Nov 27, 2009

Pure productivity: 50,000 words translated with Déjà Vu during a toilet break!

This has been a week for ludicrous but probably true claims. SDL, a company noted for sleazy advertising on its path to World Domination, started off with an e-mail advert claiming that past ATA president Marian Greenfield translated 34,501 words in 10 hours using the new Trados Studio 2009. Soon after, translator Wolfgang Jörissen revealed that he had processed over 50,000 words using Atril's Déjà Vu during a toilet break. I'm still waiting for the corresponding revelation regarding MemoQ. It's sure to be a good one.

What has all this got to do with translation in the real world? Not much. SDL, it seems, was boasting about features not available in its previous software versions but functionally available for years with the competition. No news there. But the outrageousness of the claim ignited heated discussion on ProZ, Jill Sommer's blog and elsewhere. Admittedly, some of the discussion is Greek to me, but I think many people are just fed up with the failure of SDL to promote the features and advantages of the company's software without distortion, deception and hyperbole. And unfortunately this means that sometimes their good support people (there are some) and others end up as collateral damage. What's wrong with a little sobriety and balance in marketing? In an ideal world, I'd like to see SDL, Atril, Kilgray and others collaborating on interfaces so we can all use whatever tools we prefer and connect to whatever server solutions some of our clients might prefer. Dream on, I know....


  1. Hi Kevin,

    I translated 200,000 words with MemoQ during one night. In my dream. :)

    Best wishes,

  2. @Mykhailo: I hope you told István this. The next marketing campaign campaign for Kilgray could state: "Translate 200,000 in one night with MemoQ? Is this possible? Yes, in your dreams!" Far better for selling than that piddly 30 thousand something with Trados ;-)

  3. Ah, agreed. Wouldn't it be nice to have a simple, straightforward tool that's not paid-platform dependent, that integrates into Word, that doesn't need thousands of discussion groups and tweaks -- one that just WORKS? Preferrably open source? We are dreaming, too. In the meanwhile, we use DVX and OmegaT and don't believe a word about these outrageous claims. They are amusing, though!

  4. @Judy/Dagmar: Integrates into Word? Naw, I'll pass on that one. MS Word is a nuisance for large documents. I prefer the vertical grid paradigm of DVX/SDLX/MemoQ/etc. Around 2001/2002 I kept statistics on my productivity with DV and Trados, which I used alternately a great deal, and found that the vertical layout with uniform fonts, etc. generally resulted in 20 to 30% better output. Thus I was highly amused to see the same claim made for Trados Studio 2009. Probably the only really honest claim to come from the marketing department there in a while.
    My Nirvana for tools is simply robust interoperability at both client and server levels. You give me a job, tell me what output you want or what server you want me connected to to do the job, and I do it with the tool of my choice, adding my own resources as I see fit. Wouldn't that be nice? With such interface standards the various tool providers would have a real competition based solely on the efficiency of their tools (and of course on the effectiveness of the intimidation practiced by their marketing departments).

  5. The problem with these types of ads is that they are misleading because they do not mention how much time it would have taken the translator do to the job without the CAT tool versus with the cat tool. She translated 34,501 words in 10 hours which sounds amazing, but perhaps it would have taken her 12 hours without the tool.


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