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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.