Volume 6, No. 4 
October 2002

  Andrei Gerasimov




Five Continents

Index 1997-2002

  Translator Profiles
Translator, Teacher, Businesswoman, Mentor
Courtney Searles-Ridge interviewed by Ann Macfarlane

  The Profession
The Bottom Line
by Fire Ant & Worker Bee
Translation and Project Management
by Celia Rico Pérez, Ph.D.
What the Guys Said, the Way They Said It, As Best We Can
by Danilo Nogueira
Translators and Computers
The Emerging Role of Translation Experts in the Coming MT Era
by Zhuang Xinglai
  Legal Translation
Difficulties Encountered in the Translation of Legal Texts: The Case of Turkey
by Dr. Ayfer Altay

  Literary Translation
Cultural Implications for Translation
by Kate James
African Writers as Practising Translators—The Case of Ahmadou Kourouma
by Haruna Jiyah Jacob, Ph.D.
  Arts & Entertainment
Performability versus Readability: A Historical Overview of a Theoretical Polarization in Theatre Translation
by Dr. Ekaterini Nikolarea
Translation in a Confined Space—Film Sub-titling
by Barbara Schwarz

  Caught in the Web
Web Surfing for Fun and Profit
by Cathy Flick, Ph.D.
Translators’ On-Line Resources
by Gabe Bokor

  Translators’ Tools
Translators’ Emporium
Trados—Is It a Must?
by Andrei Gerasimov
Translators’ Job Market

Letters to the Editor

Translators’ Events

Call for Papers and Editorial Policies
Translation Journal
Translators' Tools

Trados—Is It a Must?

by Andrei Gerasimov


he aggressive marketing campaign of Trados makes us to believe that you can't be/stay successful/competitive on the worldwide translation service market unless you have/use this "industry standard" TM software. The objective of this micro-study is to check whether the above statement is true and, if so, to what extent. I believe that my case is quite representative, since I am a typical freelance technical/marketing translator translating about 500 thousand words from English into Russian per year. My clients (businesses and translation companies) are from all over the world—USA, Israel, Japan, Belgium, UK, France, Russia etc. These facts make my own case study typical enough for drawing valid conclusions regarding the truthfulness of the above-mentioned marketing campaign.

I was quite happy with Wordfast for a year when a lost job (use of Trados was a strict client's requirement) made me buy Trados 5.0. It was in January 2002. It took me two weeks (full-time) to learn how to use the tool (despite the fact that I was thoroughly familiar with the TM concept and had used DéjàVu and Wordfast). By the end of the first month I was proficient enough in the use of Trados to translate various types of files. After that I sent notification that I owned/used Trados 5.0 Freelancer to about 2000 (two thousand) translation agencies worldwide, including my old clients.

By the end of the second month I returned to Wordfast in my daily work for several reasons. Some of them are as follows: IMHO, WF is much more user-friendly. My OS and applications (Windows 98, MS Office 97) never crash when I use WF. The last reason was purely psychological one: I did not feel obligated to migrate to Trados from WF only because I paid USD 745 for Trados and WF was licensed free of charge.

From January 2002 to August 2002 I did 125 small, medium-sized, and large jobs. Only three jobs required the use of Trados. In these 3 cases the source files were in MS Word format. The total word count of these 3 jobs was less than 3 percent of my total workload. I did these 3 jobs using WF 3.35, and no client noticed any difference. They were sure that I had used Trados 5.0 and were happy about my translation services.

Of course my experience with various TM software is a limited one. However my conclusions are as follows:

  1. The use of TM software is a must for every freelance translator working on domestic or worldwide markets. TM software increased my output/productivity 30 percent on the average, in some cases 70 percent.
  2. Theoretically buying Trados should help to win a higher segment of the worldwide translation market, since only six Russian freelancers have it. However actually the business advantages of buying Trados were negligible in my case.
  3. The main conclusion—you can advertise yourself as a Trados user even if actually you use Wordfast. Wordfast is completely compatible with Trados files (bilingual and TMs). No client sees a difference. The difference is significant only to your wallet—Trados is licensed for about USD 700, and Wordfast for free.
  4. Keep your head cool when you are attacked by overly aggressive marketing experts.