In the 1980s I worked at the research center of a major international enterprise and saw the terrible economic consequences of a proprietary laboratory information management system (LIMS) which led to the loss of years worth of data because the data could not be migrated after the software provider failed. So I was absolutely astounded several years ago to hear an Across representative at LocWorld in Berlin defend the companies "unique selling point" of incompatibility as a "security measure" that corporate clients appreciate. Not smart corporate clients with a future, certainly. Without even trying hard I can come up with half a dozen means of five-finger discounting the "language assets" stored on an Across server; what I can't do is suggest convenient ways for someone burdened with an Across server to work with the majority of linguists who refuse to have anything with what one agency owner described as "the only CAT tool that pretty much guarantees you under 2k words per day."
I looked at Across myself some time ago and was shocked by its appalling ergonomics, which complicate the work of translators to an extreme degree compared to popular and interoperable solutions like SDL Trados Studio, WordFast, OmegaT, memoQ and others. Across is a trap which offers its users no real advantage and a host of liabilities for data management and work planning. The "advantages" are entirely for the tool provider because of client lock-in and the inability of Across users to migrate easily to a better solution which allows cooperation with a wider spectrum of qualified service providers instead of merely those desperate enough to sacrifice themselves for the crusts to be had with this bottom-tier solution.
Although I'm known for my personal preference for memoQ for the kinds of work I do, I am familiar with quite a range of tools, and I can endorse any tool with reasonable ergonomics produced by a stable team with good support and a commitment to interoperable data standards. With a clear conscience I might support the use of WordFast, OmegaT, SDL Trados, Ontram, STAR Transit, memSource, memoQ and others depending on the particular needs of a situation, because I know that the client will not be locked in and will have viable options of work with qualified service providers who may have optimized workflows involving other tools. Unfortunately, this is not the case with Across.
A recommendation of Across by me would be a deeply hostile and unethical act, in principle a statement that I wish the client to be locked in to an inefficient, costly platform that will give the advantage to competitors with more flexible means of work. And fortunately, I cannot think of anyone deserving of such a harsh sentence as Across.
|Photo: Antony Stanley. This file is |
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