Terminology Interchange Format (MARTIF), Part 1: Negotiated Interchange
  • A member of ASTM F15.48, which is responsible for Translation Quality Management

In other words, she really knows her stuff. She has offered consulting services and feedback on MultiTerm to Trados for years. Her comment on the new version was that it was “extremely buggy,” and it took her several days to figure out how to use it. If it took her several days to figure it out, how can we mere mortals be expected to know how to use it? Software should be intuitive and build on existing versions. That isn’t the case here.

Trados just keeps drivin’ ’em away June 26, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tech tips, Tools.

Trados used to be the 800-pound gorilla in the translation industry. They did a good job, and their customers were loyal. Due to a series of missteps and bad judgment I have a feeling that won’t be the case for much longer.

The original title of this post was going to be “Trados Studio 2009, you can kiss my…” but I didn’t want to offend anyone’s delicate sensibilities. SDL Trados released Studio 2009 a little while ago, and it was a mess. Let me just tell you – there were and are a lot of angry translators out there. Sure, translators enjoy complaining about Trados (always have, always will), but this time it’s different.

The first inkling many of us blog readers had that there was trouble ahead was Translation Tribulations’ post SDL Trados Studio 2009 BOHICA. Now the product is out, and he is uncannily correct in his prediction – BOHICA! Many of the translators who bought the product are regretting their decision and want to switch back to their old version – but then you are out the money. It really isn’t worth trying to contact Trados Support since they are unresponsive – probably because they have been deluged by complaints.

The reasons for the freelance backlash are two-fold: functionality (or lack thereof) and licenses. Studio 2009 has placed more importance on project management than on translation – which is the reason Trados was developed in the first place. Your lone wolf translator does not need project management functions. Susanne III pointed out that as a beta tester she informed SDL Trados several times that this new version was developed without considering the needs of the freelance translator who would actually be using the product. For example, apparently Studio 2009 doesn’t allow uncleaned files.

The main reason for the ATA’s German Language Division list boycott discussion was the realization that SDL Trados appeared to have gotten too big for its britches and was no longer going to allow freelancers to use the product on more than one computer with the simple freelance version – and forcing them to sign a letter confirming they will not be getting a second license in the future. I for one work on my home computer, but use a laptop when I’m traveling or out of the office. This one-license policy would not allow me to install Trados on my laptop. And heaven forbid you should buy a new computer and want to install your existing Trados license on your new computer. Nope, sorry, you’re out of luck without signing your life away. The only other alternative is to buy a multi-license version, which is something like €435 ($600). I don’t know about you, but $600 a year (if the license is only good for a year) is a lot of money for most freelance translators.

Installing the new product can apparently be a total nightmare due to licensing questions. There are reports that it has taken some colleagues three to four days to get their systems back in working order (nevermind the lost wages). One very well-respected colleague on TW_Users reported he was giving up trying to install the product “[a]fter hours reading information, returning licenses, installing, uninstalling and reinstalling software, rebooting, swearing in several languages, I give up. Honestly, there is a limit to everything—including my recklessness—and all I achieved is to have my old Trados back working—for a limited time, now, of course.” He published an article on his adventures in this month’s Accurapid Journal.

According to the SDL Trados website, “When upgrading to SDL Trados Studio 2009, you will need to de-activate your previous software license. Also note that SDL Trados 2007 Suite is included as part of SDL Trados Studio 2009. It will be fully functional until 30/06/2010. It is possible to install both products in parallel. If you would like to retain your previous license, you could consider purchasing a full new license.” Imagine that – spend lots of money on a piece of software that is only good for one year, because newer products now come with expiration dates. No thanks. SDL Trados soon changed their tune and allowed two licenses to work at the same time to quell the uprising.

Paul Filkin, Client Services Director at SDL Trados, wrote to the TW_Users group and tried to explain the theory behind SDL Trados’ decision:

On the “now” old SDL Trados 2007 Suite and earlier you purchase a single activation.  In case you had problems, such as Hurricane Isobel, or someone stole your laptop when you nipped into MacDonalds [sic], or you simply forgot to return it before you rebuilt your machine, we actually allowed for two additional activations before your activation was prevented.  The reason we put a limit on this is obvious because we have to be able to prevent misuse of the activation utility which some less honest people would take advantage of.

It is often the case that some users seem to rebuild their machines more than others, and sometimes forget to return their license everytime they do it.  This is quite easy, I have done it myself.  But we still have to draw the line somewhere.  When this happens you are asked to jump through a few hoops to verify your entitlement to our satisfaction and I think this is perfectly acceptable.

On the new SDL Trados Studio 2009 software we have taken a different approach.  You can now purchase additional activation codes for the Freelance software for a small amount so that you can legally run the different versions on your laptop and your desktop at the same time and have them both activated at all times.

This will not prevent the McDonalds scenario from being a problem, and you will still have to jump through a few hoops if you lose the ability to return your license and need Support to reactivate it for you.  But it will give you the ability to have more flexibility in how  you work.

Again, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know too many companies that assume from the get-go that their loyal customers are constantly trying to pull one over on them. OK, maybe Microsoft, but there are indeed a lot of pirated copies of their software floating around. I don’t know a single translator working with a pirated copy of a TEnT (translation environment tool).

Now one of the GLD members, who has had a service contract with them for many years now, reports that upgrading to Studio 2009 is a prerequisite for having a support contract anymore. They will not be offering any support – not even paid support – if you aren’t willing to upgrade to Studio 2009.

It has become apparent to most translators that Trados is no longer interested in the lowly freelance translator. They want to sell their product to agencies. But the best product in the world won’t be any use to agencies if their freelancers are still working with the old versions or have switched to another TEnT altogether.

Hey, Trados, you might want to send your employees to a class on how to provide good customer service. Instead of always blaming the customer (who, incidentally, is paying your salary by buying your product) why don’t you try to find a solution that satisfies everyone. If Trados had just decided “”Please note that this new version of Trados can run side-by-side with previous versions of Trados.” I don’t think there would have been this much uproar.

I for one am sticking with my current version (Trados 2007 Freelance) for now, because it doesn’t have an expiration date and still works fine. I’ve been with Trados since Version 2.x and have taught other translators how to use Trados in seminars and in the translation grad courses at Kent State University over the years. I was definitely a loyal customer and even a fan. Not anymore. If the time comes that I need to upgrade to something else (because I have bought a new computer or something) I will be switching to a competitor. I hear Wordfast and MemoQ are good products…

If anyone else is considering switching to a new TEnT, you might want to check out Jost Zetzsche’s site, Translators Training. You can “access video-based tutorials for all the major translation technology and localization tools and much more for only Euro 34.99 a year.” That’s a heck of a lot cheaper than shelling out several hundred dollars for a tool that you decide you don’t like.

Payment Practices now a “Member Benefit” of ATA June 10, 2009

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Business practices, Tools.

This has been in negotiations for a while now, but now it is official.

Payment Practices, Inc. (www.paymentpractices.net) is pleased to announce that it has signed an agreement with the American Translators Association (ATA) to become the very first vendor in ATA’s new “Member Benefit” program. Under this agreement, current ATA members will be able to subscribe to Payment Practices for an annual fee of just $14.99, a 25% discount from the normal price of $19.99/year. To receive the discount, ATA members must use the link provided at the ATA Member Provider page (www.atanet.org/member_provider).

Current subscribers to Payment Practices who are also ATA members can take advantage of the discount when their current subscription expires. If you have established a recurring payment via PayPal, you should cancel that subscription before the renewal date and then pay the discounted rate either by check or a one-time payment via PayPal.

I feel Payment Practices is one of the most beneficial services for translators out there – and now it is available at a 25% discount to ATA members. How cool is that?