Money is always a touchy subject, and CAT tool prices are no exception. A couple months ago on ProZ, there was a thread demanding ultra cheap tools. There were strong feelings on both sides – tools should be free, or tools have a right to be really expensive. So let me explain to you our philosophy.
First of all, there are many ways to price a translation tool. Online tools often let you buy access up to a word limit. For desktop tools, there are really two options – renewal based licenses and perpetual licenses. Then, of course, there’s free. We’ve considered these options extensively. Developing an online version of Fluency hasn’t proved economically prudent as of yet, so the online pricing models are mostly irrelevant. And free means no paychecks which I think you’ll understand is not an option. Our main pricing model is the perpetual use license. We do a have a hosted version of our TM/Terminology server that is renewal based, which includes server access and a number of user licenses, but everything else we offer is one-and-done. We also offer free support and training. Our prices are, however, not sky-high. For the most part, we are cheaper than our competitors, and in many cases, dramatically so.
This all sounds great, but one translator that was somewhat familiar with our pricing asked “Is this sustainable?” Our answer – yes. Some translators are jaded from the perpetual license model because of Trados. We understand. We do feel though that the idea of making you pay for our software yearly to support our development of features is…weird. If we develop a new version of the product in the future, it had better be good enough and priced correctly for you to upgrade/purchase. That’s incentive for us to do a good job. We understand that in the renewal model there are also incentives to keep up development, but in that case, you also have incentive to keep paying – your don’t want your license to expire. Software as a service renewals make sense when your software IS a service. But even good desktop software desktop software isn’t really a service (unless it has a hosted server or comes with free support).
We released commercially over a year ago now and our prices haven’t changed dramatically, but our product has. Our support is still top-notch, and we’ll train anyone who asks. As far as our price-point, while driving around in a Mercedes and laying on the white sand beaches of Tahiti while the money rolls in (…I’ll let you guess who I’m talking about) sounds nice, we believe in hard work and fair prices. When freelance translators are all making millions, maybe we will too. But until then, we’ll keep things priced reasonably and accessibly, without compromising quality. If you need custom pricing, please let us know and we’ll see what we can do.