CAT tools-what are they and why are they so important for a good translation?

17th May 2013

A couple of years ago, when I was just about to start my MA in Translation and Interpreting and I had to choose my optional modules, I came across CAT tools for the first time. Back then I was not aware what exactly they are and I could not even imagine how important they are in the translation industry today. With their help, translators are much quicker and efficient.

 CAT means Computer-Assisted (Computer-Aided) Translation. And CAT tools are computer programs that help to translate text documents much faster. There are four main functions:

1. Firstly, the text is translated into convenient segments aiming to make the translation easier.

2. Once translated, each segment is saved together with the source text and they are always presented as a translation unit. These units can be accessed at any time and with the help of a special function, the translator can easily find the units that need to be improved.

3. One of the main functions of the translation tool is to save the translation units in the database, so that they can help with the translation of other text. This will make the translation much more coherent and consistent. This database is called translation memory (TM).

4. Another important function is the automatic look-up in the terminology databases. The more translation carried out, the bigger this database is.

 Besides these main functions, there are many other functions included in a CAT tool such as text search tools, quality checking and statistical tools, tools for post-production, etc, which also make translating easier and increase productivity. Memo Q, SDL Trados, Wordfast, Terminotix and TO 3000 are amongst the best CAT-tools used by professional translators at the moment.

 Our translators, for instance, are always using CAT tools and this is one of the reasons why they are able not only to work fast and effectively, but also always able to meet  tight deadlines. If you need a quick and professional translation, use our translation services!

Ivelina Yonova, East Midlands Booking Coordinator


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