I was at a translation event recently and met a translator who ran an agency. We had a brief chat about language pairs and rates, and then to my surprise, the translator said he’d just got hold of a new OCR tool and offered to send me a copy. Gathering momentum, he proudly announced that all his software was pirated: Windows, Office, Trados and all. After all, he said, why should he spend money on software if he could get it free?
Well, I think there are several reasons.
Why buy legal software if you can get a pirated copy?
- It’s only fair. I don’t translate for free (except when I choose to) and I don’t expect software companies to work for me for free either.
- Help keep down the price of the software. The less translators use pirated copies of a program, the less expensive it will be for the rest of us.
- Developers spend their time (and therefore our money) troubleshooting issues that turn out to be related to pirated versions. Read my post on SP2 installation issues to learn more.
- Get support for any issues that might crop up. If you own a Studio license, you get free basic support. For an annual fee, you’re given full support and free upgrades.
- Get access to upgrades with new features.
- Pay for your software and decrease your taxable income. Investing in hardware, software and continuing professional development (conferences, webinars) is a win-win situation.
- Don’t risk infecting your work machine with malware.
- Keep a clear conscience.
What does Studio cost?
SDL Trados Studio 2014 freelance currently costs €695, but you can pick it up for less in a ProZ Group Buy (40% discount) or through local resellers in certain countries. Unfortunately, SDL was not forthcoming when I asked which countries were eligible and what discount was applied: “This is not something that we publicly disclose.” Not a helpful answer.*
* See Paul Filkin’s comment below for more details
What does it cost you in terms of work?
If you charge decent rates, you’ll be able to cover the cost of Studio in a question of days with a single medium-sized job.
Which brings me back to my pirate colleague. When I confessed that I paid for all my software, he retorted, “At the rates you charge, anyone could afford it!”
Moral of the story
If you’re charging rock-bottom rates and are looking for pirated software, maybe it’s time to reconsider your business approach.
My encounter with the pirate translator left me wondering how widespread this practice is in the translation industry. Please place your (anonymous) vote below so we can find out.
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