Wednesday, January 27, 2010

How to run two copies of Trados freelance while sharing the same Internet connection

You work from home, together with your partner. You decide to try a program that supposedly can help you do your job better and faster. In spite of a few defects, you find that the new program really helps, so you buy a second copy for your partner, and install it on her computer. Runs great on her computer as well, but, as soon as you launch it from yours, the program detects the copy running on her computer and reverts to demo mode.

This is probably the most annoying limitation of Trados freelance: two copies cannot run on the same network, even if you have paid for both copies. SDL wants you to buy a pro license.

According to SDL’s the reason is that running two copies of Trados at the same time is something only an agency would, and they want agencies to buy the more expensive pro version. So, if you are not an agency but you live and work with another translator, you are out of luck: you can either run Trados on two disconnected computers (so you cannot share a fast Internet connection), or you can have both computers connected, but only one of them running Trados.

There is a way you can still share the same Internet connection without violating the terms of the freelance license: put the two computers on different networks.

The way I’ve done it is by adding an inexpensive wireless router to our wired home network.

Our computers and various devices connect to our Internet router via Ethernet cables. Also connected to the wired router is a wireless router, to which our laptops can link. When it is time to launch a second freelance copy of Trados on one of the computers, I just unplug the Ethernet cable from my laptop. At that point the laptop is no longer on the same network as my partner’s desktop PC, but it still accesses the Internet (through the wireless router).

This is just a workaround and still a nuisance (the physically disconnected laptop no longer reaches some of the peripherals). I suspect that I could find a better solution if I knew networking better, but this is a useful stopgap: this way we can have two copies o Trados running at the same time, from two computers that share the same Internet connection.


Read the comments for better way to sidestep this issue. Also, as Paul says in his comment, SDL finally did the right thing, and this issue no longer affects SDL Trados Studio 2009 (the newest version of the program).

One thing I did not mention before: we do have one copy of Trados 2007 pro installed on my desktop PC, so normally this old Trados issue does not affect us - my wife works on her licensed copy of Trados freelance, and I on my licensed copy of trados pro. However, we also have a second freelance copy installed on a laptop, for use wen, for example, I work offsite. Right now, however, my desktop PC is out for repairs, and I have to work from my laptop, so I was forcibly reminded of this really annoying Trados built-in limitation.


  1. Hi Riccardo,

    good tip, but I can recall a better one from the time we were still using Trados quite a lot (we later transitioned to memoQ and never looked back) and some freelancers were hooking up their laptops at the office for the purpose of importing/exporting files and memories.

    As a workaround for this license limitation I installed a free copy of a software-based firewall (I think it was Comodo Firewall, but the functionality is similar in other firewall packages). I then disabled some of the packets that the newly-connected laptops were sending out on the LAN. I may be wrong, but I think these were the multicast packets. You may need to fiddle a bit with the options before finding the type of packet you need to disable.

    With some luck, file sharing will not affected by the modification, while Trados will not complain any longer about the extra licenses.

    Legally speaking, I'm not sure how such a modification can be considered in view of the software license agreement. But since you are not touching Trados in any way and are only changing some of the networking features of the OS, let's say there's room for interpretations...

  2. Hi Riccardo,
    as a regular reader of your excellent site I wanted to contribute with another work around. Confronted with the same problem my solution has been to set up the PCs connected to the same router with different workgroup names (not one network anymore). Shared resources are still available mapping them manually using the IP.
    Kind regards,
    T. Hempel

  3. Hi,

    Just thought I would mention that this restriction does not apply to SDL Trados Studio 2009 if you are working at home.



  4. Hi Roberto and T. for the suggestions - as I mentioned I am not an expert of network setup: I suspected there were better ways to do this, and you confirm it.

    Paul: we have not installed Studio 2009 yet, but I'm glad they have finally done away with this nuisance!

  5. Hi! We are a couple of freelancers sharing an office, and we just ran into this problem. I was happy to see the solutions above, although I didn't really understand exactly how to fix it (not an expert of networking either). So, I checked for other solutions, and found one that is definetely the easiest and quickest solution (and doesn't cost anything either)! In Network and Sharing Center in Vista (I have a Norwegian version, so could be my UI references are not 100% accurate), disable (turn off) all the options under Sharing and Recognition. Agencies of course need to be able to share everything over the network, but we don't (at least not all the time). Problem solved!

  6. Hi Laura,

    From what I understand, you want to share a license with a friend... I'm not sure that is possible, but check with SDL: they would know. My post here was about issues that two people running two licenses on the same network were experiencing, not about sharing the same license.


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