In this article I just want to address SDL Trados Business Manager Lite which has gone from being a free plugin, with some fairly basic functionality for creating an invoice or a quote from a SDL Trados Studio project, into a really useful software application for managing the needs of a freelance translator. It’s not free anymore, not expensive either, but the commitment I think we’ve shown to meeting the needs of genuine freelance translators by continuing to enhance the product, warrants the licence fee.
So what have we done to meet these needs? Since the original launch of SDL Trados Business Manager Lite 5.0.0 (I’ll just call it Lite from now on!) we have put out three major releases. Each one of these releases introduced new functionality based on the feedback we received from our users through the SDL Community, via email and with this latest release as a result of a Masters Degree project carried out as part of TCLoc at the University of Strasbourg. Many of the students on this course are already SDL Trados Studio users and three of them, plus myself, were interested in improving the process of administrative business processes so more time could be spent on translating!
So what have we done since the initial release? Here’s the highlights:
- Fully localized to work seamlessly with the selected user interface language in SDL Trados Studio
- Added support for working with other translation tools including the ability to import a competitors analysis
- Introduced support for SDL Trados Studio’s “Tell Me” feature to quickly navigate the application, visit the forum or just find the documentation
- Added support for projects that are not tied to SDL Trados Studio including any type of work you like
- Added support for electronic invoicing for Poland and Italy
- Introduced the ability to export any chart, grid or pivot table and also improved the dashboard
- Supported export/import of custom layouts for quotes and invoices
- Radically improved and simplified the ability to create quotes and invoices
- Improved the performance and synchronisation of projects with SDL Trados Studio
- Added the ability to migrate data from the legacy BaccS Desktop or SDL Trados Business Manager Team
- Added new fields requested by users for recording/reporting purposes
- Improved the features around using the time tracker for projects
- Added search support to “Tell Me” in SDL Trados Studio to simplify searching for projects, quotes and invoices
- Added options for more control over notifications, electronic invoicing etc. so the user can turn off the features they don’t use
- Synchronise the customer lists with SDL Trados Studio so they can be created in SDL Trados Business Manager and/or SDL Trados Studio
- Added support for importing customer lists from Excel
- Added default import mechanisms for an analysis process to reduce the number of clicks needed
- Introduced support for templates containing pre-defined tasks to speed up project creation
- Added new fields and reporting and data entry
- Added print buttons to support an export of project lists to help with annual accounting
- Improved the way additional data can be added from almost anywhere in the application
- Added conditional formatting for overdue invoices and a mechanism to quickly mark them as paid
- Added a new feature to create templates for payment reminders, and the ability to use notifications in SDL Trados Studio to ensure you never forget to chase late payments
Special thanks are extended to Alessandra Chénier, Giovanna Ischia and Hanna-Katharina Meyer for the effort put into this project and finding 30 items that SDL could solve by improving the Lite application. We managed to implement them all in this March release which is a fantastic achievement given the project was only completed at the end of January this year!
For this article I’ve only taken a sample of all the work that has been done on this application to improve it so far, and we are still committed to improving it further as needed to ensure it’s as useful as possible for our freelance translators. You can find all the details of what we have done in the “What’s New in SDL Trados Business Manager Lite” wiki in the community.
If you have ideas that would make it even more useful make your way over to the Lite forums to discuss them with us, or just create your idea for others to vote on in the new SDL Trados Business Manager Ideas site. If you haven’t tried it yet, then download the free trial today so you can help shape the future of the application to support you with your own business needs.