Translation software is good.
It can help you become more productive, more creative, faster, and can give you much more convenience when doing translations.
But what the companies selling you this software won’t tell you is that it is not always necessary.
These companies like to tout their wares as absolute necessities for freelance translators.
But again, this is a lie.
Translation software can improve your translation business.
However, translation software will not make your freelance translation business.
If you have no translation business to start out with, translation software won’t magically give you any business.
It will only improve your work.
Now that we’ve established that, it’s time to look at some of the most popular translation software tools and suites for 2017.
But before you buy, here are some questions to ask about how to choose the right translation software:
What do I want my translation software to do?
Translation software can do all sorts of things.
Newer translation software can do even more.
But you might not want or need it to do everything.
You shouldn’t pay for features that you don’t want.
Do you just need your translation software to build translation dictionaries?
Maybe you’d rather just have it have the capability of creating translation memory.
Or, maybe you only need it to keep track of basics like word count.
How much do you want to spend?
Speaking of paying for features you don’t want, figure out how much you want to spend before buying.
Translation software ranges in price from very expensive to free.
Not every translator needs the most expensive software, and not every translator can get by on features in free translation software.
Here’s a tip if you’re just starting out as a freelance translator.
Don’t buy expensive software.
Actually, don’t buy any software.
Not until you can afford it from the money you get from paying clients.
Once you establish a stable of clients and have continual work, then it might be time to look into which software can help you work faster, thus adding more clients.
Do I Need Translation Software?
This is the most important question of all that you should be asking yourself before purchasing any translation software.
Don’t buy software just because you think you need to as a translator.
The only software you need is usually some sort of word processor.
With that, you can do 90% of the translation jobs you’ll get.
Don’t get tricked into thinking that all translators have fancy software and equipment and so you have to have the same in order to be considered a legitimate translator.
Those are lies being told to you buy translation software companies and those that sell their programs.
Don’t believe the hype.
If You’re Ready to Buy Translation Software, Read On
OK, if you’re convinced that you need to buy translation software to advance your business, then you should read on.
If you’re not ready to buy translation software, you’d be better off spending time figure out how to find more translation clients.
Now, onto the list.
SDL Translation Suite
SDL/Trados is recognized as the translation industry leader in translation software. It’s been around for nearly 20 years building software for translators and translation agencies.
That said, the software it sells is on the expensive side.
Here are its top three translation software packages:
No matter which translation studio you purchase, each is billed as a full-fledged translation solution for translators.
Which means that each offers the following:
- translation memory management
- machine translation
- translation project management
Now, do you need all these things when you’re just starting out?
But as you get more clients, SDL Trados might be the most complete solution for you.
Before you buy, though, be sure and try out the free version (30-day monthly trial) to see if it’s right for you.
The Star Group is a Swiss company that provides translation software for translators and translation agencies.
It’s software isn’t as robust as SDL Trados but it is popular among certain translators due to its approach to terminology management.
While the upper level translation software packages from Trados are a one-time purchase, all the translation software studies offered by Star are based on a subscription package.
Star Group’s translation memory software, Transit NXT, comes in four different versions:
- Transit NXT Freelance (€75/€135/€225 for 3/6/12 month subscription)
- Transit NXT Freelance Pro (€120/€210/€360 for 3/6/12 month subscription)
- Transit NXT Professional (€240/€420/€720 for 3/6/12 month subscription)
- Transit NXT Professional+ (?)
If any of these look interesting, you can check them out at the Star website.
Translation Tools #3 – 23
OK, if the previous two translation software tools leave you with more to be desired, luckily there are plenty of other tools to choose from.
Instead of rehashing what has already been done, I’ll point you to a great resource that lists over 20 different translation software platforms.
Some are free.
Some are expensive.
And some are priced fairly decently.
To check out the complete list, you can follow this link to the CAT tools website at Proz.com.
P.S. Before you choose translation software, make sure you have the most important piece of software of all. Your own translation website.