Hello readers.

Today I thought I would share my contribution to a humorous must for any translator: “MOX: Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation”. It is filled with Alejandro Moreno-Ramos’ hilarious translation-related cartoons, interspersed with excellent contributions from Sarah M. Dillon, Alex Eames, Céline Graciet, Judy Jenner, Laurent Laget, Benny Lewis, Kevin Lossner, Corinne McKay, Pablo Muñoz, Jill Sommer, Ramón Somoza, Steve Vitek, and of course, this very contribution from myself. If you enjoy this post, I highly recommend you take a look at the book for more from some of the best in translation blogging.

You want the truth on Crados? Feast your eyes on this exclusive leaked email exchange between a Crados executive and the lead project manager at a big translation agency:

On Thursday at 1:04 PM, Minnie Mumwage <minniemumwage@crados.com> wrote:

Pam…

We are gonna be rich! My team created this great new software, it’s gonna change everything! It will make us BOTH rich (pity the translators, har har!).

All you have to do, Pam, is insist your translators buy this software. Promise them loads of work, but only if they spend $850 on our software. In turn, when you get this software, you can create translation memory (TM) files and pay translators less for “matches” from a previous translation. You don’t worry if the previous translation is not ideal, you can just pay them a 0.0001 cents for anything above a 75% match, even if it just LOOKS similar! And they will correct it! You can even use a machine for the TM if you want (my buddy is working on that).

By the way, we’ll also make regular expensive updates with poor backward/forward compatibility. We’ll obviously use some of that revenue to introduce new matching and machine translation methods to cut your costs down even further. 😉

How does that sound, are you in?

Minnie.

On Thursday at 1:32 PM, Pam Scam <pam@cheaptranslators4u.com> wrote:

Minnie,

You are the angel to a devil’s prayers. Time to make these translators pay… literally!! 3:-D

Pam.

 

I will be honest. Those are not really leaked emails. They are the sarcastic consequence of my feelings toward Crados and the agencies that insist upon its use. These are sentiments you will find shared by many experienced translators, and even echoed elsewhere in this book

[MOX: Illustrated Guide to Freelance Translation]. Mox is not the greatest fan of Crados, either. However, unlike Mox, I refuse to use it. So why do I hate Crados so much?

Technically, I find Crados, like most commercial translation memory software, to be cumbersome, slow, inefficient and needlessly complicated. Argh, those damned tags, database-lookups, formatting errors, random crashes, load times, waiting for it to catch up… Need I go on?

In the most part, giving a translator a translation memory tool is like giving an artist a robotic arm: this makes it much easier to record how the artist produced the work, but the work itself is stilted, artificial and slow. Further, the robotic arm is ultra-vulnerable to any (intentional?) in-built flaws in the programming (which of course are fixed in the latest $350 dollar “upgrade”, which will have new flaws to uncover). Even if the method of an artist could really be recorded, what artist really wants to give away their secrets? Finally, what artist really wants to be given a Frankenstein’s monster of a robotic arm, with the fingers and programming of many other artists (one expressionist, one surrealist and a hodge-podge of so-called modern-artists) and base their work on this, or “review” what the arm carves of its own accord, and be paid only for the “moderate” contribution of non-matches? How preposterous!

Yes, I do consider Crados and most commercial translation tools to be clunky robotic arms. But there is an open-source-shaped light at the end of the tunnel: OmegaT!

I always said I would write my own beginners’ guide to OmegaT on my blog, and perhaps this chapter will finally give me the impetus. In the 172 words that remain, I will try to tell you why OmegaT is different.

OmegaT is open source. It is designed by an innovative team of geeky linguists with a wonderful vision: that translation memory software, like languages (and translators) should be free: free to use, free to edit, and free to improve. Unlike most alternatives, it uses virtual memory rather than a database look-up, and whilst it does not do any fancy instant-synchronisation of translations between multiple translators (too many cooks spoil the broth?), it is incredibly fast, reliable, easy-to-use, compatible with nearly everything and cross-platform. There is also a good selection of additional add-ons and external text extraction software to extend these capabilities even further.

My final word to anyone frustrated with The Great Crados Conspiracy is to give OmegaT a go. It is free in every way and available from www.omegat.org.

Do not be afraid to dispose of your clunky robotic arms!

We should use technology to assist us.

We should not allow technology to assist others in using us.

 

 

About the Author:

Rose Newell is a British-born, Berlin-based copywriter and translator specialising in high end and high tech. Rose works exclusively with direct clients, mostly located in Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. This blog is a labour of love for colleagues, not a sales funnel for paid membership groups, webinars, seminars, courses or coaching services. As one of those who has consistently spoken out against instagurus, readers can trust this blog will never be monetised. Truly successful translators have no need for the pittance generated by such activities.

20 Comments

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  2. tanya 24/05/2013 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    I love your blog and your witty and funny remarks!!! I enjoy reading it.Thank you!

  3. Mahmoud M. Nasr ElDin 16/01/2013 at 11:54 am - Reply

    I agree to your rightful mockery, but not fully as it is sometimes useful for hard-to-imitate formatting (when there is no DTP staff within reach)& with legacy translations for new domain. But, yes it is expensive.

  4. Ramon 14/05/2012 at 12:22 pm - Reply

    Hello, Rose

    I share your feelings about Crados, and I *love it* when Alejandro Moreno-Ramos blasts it in his marvelous ´Mox´blog.

    I also use OmegaT, but unfortunately I had to buy Crap-OS on one occasion because it was a requirement for a multi.million word project that ran for three years… I certainly was not thrilled by the tool. Having a degree in Computer Sciences, I can only shake my head on how buggy this supposedly COTS tool still is…. and I guarantee you that it will crash in the worst possible situation (e.g., ten minutes before the deadline).

  5. anon 30/04/2012 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Well every software or any other tool is designed keeping in mind a general crowd of users, C***os is similar and it depends on bow you perceive. But then there will also be sales people who are paid for increased revenue and if they translate it to be indiscriminate promotion of improvements on sold product rather than creating new users then it is damaging to both the company and also the translator.
    I do not use it. Though I am into professional translation I still avoid technology in my work.

  6. Björn Hallberg 28/04/2012 at 9:40 pm - Reply

    Dear Rose,

    Thanks for a wonderful blog – reading it inspired me and gave me a few laughs!
    I will keep coming back for more inspiration.

    Many thanks

    Björn
    http://www.native-translator.no

  7. Tapani Ronni 03/04/2012 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    I must say that I am a happy user of C*dos S*dio. Expensive, yes, but in my case it has certainly paid itself back long ago due to increased productivity and business. I even like it, though it could be more user friendly. Perhaps this is related to the kind of work one does. My bread and butter are big medical device manuals with lots of InDesign or Framemaker files. Those are the reasons I upgraded from WordFast years ago.

  8. Czech 23/03/2012 at 11:20 pm - Reply

    I think you made a typo, the correct spelling is Crapos (smile).

  9. Judy Jenner (@language_news) 22/03/2012 at 5:21 am - Reply

    Too funny; loved reading that in Mox’s book. We’ve personally never worked with Crados, and the poor feedback from esteemed clients around the world has certainly contributed to our decision to avoid Crados at all costs. We’ve used Deja Vu, OmegaT and Wordfast and are quite happy with those tools.

  10. Patricia Lane 21/03/2012 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    Rose,

    “Giving a translator a translation memory tool is like giving an artist a robotic arm” – what a wonderful, vivid, apt and memorable image!

    Love it, thanks for the smile!

  11. Nikolaj Zhmud 21/03/2012 at 3:04 pm - Reply

    Hello, Rose.
    I fully agree with you about Crados. They also catch my 850 Euros and continuously propose to spend more for updates and so on. I feel that probably never will use this soft. First of all because I have deal with different subjects to translate and second it is really complicated and it will take a lot of wasted time to apprehend.
    On the other side it would be nice (I thought about it 20 years ago) to have easy to use translation memory which helps to save time with often repeated cliché and special terminology.
    Thanks for your post. I’ll follow your advise and try OmegaT.

    Regards

    Nikolaj (EN, IT, PL to Russian)

  12. Dmitri 21/03/2012 at 2:46 pm - Reply

    “OmegaT is open source.”

    OmegaT is free (as in ‘free speech’) software actually, which is recognized by the Free Software Foundation [1].

    And OmegaT is not the only free CAT. There’s Anaphraseus [2], for example.

    [1] http://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Category/Localization/language-adaptations
    [2] http://anaphraseus.sourceforge.net/

    • Rose Newell 21/03/2012 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      Yes, there are a couple of others… I’ve stuck to OmegaT, though, since it runs so well. Us Brits tend to say, “If it aint broke, don’t fix it”.

  13. Oleg 21/03/2012 at 2:14 pm - Reply

    Ho-ho!

    What will you say about Hogoport? It’s just an improvement of Crados business model?

    • Rose Newell 21/03/2012 at 3:31 pm - Reply

      Have to admit you will need to enlighten me. Myself and Google draw a blank on “Hogoport”.

      • Oleg 23/03/2012 at 1:16 pm - Reply

        You and Google are happy persons. Ignorance makes happiness.

  14. Andrew Pietrzak 21/03/2012 at 11:59 am - Reply

    I agree entirely about Crados, I used an associated product for some time for one client, who insistedon it and even supplied the program, now I have no work from that agency!

  15. Jose Henrique Lamensdorf 21/03/2012 at 11:36 am - Reply

    In the barrage of spam I receive from Crados GMBH, one piece was interesting… it was a link to a questionnaire about my translation work, hosted on their web site, which would calculate how long would it take for Crados to pay for itself in my specific case.

    So I answered it as accurately as I could, and got the amazing answer: 13 years!!! … and yet it failed to take into account all the costly upgrades I must buy once a year. So the correct answer should have been never!

    Yet their heavy marketing seems to have convinced a massive number of translation PMs everywhere that owning Crados supersedes the need for translation and language knowledge and skills. So they demand Crados “sine qua non”, even for jobs where it is completely useless, e.g. audio/video, handwritten docs, very short docs, etc. If I were that gullible, I’d probably buy Crados and offer translation services from any language intoany other language.

    • Rose Newell 21/03/2012 at 3:30 pm - Reply

      Haha, it appears they have exposed their own game with that questionnaire! Funny story, thanks for sharing.

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