Are you considering the purchase of “thick client”/standalone installation CAT tools? There are, at best, only a couple of use cases for which they still continue to make sense.

The main use case is localization of compiled code, or “binaries”, such as MS Windows .exe and .dll files without the need to recompile components. For the purpose of this post, Android .apk packages can be considered to be in the same category. Tools like SDL Passolo or Alchemy Catalyst have their value in a localization process designed around binaries or equivalent packages. Being able to arrange and resize UI elements as part of the “translation process” has proven its value.

The testing of SDL Passolo over the past few months highlighted a number of issues ranging from trivial development testing oversights to more serious problems with failed extraction of Android application packages (.apk).

The screenshot below shows that Passolo incorrectly inserted an “r” into the Android “values” folder name it created for for the language code for Albanian (sq-AL). This indicates testing deficiencies in the tool development process.

Problems with .apk extraction are not unexpected, and should not be blamed exclusively on Passolo. Keeping up with the many changes Google makes to Android is not trivial. Tool purchasers face a bit of a dilemma here.

SDL Trados 2015 was a disappointment. Installation on Windows 10 caused not one but two system restarts. This was somewhat suspicious because the two reboots immediately followed each other, indicating that the developers and testers might want to have a closer look at the installer.

A consistent and nasty flaw was that Trados would hang after performing a “Pretranslate” operation involving Excel spreadsheets and language combinations of English and Indian languages, such as Hindi or Gujarati. Even patient linguists get frustrated having to restart Trados after every “Pretranslate” job. Getting feedback from the vendor on the issue was a challenge and eventually accelerated the switch to a full cloud platform.

SDL’s strategy over the past two decades has basically consisted of buying up competitors, starting with Trados, then WorldServer, Passolo, a machine translation provider, and cobbling legacy code together.

Cloud platforms, most of them unburdened by legacy considerations, are simply better value for money.


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