Monday, June 13, 2016

How to increase your chances when contacting prospects: don't boast of obsolete software

A couple of years ago I wrote 15 tips on how to increase your chances when contacting translation companies (an article that was later followed by a response from a translation company: How to increase your chances when contacting translation companies - from a translation agency’s point of view)

Another suggestion I think some translators might find useful:

16. If you use obsolete software, don't advertise that.

I've just received a message that, among other things, proudly announced that this translator uses as software tools Microsoft Office 2007 suite, Adobe Acrobat 9 Standard, and Trados Studio 2011.
  • Office 2007 is nine years old, and Microsoft has since released three new version: 2010, 2013, and 2016 (and also Office 365). 
  • Acrobat 9 is eight years old, and also has been superseded by three new versions: 10, 11 e DC (in 2010, 2012, and 2015), 
  • Studio 2011 is five years old, and has been superseded by two new versions: 2014 e 2015.

If old programs still work for you, fine, but don't highlight the fact that you are not updating your software: to a potential customer this suggests that you might not be able to handle newer file formats, and also that your system might not be fully protected against malware (if you are still using software that old, it might be reasonable to assume that your antivirus or firewall also is not up to date).

Maybe you religiously update all your antimalware, and keep using old programs because they just work. If that is so, and still want to say that you use certain programs, don't mention the actual version number, and just say you use Office, Acrobat and Studio. You won't be actually telling a lie, and your prospects might assume that you are using the very latest versions of each program. 

A better option, of course, would be to keep your software up to date.


  1. I find babel fis and Trados okay in the old version but unfortunately when it comes to translating from any language to Kiswahili its is a total mess. Anyway thanks for the advice

  2. Wow! Great to know...You're my hero today - thx a lot! Looking forward to next great tips!

  3. This is indeed a great tip for young Translators wishing to make a name for themselves. Interesting enough, I have found many times the usage of technology to be detrimental in some cases. For example, a direct competitor of Translation Inbox, the company I work for, whom I will not mention, boasts about the fact that they can charge less (down to $0.02 per word) if the use "Software Translation". In my opinion, this just downgrades the work performed by our colleagues, and destroys the dignity of our line of work. Translation tools are great, but they have to be used as what they are: Tools, not use them as a way to cheapen prices. Just my .02

  4. I completely agree with it. Why mentioning the version you use, just mentioning the name of the software is enough I guess.


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