Although RWS acquired SDL last November, the visible switch from gaudy green to tranquil teal happened just a few weeks ago. And along with the rebranding, we have a reinvented app: Trados Business Manager Essential.
Past and present
Eugene Kuchynski, accountant-cum-programmer-cum-translator, launched BaccS (Business Accounting System) in 2016. Three years later, he transferred tool ownership and his personal coding expertise to SDL, who rebranded BaccS as Trados Business Manager (TBM), with a Lite plug-in for freelancers and a standalone Teams version.
Fast forward to 2021; enter TBM v6. In a smart move, RWS has revived the standalone license for individual users (TBM Essential) at the tantalising price of €112 (full price €150). Why my excitement? Because early adopters – freelance translators like me – had been left stranded, falling between the TBM Lite version (too simple, too tied to Studio) and TBM Teams (too complex, too expensive). If you’re a freelance translator working on your own, you now have a flexible, inexpensive option for managing your business, regardless of the CAT tool you use.
TBM Essential is a tool that keeps your admin under control, tracking jobs from the moment a proposal drops into your inbox to the day you file your taxes. Prepare quotes, enter job details, track jobs by status or deadline, issue an invoice, mark it as paid, and export your data to Excel to send your accountant.
Other features include dashboards, client lists, price lists, email sending, expense tracking, currencies and exchange rates, work planning, file management, reports, automatic backups, and full optional integration with Trados Studio projects, packages and analyses.
New features in TBM v6
- Native 64-bit application: load the program fast, process data quickly, switch tabs instantaneously
- Live filter in job list: quickly display by job status (processing, sent, etc.), payment status, client and date range
- Editable invoices: edit invoice fields in print preview
- Simple custom filter builder
- Compact left-hand menu: open the drop-down tool list when needed
- New customisation options: create new layouts by cloning existing lists and forms
- New file management system: set paths to store files in folders outside the database
- Tabs: pin favourite tabs and keep the most recent 7 tabs open between sessions
I look forward to seeing features from v5 that are yet to be implemented in v6: more control of font size (not just zoom in or out); colour coding for approaching deadlines; licencing for two computers; and direct data entry in list views.
My tool of choice
I’ve tried various tools over the years. TBM offers the best balance between simplicity and customisation. I can add custom fields; create invoice templates; download currency rates; define invoice filenames; adapt taxes and reports to Spanish tax office requirements; install it in Dropbox and access it on two computers (with the licence caveat); and back up and easily restore my database. And I like that TBM Essential is a standalone product, which can be linked up to Trados Studio or run independently.
If you were running standalone v5, you should find v6 free of charge in your account and can download and explore it in parallel with the old version. Read how to transfer your old database and invoice templates in this Wiki article.
Although the RWS store offers an upgrade from TBM Lite to TBM Essential for €50, you can’t migrate your data from one to the other. Be patient – a database conversion tool is in the pipeline.
Trados Business Manager has undergone radical changes over the past five years. With TBM v6 we now have a mature product, a dedicated developer – Eugene Kuchynski is still very much at the helm – and an efficient solution for a boring but necessary part of our translation business.
Thanks for the post.
My question is: does this tool finally offer wordcount in files (target text count) for invoicing? This is the feature that keeps me sticking to TO3000 (am using 3D version now, as I got a lucky spin discount).
If I had to count words outside of my admin application, I would waste precious time.
By design, TBM links to Trados Studio, so wordcounts are part of that integration with the Studio project, fuzzy matches and analysis. In my case, I don’t connect the two programs so I don’t make use of that feature. I sometimes use Anycount standalone, which has a breakdown of words by main text, headings/footers/text boxes, etc. and I seem to remember that breakdown was missing from the TO3000. Otherwise, I have the native files open already to see their content so it’s not a big deal for me.
Also, I often charge by the hour or a fixed project rate nowadays, so the exact wordcount is less relevant.
This what I thought.
As SDL Trados counts only source text, I wouldn’t be able to find what I need.
I have both Anycount and TO3000 (sometimes it’s cumbersome to create a project when all I need is a quick wordcount).
Actually, Anycount 3D was missing some functions TO3000 3D was offering (discard hidden text and other options). Upon my request, it was implemented within 24 hours. That was a big WAOW.
Ah yes, I remember an issue with hidden text. Great to hear they sorted it so fast! Impressive!
Just as an aside Trados Studio can do a target wordcount – https://appstore.sdl.com/language/app/target-word-count/965/ – I guess it would be possible to build an import for this if enough people wanted it.
Once again your blog has taught me something, Emma – for some reason I hadn’t previously heard of Trados Business Manager, and it might be just the thing I’m looking for! On first installation it’s throwing all kinds of wobblies but I’m sure I’ll sort that out (my fault, I think – I wasn’t paying attention when it was pre-installing .Net frameworks and so on, and I rejected one of them…duh).
Hi Jane! Great to hear you’re giving TBM a try! Depending on the system you’re coming from, you’ll find that TBM will really improve keeping track of deadlines, invoicing and payments. (Haha, sounds like an advert!)
For installation problems – and questions about the program – the Community Forum is the place to go: https://community.sdl.com/product-groups/translationproductivity/business-manager/ because Eugene, the developer, monitors it.
OK, now I’m hoping you can help me sort this out, Emma – I’m still having the original issues with the program not running, but I can’t submit an installation problem to the Community Forum because I have to log in to do so and the instant I am logged in, the “add new query” (or whatever it’s called) button disappears! Any other suggestions for getting support?
How weird, Jane. To skip the missing button step, try signing in and then use this direct link.
If that doesn’t work, then the TBM licensing home page has an add-question field.
Ha, that just gives me “Page Not Found” – clearly I’m destined not to use TBM!
Jane, did you try the second link that I added to my comment above? That seems to work…
I’m afraid it doesn’t work for me – the add question field (I know where it is, because it’s there before I sign in) isn’t visible.
Unfortunately when Eugene sold the app to Trados and continued development, the app became a bunch of crap that is sold for a massive amount of money. The app is not recommended to anyone as it crashes all the time.
Sorry to hear about your experience, Ivan. Eugene is very much present in the RWS community forum and I’m sure he’d respond to and solve specific issues – rather than general derogatory complaints.
I’ve haven’t had any crashes, but some instances of TBM not opening, which have been solved. I’m running the latest build of TBM Essential (6.0.35). If by any chance you’re on an old build or old version, it’s definitely worth updating.
Re. the price. At €150, it’s comparable to it’s main competitor, TO3000 that sells for €115-€399, depending on the version. If you look on the price in terms of the time saved from manually tracking jobs and invoicing, then you’ve paid for it with the equivalent of two or three hours’ work.
Unfortunately the software is not good as it used to be when Eugene handled it alone. Now is full of bugs and not working at all. The support team is slow and the app crashes all the time. The program is not anymore worth of money as most of the time you will not be able to use it. RWS destroyed the good app and all. The development of app is now determined by a management who just wants to earn money providing software which doesn’t work and is addressed to big players so that they can get money for solving your issues by making you pay additional money for any bigger issue that comes as Professional technical support. If you search alternatives I would go with Protemos which is free for freelancers but as a company you can use also their system as it’s very good and affordable.
We’ll have to agree to disagree, Giovanna! See my response to Ivan’s comment above on 6 September.