Germany’s Most Popular Productivity Tools for Technical Translators

Germany’s BDÜ (Federal Association of Interpreters and Translators) recently published an update to its curated list of technical translators (Fachliste Technik).

The list features 340 professional translators, all of whom are BDÜ members and had to submit their qualifications to the association before being included in the list.

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This article is based on the list of linguists specializing in translating technical documentation, a major sector in Germany given the country’s thriving Mittelstand (i.e., small and medium manufacturers), which often occupy leading positions in a particular niche.

The BDÜ advises buyers of technical translation that selecting professional translators is key to avoiding the potential risks arising from Germany’s strict product liability laws.

In addition to name, address, e-mail, and other personal information, the list also includes the translation productivity tools used by featured translators. The association published similar lists for the medical, financial, and legal sectors, but do not list any tools. A list for the energy sector, which did have tools, was published nearly two years ago.

Linguists were able to mention multiple tools. The sample size is relatively small (340 linguists). However, we feel that given the careful curation of the list by the BDÜ, it does provide a good indication of the overall market position of major tools among Germany’s technical translators.

We cleaned up the data for double entries as some translator profiles appeared more than once in different language combinations.

Top 5 Tools

Going by product (i.e., not by developer), SDL Trados Studio 2015 dominates with 22.2% of mentions. Local German champion Across comes in second with its Across Translator Edition basically receiving 11.1% of overall mentions. Closely following is SDL Trados Studio 2014 with 11%. Kilgray’s memoQ 2015 got 7.5%, while STAR Transit NXT rounded out the top five with 6.8% of mentions.

Top 5 Developers

SDL continues to dominate the market going by the number of tool developer mentions: 52% of all mentions are for SDL products. Here too, Germany’s Across is the runner-up at a distant 15.3%. Kilgray (memoQ) comes in third with 11%. Star (8.6%) and Wordfast (3.1%; or 10% percent higher if one includes Alchemy).

The Gist

The main takeaway from this well curated, yet still relatively small sample, is to show just how conservative this market segment is. SDL continues to benefit from its decades-old, first-mover advantage against challengers like Across, Kilgray, memoQ, and others. More recent entrants like Wordbee (a TMS with productivity features) or Lilt (adaptive MT) are completely absent from the list.

Hat tip to the BDÜ

Florian Faes

Co-Founder of Slator. Linguist, business developer, and mountain runner. Based in the Shire, aka Zurich, Switzerland.