Saturday, May 21, 2011

Don’t Let Web 2.0 Memes Do the Thinking for You

I woke up this morning to find out from Kevin Lossner’s blog that there is a price war between SDL and Kilgray. SDL slashed the price of Trados Studio 2009 from $895 to $420. Okay, interesting industry news. I had heard of this previously during the week thanks to a snarky blog post from one of the MemoQ people. Inevitably the self-appointed neighborhood localization guru has to weigh in with a bit of received pop wisdom: "Forget about price wars! TM companies should give their stuff away for free!"

So this is his message, transmitted via a tweet: Sorry, Kilgray and SDL, the right price is free!

Which is pretty breathtaking. Okay, let’s say you believe the price should be nothing. Fine. You paid your $6.99 to buy Chris Anderson’s Free from the discount rack at Wal-Mart. Despite the fact that you paid real money for the book, you swallowed the thesis that stuff in general should be free (you’re not big on logic and you have a hard time perceiving irony) and that this is the only way to make money in the twenty-first century (I know it sounds idiotic but, unfortunately, I actually did read Anderson’s book). Great. Cool. So, armed with your Web 2.0 meme, you venture out to spread the new Gospel. Everything should be free. Free love! Free parking! Free Mandela! Free falling! Frito-Lays! Free free! Free TM tools! Whatever…

So you write: “The right price is free!”

I disagree, but okay. The thing is that in the next breath you go on and say the most amazing thing: Or at most $99!

Wait… what? It’s like we’re in some insane bartering situation: “I am going to charge you nothing for this Persian rug… Or $99… I don’t know… Nothing, $99, it’s all the same isn’t it? We’re all going to die anyway, right?”

Ninety-nine dollars? Do you have some sort of short-term memory disability? Do you not remember the price suggested in the previous sentence? It was nothing (!).

Zippo. Nada. Zilch. The big doughnut.

How can you go from nothing to ninety-nine dollars as a suggested price point?

There is a bleeping chasm between zero and ninety-nine dollars.

And it’s not ninety-nine bleeping dollars!


Miguel Llorens is a freelance financial translator based in Madrid who works from Spanish into English. He is specialized in equity research, economics, accounting, and investment strategy. He has worked as a translator for Goldman Sachs, the US Government's Open Source Center and H.B.O. International, as well as many small-and-medium-sized brokerages and asset management companies operating in SpainTo contact him, visit his website and write to the address listed there. Feel free to join his LinkedIn network or to follow him on Twitter.


Jordi Balcells said...

Well, the right price is free if you get nothing out of it. If you are not a professional translator, then it makes sense not to pay for translation software.

Otherwise, as Mr Lossner says, you have to think about ROI stuff before parting ways with your money.

Financial Translator said...

Precisely, and I invite everyone to carry out their own ROI calculations using Kevin's figures. I guarantee no one will get a result of "nothing" or "at most $99."