Benefits of a Windows laptop for a Freelance Translator




  • Greater than 2 minutes, my friend!

    A laptop is a great companion, especially for a freelance translator. As the nature of our work is not within the scope of a typical 9 to 5 job timings, our laptop should not only be a powerhouse, but also a versatile tool and a durable machine.

    Earlier it was only Windows, but with the advent of Apple, we now have Macbook which is brillant and intelligent by design. But for a translator, I still feel a Windows laptop is better than a Mac. Let’s see how:

    1. Compatibility: The most used CAT tool in our industry in SDL Trados Studio, which only runs on Windows. To use it, Mac users have to install windows using Bootcamp, which defeats the purpose of owning a Mac as you would constantly be switching between the two systems, which would in turn diminish your productivity. Although there are other CAT tools like Wordfast and OmegaT, which can run on both operating systems, but you will lose projects which require you to have SDL Trados, and there are a lot of these.
    2. MS Office: Even Mac users admit to this fact that the MS Office productivity tools are the best in market, heaps and miles ahead of what Mac offers. The only caveat is that while the tools in Mac for office (Pages, Numbers and Keynote) come free with it, MS Office has to be purchased (whether one-time or annual Office 365 subscription), but its benefits far outweigh the price label attached to it. Additional suggestion: It is recommended to use only original MS Office software.
    3. Price: A Windows laptop is a clear winner in this segment. A Macbook with the latest version of macOS starts at 70k, but a similar or even better (for our profession) Windows laptop would cost you approximately 40-45 k. So, its quite obvious. Also, getting a Windows laptop serviced in India is quite cheap as compared to a Mac.
    4. Better machine for interpreters: Most of the translators I know provide interpretation services as well. For an interpreter, mobility is the key. They need a system which is powerful and, at the same time, portable. These are the areas where being a Windows ecosystem shines as you can use the Surface Pro line-up of tablets which is a far better machine than its counterpart, the Apple Ipad.
    5. Familiarity: Windows is and has been the de facto instrument in the computing industry. I have been using it since 2000 and that makes me quite at ease using it as I am quite familiar with its interface and know quite a lot about it. Although I always suggest learning new technologies, but only when the old ones don’t work anymore.

    In conclusion, choosing an operating system is very subjective as everybody likes to try it for themselves. I know quite a lot of translators who use both Windows and Mac for their work just to be abreast with both ecosystems. However, if you choose Windows, you will definitely have a edge over your Mac contemporaries, especially in our translation industry.

    Priyank Aggarwal

    About Priyank Aggarwal

    I am a full time freelance French to English/Hindi translator and interpreter based in New Delhi, India. Passionate about languages and anything related to translation.

    7 thoughts on “Benefits of a Windows laptop for a Freelance Translator

    1. Thanks for sharing, Priyank. I have to say that I’ve turned to the “dark side” and have become a Mac user…and loving it! There are many things that I do agree with you. One being MS Office, it just doesn’t compare. I currently have a MacBook Pro. I enjoy Apple products because, in my opinion, they’re more reliable and durable. I have had many PCs in the past, and I’m always disappointed in their vulnerability and durability.
      I run Office 365 and have been doing so even before switching to Mac. I like the fact that is always updated, and I don’t have to worry about paying for the latest and greatest expensive upgrades. Just $10 USD a month. As far as CAT tools go, I really like SmartCAT. It is cloud base, and you don’t have to worry about compatibility. Granted, it is not as well known, but I’m hoping that it will catch up.

    2. To clarify, the Mac office suite (Pages, etc.) does NOT come with macOS. And Office 365 for Mac is much closer to its Windows counterpart than in previous years.

      For what it’s worth, I use a Mac desktop (Mac Mini 2011) as my main machine with a Windows 10 virtual machine, so I can use SDL Trados without problems. And when Windows inevitably crashes, I can spin the VM up again in minutes–all while still doing research or responding to emails in Chrome.

      1. Thanks for your clarification Jonathan. Would update the same in my article. I still remember the day when MS Office was introduced on iOS devices. Those apps were the “most downloaded” ones for several weeks. I’m sure that in the near future, the devices we use would not be a topic for discussion as all will be cloud based.

        @Ginna: Thanks for suggesting SmartCat, would check it out.

    3. Hi Priyank, even though I love my Mac, I have to agree with you: when it comes to translation tools, a Windows laptop will do the job. We use memoQ in the company I work for and, while some years ago the webTrans version could, somehow, be used from a Mac, the new memoQ updates made the tool completely incompatible with Mac. Some freelance translators ended up buying a Windows laptop after the tool was updated, otherwise they wouldn’t have been able to work.

      1. You are absolutely right Claudia. Moreover, I am probably inclined towards of windows OS over Mac because all the Apple products are crazy costly in India. The Lenovo Ideapad I am currently using as a daily driver is around 50 k INR (around 800 USD). A Mac of the same 15.6 inch screen starts here at three times the cost. And with Windows 10, I get all the regular free updates as a macOS user does and might I tell you, the OS experience is improving with every update.

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