The consequences of your (un)professional posture


If you read in a discussion list of translators – professionals and newbies – that “a friend and I wish to buy the CAT tool XYZ (each will pay for half of the tool), can we install it in both PCs?”, what would you think of this individual? I must confess: I translated the question, since it was originally written in Portuguese, and I improved it, because it was full of errors. But the grammar problem is obscured by the posture error – piracy.

Many people believe that if the software is available for free somewhere, or available for less, than it is OK to get it for less or for free. How happy would you be if someone was to offer you a job paying less than the rate you agreed on? Not much, I suppose. And can I share my license with a friend? Read the User Agreement and see for yourself the big “no” in it.

You can argue that this person is starting, so they have no money to spend. I hope you don’t, because it is not an expense, but rather an investiment – the more tools and flexibility you can offer, the more clients or projects you will be able to cover. And clients are usually happy to centralize their projects in a reliable professional that is flexible.

You can’t be flexible using a pirate software. First of all, because that is unprofessional. You are depriving the developer of a great idea – that you obviously find useful – of the reward for their idea. Secondly, because pirate software is not reliable. You can open a file and work in your SW, but when it reaches the client, who (hopefully!) has a legal software, there is no guarantee file will be okay – tags can get lost in the way, for instance.

Back on the “poor begginer translator” – how can this poor person use a pirate software, and later complain that he is underpaid and overworking?

You are not obliged to buy anything. Neither is the physician you see yearly (or should)  – but do you think they could work without their tools? A stetoscope for the basic physical exam. (To make this short, you can read more on tools of our trade here.)

Is the amount to be paid the real problem? There are solutions for that, so this is no excuse. Publicity aside, Wordfast Anywhere functions online and is compatible with most of the file formats usually requested. So all you need is a stable internet connection. There’s also OmegaT, which is a fully free CAT tool, and you don’t have to work online.

The worst of all this, in my humble opinion, is the beginning of this post – the professional posture. This individual is trying to find ways to pay less for the creation of someone else, and he is not afraid to show it. There are clients in these discussion lists, there are project managers and other colleagues monitoring your behavior so that at any moment when the question “can you recommend me a translator?” pops up, they have one or two names at the tip of their tongue. Your name will not be in my list, my friend.

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