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Antitrust and competition law: restraint of trade by competing systems

I use and like CafeTrans. It suits my pocket, my needs and my computer's OS. I like it. But not everyone does. Especially aficionados of SDL Trados. 

The manner in which SDL Trados is vaunted as being "the" CAT solution in the sector constitutes a major block to engaging work from those who vaunt it as an exclusive condition of trade. And that not only disappoints me, but it angers me and it lends weight to suspicions that forces are at work that seek the demise of CafeTrans and other, competing technologies, and thus aim to carve out a monopoly for SDL Trados. 

Below, the substance of a post I have put up on the LinkedIn portal. I have no evidence beyond suspicion that this is happening. But, I recommend that CafeTrans monitor such developments, for the sake of its continued success, its commercial continuation and my own peace of mind. SDL Trados may not be Microsoft; but it may be acting as if it were Microsoft.

"You must use brand X CAT." I must use what? I MUST? This is restraint of trade and I've never before done this but I will now do it:

There is more than a suspicion that a certain market-leader in computer-aided translation technology is seeking, whether it be by kick-backs or by outright duress, to carve an exclusive position of commercial advantage in this sector.

It is as if I were to engage a joiner to build furniture, whereby I insist that only Stanley hammers may be used to bang nails into the wood, and that using a Hilti hammer constitutes breach of our contract. It is a mode of DOING business conceived to put developers of competing CAT products OUT of business.

Even if SDL Trados is still the most popular, today's 'minor' CAT programmes also have to watch out for software such as MemoQ and Memsource, and especially for agencies asking to work online. Here unfortunately Cafetran can do nothing.

But, the important thing in my opinion is that Cafetran increasingly refine its compatibility with the 'big boys'—especially SDL Trados and MemoQ—in order to avoid the drift of its users.

As far as I am concerned, no agency has refused me work so far because I had neither SDL Trados nor MemoQ, and so far those who wanted me to work with Memsource have agreed to let me work offline.

I guess it also depends on the market. In Japan, for instance, translation companies are quite flexible. On the other hand, many of them don't even use a CAT tool!

I have no gripe with CafeTran. But CafeTran may have a gripe with potentially unethical practices in the market that seek CafeTran's demise. This is not an issue between user and supplier. It's an issue amùong suppliers. I merely want to make CafeTran attentive to what I see could be an attempt to corner them into extinction.

I do not have enough information to judge the CAT tool market, but if it is true that forces are at work to corner minor CAT tools like Cafetran ('minor' in the market sense, of course), then I would be inclined to believe that the same forces are at work among the major CAT tools too in order to weaken each other. I may have not been able to grasp entirely the meaning of 'potentially unethical practices' you are referring to, but if you shared some more information I could understand better.

At any rate, in my opinion the survivability of a tool like Cafetran much depends very much on how the developer makes his software appealing (in technical and economic terms) to translators versus the competition.

At this point, only CTE's developer knows how Cafetran is performing in all senses.

I’m not worried. Trados”s market share is gigantic. Institutions like the EU (remember?) use it. And still CafeTran is successful and preferred by many. I do all my Trados stuff in CafeTran, even the WorldServer and GroupShare projects. My clients don’t mind. Viva the sdlxliff format that has established as a de facto standard, that can be handled with CafeTran perfectly. RWS is not likely worried about nice software.
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