I couldn’t help but use the title of this entry to show off about the exciting new development in my career. Hear ye, hear ye! I am now translating for an extra special company – myself – on a full-time basis and I am super thrilled about it.
Feel free to check out my LinkedIn account for more details on my experience and the services I offer.
The development ties in nicely with the next topic I wanted to explore – using Parallels. I have had my MacBook Air for some time now, much longer than my previous (Sony VAIO) laptop lasted. It’s fast, I prefer the interface to Windows and, from time to time, I still find new little tricks that make my life easier.
But there’s an obvious downfall for translators: the main CAT tool producers (SDL Trados and MemoQ the biggest that spring to mind) are Windows only. OmegaT was enough for the odd, short translation job, but for larger projects its scope and its benefits are limited. Not having one of these tools goes beyond increases in working efficiency, though. As freelancers, some of our biggest potential clients aren’t interested unless we work on the same platforms that they’re using. That’s a whinge large enough to save for a future blog, though.
Of course, switching to a PC doesn’t only conflict with preferences. CAT tools alone are a significant investment (especially for a new starter), so also buying a whole new computer and the accompanying everyday software (like MS Office), is financially challenging. That’s where Parallels comes in.
I was dubious to begin with, but Windows10 took a long time to download. Then I had to restart because my computer (and I!) slept half way through, causing a download error. I considered giving in. But soon it was up and running and I have been impressed at how Windows literally runs in parallel to OS. I can use Mac keyboard commands to switch directly to individual applications on either platform (i.e. not just between operating systems or only between the applications on one operating system at a time).
A few Pros and Cons
- The obvious one – I am ABLE to use the CAT tools my clients require, without buying a whole new computer.
- Opening Mac applications from the Windows 10 operating system can be quite a short cut: for example, when you “Save Target As” in SDL Trados, it gives you the option to “Open Target Location” (which it of course does in Windows in Parallels). Being able to open the file into (Mac) MS Word directly saves manually finding the file in (Mac) File Explorer.
- Similarly, the programme installation accessed in Finder opened automatically in windows. Much faster.
- For a piece of software that has been a lifesaver, and actually works quite efficiently, it’s not out of reach.
- I’m a shortcut junkie and the usual Mac ones don’t work in the same way on a virtual machine – the “cmd” button doesn’t exist on a PC.
- Ctrl replaces cmd for the basic functions, but muscle memory is usually how I source these shortcuts!
- [cmd + direction arrow] to skip a full line of text, [Options + left arrow] to skip one word are two shortcuts I use an awful lot. Skipping one word is now impossible on the virtual machine and it’s made life a fair bit slower.
- I believe it does use up quite a lot of memory and so can be a little slow (although my Mac is a few years old and very full, so that does have some impact).
- I have had a couple of hiccups that I’ve known PCs to have that I don’t have on my Mac. But that’s less a Parallels issue than a Windows one – I’d have that if I bought a PC.
My pros and cons list turned out to be a little short but that’s because Parallels’ offering is so simple. I am able to work on my own terms and my clients’ terms simultaneously, I have spent relatively little and – touchwood – there have been no major mishaps…
 For the desktop versions at least.