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Advantages of using humans and CAT tools for translators

Advantages of using humans and CAT tools for translators
CAT tools for translators

We live in an age where computer programs and the internet have made it easier to be a translator. Not only are there online dictionaries but there are forums where we can get in touch with more experienced translators anywhere in the world who are willing to share their knowledge. And probably the most wonderful invention for linguists are CAT tools for translators.

Manual translation, CAT Tools for translators, or both?

While some translators eye CAT tools with hostility, viewing them as rivals, it is doubtful that they could ever replace a human translator. The wise translator sees them as assistants to their work instead of something that will do the entire job.

CAT tools for translators

Why are CAT tools for translators useful?

Computer Assisted Translation tools provide excellent assistance in the translation workflow. It is not translation through a machine, but CAT software assists the human translators by storing all translated text into what is called Translation memory (TM). Before a human translator starts working on translating any document, the CAT software analyses the whole document to see if any of the text matches the content that was previously translated. Hence, the larger the TM database, the more chances of repetitions.

What CAT tools do is to take often repeated sentences or phrases from the source language and replace it with its equivalent already translated by the human linguist in the target language. In spite of having a language with a large word base the words people actually speak on a regular basis is only a small percentage of that. In the same manner most documents we encounter in our everyday lives follow a formula. CAT tools for translators take advantage of that fact and complete the translation of such matches with the touch of a button.

On the other hand of course not everything we say or read always follows a pattern. Also, a phrase in one language does not always translate to the same phrase in the target language. Sometimes, depending on the situation or the objects or people involved, a different phrase than the one stored in the tool might be called for.

That’s where manual translation is called for. The translator, drawing from his own experience and knowledge, judges the best choice of words for the given situation and makes adjustments if necessary, something CAT tools for translators are not programmed to do. The translator, of course, being a mere human, can not do it as fast as a tool can, but the translator knows how to make the entire work understandable, clear and grammatically correct.

CAT tools also can not process words in images, especially handwritten ones or those who are difficult to use OCR (optical recognition tools) on. Only a real person can do that with their own eyes.

  • What tools do translators use?

    Translators use a lot of tools to make their jobs easier. Translation memory is one of the most popular tools among linguistic experts. Whenever translators come across a passage or sentence, they had translated in the past, they can access the memory. They can use previously translated sentences to save time.

  • What is a CAT tool in translations?

    A CAT tool in translation is something that improves the efficiency of linguistic experts and helps them in finishing their projects quickly. There are different types of CAT tools available these days that linguistic experts can rely on while they are working on complicated translations. Glossaries and dictionaries are also important tools for linguistic experts.

  • Is Google Translate a CAT tool?

    Machine translation is the process that gets completed by machines without human intervention. On the other hand, CAT tools are software that are used by professional translators. According to these definitions, machine translation and therefore Google Translate, is not a CAT tool. But it can be used by translators from time to time.

  • Does Line app have a translator?

    Line is a messaging and social media app. It started as a chatting app but has come a long way since. A lot of people use it to communicate with their friends and colleagues. A very useful feature of the app is that it comes with a translator. You can select the language combination and then type in the chat to get the translation.

  • What is the best CAT tool for translation?

    Every linguistic expert has their own way of working on projects, which is why they all have different preferences. But the CAT tool that is loved and recommended by most translators is SDL Trados Studio. The software comes with a lot of features including terminology support, translation memory, and software localization.

  • What is a CAT tool in translations?

    A CAT tool is a computer-based program that offers assistance to translators in a number of ways. Depending on the CAT tool, the features can vary in number. Some of them come with features like machine translation, translation memory, and formatting solutions. Others offer software localization and team management.

  • How do CAT tools work?

    CAT tools simplify the job of a translator. They divide the text into different segments. The segments are presented to the translator in a convenient way so the focus can be kept on one problem at a time. In some software, there are separate boxes for source text and the translation. The purpose of the tools is to make translating easier and faster.

  • What software translators use?

    The preference of every translator is different. Those who work on their own find it easier to complete their projects with the help of SDL Trados Studio. SmartCAT is preferred by translators who work with editors and other contributors because it is a collaborative tool and makes it easier for everyone to work on a project at the same time.

Advantages in using such tools

There are numerous benefits of using CAT software. The main benefits have been listed down below:


One of the major benefits of using CAT is that the consistency is ensured. A quality translated document is the one which is consistent, regardless of the nature of the material being translated. Items like abbreviations, terminologies, product names, and similar things should be used with consistency throughout all translation assignments.

Reduced Costs

Translation service providers charge their clients per word. However, with the use of CAT tools for translators, the translation costs can be greatly reduced. This is because of the Translation Memory (TM). When CAT analyzes a document that needs to be translated, matches are identified which could be exact matches, partial matches or even repetitions. The translators do not have to re-translate the parts that were translated earlier since they can be picked from the TM, hence, reducing costs and efforts.

advantages of using CAT tools
quality assurance

Quality Assurance

Most CAT software has features like as auto-correct, missing tags, automatic flagging formatting or grammatical errors, inconsistency in numbers and any missing translations which significantly helps the translator. It saves him from putting in an extra effort and saves his time. Above all, the quality of the document is assured.

Content Alignment and Translation Memory

It is essential to be aware of the fact that the TM belongs to the client and not the translation agency. If the client has material that was previously translated, but they do not have a TM, CAT can be used to align the content and then create a TM which the client can ask for if he plans to switch to another translation agency which can make use of the TM to translate future assignments.

Reduced Time

With the help of translation memories and computer aided translation, a translator can produce high-quality content in lesser time which would translate in faster turnaround time. The productivity will be at maximum and quality will also be maintained.

Concordance Search

This feature of CAT helps search through the TM if any specific or similar translations are present in the history. It can also help the client to check if any particular material has already been translated, in case he is not sure about it.

reduced time

Project Management

CAT tools for translators greatly help in project management as it lets the project managers work with multiple languages, bring many jobs on a single user interface and also saves time that goes in creating multiple projects.

Variety of Source Files

CAT lets the translator work on any type of file with the help of original source files that include formats, and desktop published files, graphics or artwork and resource files for applications.

So which is better? Computer tools can not beat human translation when it comes to accuracy, clarity and flexibility while manual translation can not beat CAT tools for translators at speed and consistency. We’d say it would be wise to take them both.

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