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.