Mar 04

A freelancer perspective on the GeoWorkz

geoYesterday I attended a webminar by Lionbridge (LIOX) about their new translation tool – Translation Workspace aka GeoWorkz – which is to replace Logoport in all jobs ordered to freelance translators worldwide.

If you don’t know anything about Logoport – it’s a server based TM system, in which multiple translators can work concurrently on the same project, using light client-side applications: a MS Word add-on, XLIFF editor (a good one) and QA tool (also decent), which can be used for LIOX jobs only. Now the idea is to release somewhat improved and more powerful Logoport-based system – GeoWorkz – to all. It can be used by LPs and freelancers alike. The main benefits would be the ability to easily share all kinds of assets – mainly TMs and glossaries. GeoWorkz could be a perfect tool for the small to medium LPs or occasional collaboration of networked freelancers working together on some bigger job – all thanks to eliminating all the hassle with updating glossaries and TMs, plus the ability to use online review tool. The software includes a comprehensive and flexible asset rights management, assures security and confidentiality, etc.

However, as usually, the devil is in the details. First of all, it is based on Logoport. Let’s be honest – I don’t know a single translator who worked with the system and really liked it. It’s decent, when working properly, but no frills. One can get over the word counting algorithm with internal matches – sooner or later this will become a standard. One can get used to, and get around, the unreliable glossary matches display. The main problem is a speed (or lack of it). Logoport never was a speed demon, especially when working on large tagged files, but for the last several months the speed decreased drastically – at least for the European vendors. LIOX will have to significantly increase servers throughput, or the venture will be doomed from the start. Fortunately, I’ve been told this will be so.

While, regardless of other factors, I won’t move my business “to the cloud” (security and privacy concerns plus the ability to work off-line), I might consider using the system from time to time for sharing some bigger jobs, with the ability to easily control and coordinate them.

However, the more pressing problem is the “pay as you go” payment model – in fact based on a monthly subscription plans, with fee value tied to the monthly number of words. The lowest fee would be 10 Euro (14 USD) with the limit of 5,000 words, and to get the reasonable monthly limit of 80,000 words one would have to pay 50 Euro (70 USD) . Of course providing that all the freelancer’s jobs would be done via GeoWorkz. And they say 3-year TCO is lower than any other TM system. Well, I don’t know what kind of math they’re using but do I know that I can get other top CAT tools for a 6-8 month’s fee equivalent. With no additional costs in the future. Still, a bargain if you want to use some networking features and job sharing – you just pay for one month to get the job done.

It gets even better if you get a job via GeoWorkz from some client (agency) working with system. The job assigned through system does not count to the word limit of recipient, but to the word limit of the ordering party. So, if you were to use the system only for jobs from LIOX, it would be enough to have no “private” word limit. The problem – there’s no such thing.

In effect, a freelancer will have to pay at least the lowest monthly fee just to get jobs from LIOX, since they won’t be using any other tool, and you can’t get a job without the system account. In simple terms, this means that freelancer will have to pay to get a job. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Somehow, I predict a drastic drop of LIOX freelance vendors numbers in June, when the payment system will kick in. Unless they think it over and offer their vendors free accounts (even without the ability for “private” jobs).

If you want to learn more about GeoWorks, visit their website, there’s plenty of info there.


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    • freelance translator on 2010/03/04 at 17:08
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    I´ve attended it too and I am scandalized too!!! I just cannot believe it! I don´t know if we, freelance translators, that have to PAY FOR ALL, can do anything about it and protest! I don´t agree with this stupid and…. policy!

    • Jens Wargenau on 2010/03/15 at 15:36
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    I agree with your concern especially about the pay-or-leave approach for existing L10nbridge vendors, and I similarly predict a drastic drop in their number of freelance vendors for whom 10 euros a month can be discouraging enough to discontinue their services. I cannot really see benefits for me as an established freelancer who already has had his technology in place for years – and therefore made his technology investments – and who primarily works on his own as opposed to with teams. Add to this the general resistance amongst freelancers to actually invest unless absolutely necessary, and I fear all this will backfire on L10nbridge.

  1. I think that collaboration as depicted in the post will not be an option as you will only be able to collaborate with people who already have GW accounts – which severely limits the options.

    We are a small LSP and my initial thought was that we could provide our freelancers with the tool and improve our services – but as it turns out I cannot pay for a dozen freelance subscriptions to share around for projects as required (similarly to flexible client licensing available in many CAT tools, e.g. MemoQ): every freelancer must have his/her own subscription. This basically ensures that no LSP will be able to move to GW, imo.

    Looking at the number of profiles in the GW directory it already seems like a failure, the system has been out for 2 weeks and there are only a handful of freelancers available there (17 in case of the American English as one of the languages of the language pair).

    • Freelancer on 2010/06/18 at 17:28
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    “you just pay for one month to get the job done.”

    If it only were so. Actually, if you have a monthly subscription plan and you terminate it, you will have to pay an “Early termination fee” worth of three months’ subscription fees. The result is that to get a one-off job done, you would have to pay the equivalent of four months fees.

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