What Are Computer-Aided Translation Tools And Why Use Them

computer-aided translation tools
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Computer-aided translation tools are computer programs that aid translators during the translation process. First of all, such a tool stores in its database often used sentences or phrases in the source language along with their equivalent sentence or phrase in the target language. Worth noting is the fact that the tool doesn’t do translations on its own, it only uses translations done by the professional translator in past assignments from the same client. Given a document to be translated, the tool will search for these word combinations and offer an equivalent in the target language, giving you instant translation for some phrases at the press of a button.

Why use computer-aided translation tools?

CAT tools are not perfect

CAT tools are not perfect

Sometimes the syntax or the arrangement of phrases in a sentence is jumbled, making it sound like Yoda. You get the gist of what it’s trying to say but it sounds wrong to a native’s ears. Or sometimes it has the wrong equivalent for the phrase in the given context but could be correct in other situations.

The translation memory should be used per client. Each client has his own database of past translations, and the tool will search and select bits of translations only from that memory. This is done in order to maintain consistency with translations done in the past. The disadvantage is that if the client never had translations done in the past with the same company, the tool will only allow money savings for repetitions, as it won’t have past translations to use in current projects.

Why use computer-aided translation tools then?

When it comes to speed, computer-aided translation tools can’t be beaten. Also on the bright side, CAT tools make sure that every line has an equivalent translation, eliminating errors like skipped lines. CAT tools are also consistent. Using such a tool makes sure that the same translation is used for any parts that are repeated in the document. A translator might not see this as an error, merely a slight rewording that still has an identical meaning. But to the client such divergences are suspicious and might cast doubt on the translator’s abilities.  The computer assisted translation tools is there to remind the translator not to make that mistake.

A CAT tool is also great for maintaining consistency for a project if it was divided to several different translators. It makes sure that everyone is on the same page and using the same vocabulary set. It prevents the final product from sounding scattered and non-unified.

advantages of using computer-aided translation tools

Translators are wary to accept computer assisted translation tools out of fear that they will be replaced or for other reasons (hard to learn how to use is another good reason). But they should see it as their friend who will help with their work, not as an enemy who will take it away.

Same for the clients. Some may not understand that CAT tools are entirely different from machine translation, as they are only helping translators in their work, saving you money in the process. Universal Translation Services is able to use any CAT tool available in the market today, so if you need to have your translation done in such a tool and take advantage of its memory features, get in touch, we’ll be able to do it for you!

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