After seven years of resistance, I have finally given in and installed Windows on my Mac – just so I could run SDL Trados Studio 2011. Here’s how I did it.
This is going to sound obvious, but a lot of the software I had to install required a lot of space. I used OmniDiskSweeper to analyse my iMac’s hard drive, see which files were taking up the most space and delete, delete, delete.
Since Trados will only run on a Windows operating system, I had to either install Windows on my Mac directly or create a virtual PC and run Windows on that. Here are the options:
Boot Camp (free) – this comes included in Apple’s OS X Leopard and Snow Leopard, so costs nothing. But Boot Camp won’t let you run Windows and OS X at the same time, meaning there’s no way to switch between them without rebooting. As a translator, this would have severely limited the research I could do and software I could use while working on a document, so I decided against it.
Parallels Desktop for Mac (US $79.99) and VMware Fusion (US $49.99) – both run Windows from a disk image created on your hard drive, while OS X continues to run simultaneously, making both operating systems and your nominated shared files and folders available at all times. As a casual user, Parallels and Fusion seemed fairly similar to me, and I chose Fusion based on a friend’s recommendation.
Fusion was a quick, straightforward installation, and I found it really easy to set up the virtual PC I wanted, despite having no previous knowledge of virtual machines.
After installing Fusion, the next step was to get hold of a Windows installation disc. Here in Canada, I went my local NCIX computer store and picked up a Windows 7 Home Premium DVD OEM for about CAD $110.
To install this, I opened Fusion, opted to create to a new virtual machine and inserted the DVD. I had to do this twice, because my iMac initially spat out the disc as if I were trying to poison it…
Once the disc was running, the Fusion wizard helped me set up the parameters for the operating system quickly. And then I waited.
As slick as ever, Windows hobbled along, eventually taking an hour to install.
Being Microsoft-made, the first thing Windows did after installation was tell me it is prone to viruses and that there were about 1000 security updates that I had to download and install.
So I waited some more, while Windows swept up after itself like a flustered housemaid.
After a restart, I tried to open the version of Internet Explorer that came pre-loaded in this version of Windows, in order to download and install SDL Trados.
But Windows declared it was out of date and insisted I download the latest version instead. So I waited some more.
After what felt like hours of waiting, and another restart, all appeared to be good to go though. IE opened without a problem and finally Windows was fully functioning within Fusion on my Mac.
Now we get to the point of it all. Trados. Normally priced at €845, I managed to get SDL Trados Studio 2011 Freelance for about €490 – I paid CAD $645 – on the ProZ.com Translator Group Buying page.
This does mean waiting for enough translators to commit to buying Trados as part of the group, but this only took about a day. After that, I just made payment as usual to receive a confirmation email containing the activation code and link to my available downloads.
Downloading SDL Trados Studio 2011 Freelance and SDL MultiTerm 2011 was a laborious process. The files are big and for some reason, the internet connection in my Windows virtual machine is slow.
In hindsight, I should have downloaded the installation files in OSX and saved them onto my desktop. I can access these files from within my virtual PC, so running the installation from files saved there wouldn’t have been a problem.
Other than that, installation was reasonably straightforward. The main thing to note is that when choosing language pairs, you have to make five selections, regardless of what you work with normally. I’m not sure why this is!
After all that, was it worth it? Absolutely yes. Using Trados has helped me do more work, more consistently and Fusion is running Windows well in tandem with OSX. But the setup does have some minor niggles:
- Slow WiFi internet connection on my virtual PC
- Windows/Trados take a long time to load
- Windows/Trados launch temporarily throttles OSX programmes
- Delayed sound on virtual PC
- Caps lock sometimes out of sync switching between operating systems
That said, overall Trados is so far proving a help rather than a hindrance.
If you have any ideas for fixes, questions about installation or just want to grumble about translation technology, please leave a comment below!