Why do I hate Logoport (aka Translation Workspace), part 2


Part 1 can be found here

As we have found in Part 1, Translation Workspace is a business model based on charging your suppliers for the privilege of working with you. It was never intended to act as a "real" CAT tool or tested as such. I don't think that TW developers have ever heard about such illusive ideas as productivity, ergonomics or user experience, and even if they have, they couldn't care less. The result is major usability flaws, which make Translation Workspace even better target for our devoted hatred. I wanted to make a numbered list, but I couldn't decide which flaw is the worst to put it on top, so it's unordered bullets.

  • Repetition handling. Surprisingly, Translation Workspace doesn't save a segment to TM immediately when you close it. I think it happens once in several minutes, so if your file contains considerable amount of reps, you'll have to retype them, use copy-paste or save the file before opening each repeated segment. Major waste of time.
  • More on repetitions. "Master" TM overrides your changes no matter what. It means, that if a segment is present in Master TM and occurs in a file more than once (imagine 20 instances), and you need to edit it, you'll have to go with retype, copy-paste or find and replace. In the ideal world, where nobody is hungry, everyone is using solar power, and can date Megan Fox or Johny Depp if they want to, Master TM would contain only perfect, thoroughly checked and approved translation units. In real world however (goodbye, Megan) Master TM is the legacy of the time, when nobody cared about localization for developing countries (Russia in my case), content was sourced to very cheap local sweatshops and published without any checks. Being a professional, you have no choice but to correct all that is wrong, so even more of your precious time goes to waste.
  • Stability. All facets of Translation Workspace are highly unstable on my scrupulously clean finely-tuned working system with the best broadband you can get (believe it or not, I can watch a 1080p movie from Netflix server on the other side of the world without any hiccups). Every 30 minutes or so Translation Workspace hangs. Sometimes for good, sometimes it returns to normal in 10+ minutes. And no, I am not the only one with this problem. Guess what it does to your precious time?
  • Latency. Moving between segments is always accompanied by a delay. It can be anywhere between several seconds and half a minute based on the server workload. Having delays like this for such a small packets of data is a major failure in the world of Telepresence and MOO shooters. This is bad for two reasons. First you loose ~2h per 1000 segments compared to any real CAT tool (This is big. 1000 segments may often correspond to ~2000 adjusted words which take approximately 4 hours to translate in a normal tool. 4h+2h=6h => ~50% overhead). The second reason is described in the next bullet.
  • Pop-ups. Lots of pop-ups. Obviously, the process of translation implies strong concentration. Open the segment -> Type your translation -> Place tags if needed -> Move to a next segment > Go on. Carefully set up hotkeys, no pauses, no distractions. For experienced translators it develops into a meditative state of mind, in which one almost completely ignores the external irritants, which may include TV, construction work outside or your wife saying something about supper or taking away the garbage. Loosing this concentration is painful, and that's exactly what happens when continuity the process is interrupted by a pop-up window. "Are you sure that you are freaking sure sure?" Pop-up when you move tags in a fuzzy TU, pop-up when you're closing a segment with different spacing around a tag, pop-up when "new segment is coming from TM" whatever that means, pop-up for no-specific-reason-just-for-the-fun-of-it, etc. I haven't used Logoport for a while, so this list may be incomplete. Anyway you work slower, and guess what, waste your time.
  • XLIFF editor doesn't support any export. Yes, it's true. Not only poor souls have to buy Logoport, they actually must work in it. No choice at all.
  • Various minor, but still irritating bugs. For example, hotkeys may just stop working for reason unknown. It can be solved by restarting the application, but given the exhaustive five-step login process, it converts to even more time waste.

No big conclusion here, sorry. Just one thing: time is money; everyone who wastes your time is as good as thief and should be treated as such. Feel free to post your experiences here, I am sure I have omitted something.


Why do I hate Logoport (aka Translation Workspace), part 1


I have seen plenty of bad CAT tools, and only two or three really good ones. Some were particularly ugly, like IBM Translation Manager or Multilizer 4.0. (I have translated several thousand words in fourth version of Multilizer in 2010. Since then I prefer to call it Mutilizer [HA-HA]).

However I have never had any emotions about those, working with bad proprietary tools is a part of the job. When you manage to export files to something you can open in your favorite environment, you win. When you don't, it's like whatever. Ultimately all CATs are the same.

But this tolerance failed me when I became familiar with Logoport/Translation Workspace. I hereby admit that I hate it from the bottom of my heart. Reasons are not entirely clear even for me, but I'll try to analyze them for your amusement. So...

First of all it's Logoport's shameful history, which started when SDL swallowed Trados. Lionbridge became dependent of one of its dire competitors, and felt somewhat uncomfortable. For SDL on the other hand this situation opened wide array of exciting opportunities. So Lionbridge went shopping, and bought small unknown company with unknown undeveloped downright useless copy of Trados macro, which communicated with server instead of local TM. Note that it was long before the cloud hype, so Liox can be considered kinda visionary from this perspective.

Then the fun started. By moving projects to Logoport Liox earned some hard cash and lost what was left of their goodwill among translators, because of "optimized" WC algorithm: Similair (but not equal) no match segments within the same project were considered fuzzy. The basic matching mechanism was also "improved" compared to other tools on the market, for example Introduction -> Implementation is considered a high fuzzy, because those two words are so much alike. Don't you agree?

The more, the better. Logoport remained free for a few years, and everyone got used to it. Just another ugly proprietary CAT. Then someone in Lionbridge came up with a brilliant idea: Let's charge for it! Our suppliers will have no choice but to pay, if they want to continue working for us, and our suppliers' suppliers will also have to pay for the same reason. Free cash! And free cash it was. Some good translators left, but SLV agencies who received over 50% of their work from Lionbridge had nowhere to go.

As you can see, greed is the only reason this tool exists. It was purchased to avoid paying SDL for Trados license on their conditions, and used to rip off vendors in several ways. Noone ever cared about insignificant stuff, like usability, testing, or customer care. Cash keeps flowing, and most "clients" don't have a choice, but to buy and use our "product". Why bother? The result: user experience nightmare.

This leads us to Part 2 of this story — technical/usability reasons why I hate Logoport.