When you start exploring the translation industry or maybe you are studying translation at university, everybody will tell you that it would be best for you to buy a Windows PC, in case you want to use a CAT tool. Indeed, many translation agencies use Windows desktop computers instead of Apple computers and the same SDL Trados and MemoQ websites, which I consider the most used CAT tools on the market, mention that their programme is not supported by MAC OS X, as written here and here.
So, what if you already have a MacBook, or you just bought one because you really wanted it and now the world seems to tell you that you’ve made the wrong choice? Well, don’t despair, I was in the same situation, but got out of it fairly easily. Thanks to my IT department (*coughs* boyfriend *coughs*), I understood that I didn’t need to buy a computer that will probably be very tired and pretty useless in two years’ time and that I could keep using my MacBook Air.
In case you are interested in how to run the most used CAT tools on your Mac, you have two options:
The free option – with this option you will be able to partition the hard disk of your machine, effectively storing in your MacBook both Apple’s and Window’s operating systems. For doing this you will need to use Apple's Boot Camp utility, which is already in your machine; you will only need to arm yourself with patience (the process will take around four hours), an external hard disk for storage and you will have to follow the instructions at the links below. Here you’ll find exactly what you need and if your machine complies with the requirements: https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201468 and
The positive side of this option is that if you are only starting out, you don’t have to waste your budget straight away, as it is free. As mentioned before, The Boot Camp facility is already on your computer and you just have to use it + the light version of Windows 10 is free and downloadable from the Windows website. The two downfalls of going for this solution are that for switching from Windows to Mac, you will need to reboot your computer, then hold the option button on your keyboard to choose which OS you want to work on. Also, if your Mac does not have a lot of storage space, it's possible that once you have installed Trados, you will not have much room left to run other applications on that side of your computer, for that reason, it’s best to use a memory stick or some external hard drive from the start.
If you have a bit of money aside option – go for Parallels and VMware Virtual Machine respectively found at these links https://www.parallels.com/uk/products/desktop/buy/?full
These two options do not partition your disk, but use a sort of virtual machine on your computer: a kind of machine (Windows) in the machine (Apple). With this new "fake" computer, you will be able to switch from a virtual machine to your real one without having to restart your computer, however the cost for the basic version of both options gravitates around £70. It will be up to you if you want to splash out right away or wait; it will still be better than wasting £500 on an additional computer.
I hope this shed some light on what to look for and how to proceed if having a Mac and being a translator don’t seem super compatible. I personally went for option no. 1 because I did not want to spend money before getting any jobs, but the choice is entirely up to you and will depend on your priorities and budget.