In naked cash terms that is:
|Item||Company||Price (USD)||Price (EUR)|
|SDL Trados Studio 2009 Freelance |
Ensure your compatibility with the market leader
|Total retail price (for 1 item)||USD 995.00||EUR 845.00|
|Translator group buying price||USD 495.00||EUR 420.00|
Savings = 50.2% (500 usd/eur reduction!)
|Please note the following terms:|
Not bad, really. Someone intending to get a new SDL Trados license will indeed save significant money. AFAIK the package still includes the old SDL Trados 2007 Suite and SDLX. Even if you prefer other tools as I do, there may be a case for purchasing a new license of upgrading an old one for better workflows and QA in projects involving multiple tools. For example, memoQ translates SDLXLIFF files from Trados Studio quite nicely, but does not (in version 4.5.71), I believe, set the flag to indicate that the translated segments have been confirmed. That's a minor thing, but in general if a deliverable is called for in some other vendor's format like TXF (Star Transit), TTX (Trados TagEditor) or SDLXLIFF (Trados Studio), there are some advantages to doing final QA checks in those environments to avoid surprises.
In terms of absolute costs, however, the cut-rate SDL Trados Studio prices for freelance licenses are still more expensive than some other options. OmegaT, for example, costs 420 euros less, unless you want particular features that aren't available and have to "sponsor" these with the developers, and the OmegaT support plan ("RTFM") delivers more value in most cases than SDL plans are rumored to provide. Anaphraseus offers similar value for the money and also saves users 420 euros while also supporting the "we-don't-need-no-stinking-formats" philosophy of those who believe that asking a translator to deal with a word processor's interface is quite enough, thank you. We won't count the opportunity costs involved in these alternatives, because I am informed by reliable sources that there are none ;-)
Even Kilgray, known for the high cost of memoQ in the opinion of some translators who prefer their CATs to be furry, not fuzzy, routinely offers ProZ group buy pricing and other special packages for significantly less than the 50% off rate now offered by SDL. I paid about 400 euros for my memoQ Pro license a while back, and typical special packages I've seen since then run between 300 and 400 euros.
I disagree strongly with Renato's suggestion that "free" or at most $99 is the "right" price for a high-end commercial translation environment tool able to support work with dozens of media formats and work efficiently in collaborative environments, mine terminology and apply it for translation and QA, etc. Get real. We've been there and seen that approach (or something close to it) fail: Déjà Vu. Once my favorite tool, this once fine software from Atril has been horribly neglected for most of the past 8 years, with very few upgrades released to fix bugs or add new formats. Users were promised "free upgrades", and we got what we paid for. Frankly, I would have preferred paying a few hundred euros for a tool that helped me earn a comfortable living, so I could see it evolve and benefit from the innovations. I can understand the allergy than many developed to annual support fees through past bad experiences with SDL, but I have the impression that this is improving, and market leaders like Kilgray are legendary for their support and continual improvement of their software products, and such companies earn their support fees and our support as well.
As I see it, however, the actual cost of most translation environment tools is fairly irrelevant. Even "free" versus 420 euros or so is a bit of a red herring. If I make about 40 euros per hour on average as a translator, and the tool that costs me 420 euros enables me to work 10% more efficiently or take on projects in formats for which I can charge 10% more, I have recouped my cost for the "expensive" tool in about 100 hours of work - typically less than a month. After that, this "expensive" tool is just dumping more money in my bank account. (The reality for me is somewhat different, with an ROI break-even of less than a week based on actual rates and past efficiency measurements with various tools, but I wanted to show that the math works even with more modest rates, efficiency differences of less than half of what I have experienced, and light workloads.)
And let's not forget support. Someone like me, who has a serious geek streak, can live with the RTFM world of the free tools, where despite occasionally good user communities and some incredibly helpful individuals, you are (rightfully) pretty much on your own to sink or swim. One of the best reasons to invest in a commercial tool for modern, professional translation work, is to have your hand held when necessary by competent people in the UK, Hungary or elsewhere. I'm getting old and have a bad memory these days, but without thinking very hard I can come up with at least half a dozen incidents in the past year where an acquaintance of mine with less technical savvy than my dog has had projects rescued by the legendary Kilgray support department for memoQ. I've heard some similar tales for SDL, and I see very clearly the commitment of excellent employees in both these companies (and others) to making their users' experience more secure and beneficial. And that, my friends, is a part of the balance sheet where freeware and Open Source projects will never look as good.