What is a CAT tool?
The term “CAT tool” stands for “computer-assisted translation tool” and refers to software programs that help translators translate faster, more effectively and more consistently. The translator increases their productivity and effectiveness with the help of CAT tools, which leads to cost savings and consistent terminology on the client side.
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CAT tool features
CAT tools have many different functions and advantages with so-called translation memories, or TMs for short, forming the core of the CAT tool. As soon as a file is imported into the CAT tool for translation by a translator, the software segments the text to be translated into logical text parts, for example, to the next comma or to the end of the sentence. These text parts are called segments in technical jargon. As soon as the translator translates such a segment, the CAT tool automatically saves the source text together with the associated translation in a translation memory. A translation memory is therefore a database of translations created by the translator and stored and managed by the CAT tool. The good thing about this is that the translator can use the existing translations if they are repetitive and therefore does not have to do the translation twice. Another CAT tool feature includes so-called glossaries. Glossaries can either be created and expanded by the client or the translator. If, for example, the customer wishes that the term “parcel” should always be used and never “package”, this can be stored in a glossary.
Benefits for translators
The translator can increase their productivity and perform translations faster by using CAT tools. Repetitive parts of the text only need to be translated once, which reduces the amount of work required for the translation. In addition, the translator does not have to remember possible customer requests and thus does not run the risk of forgetting something. The targeted use of glossaries and CAT tools helps translators to use consistent terminology. In this way, customer specifications can be taken into account and each term can always be translated in the same way, if desired. Consistent terminology is particularly important, for example, when translating search engine optimised texts. This applies not only within a project, but across all projects. The CAT tool’s segmentation allows the specialist translator to concentrate fully on translating the content into the target language, while the software takes care of the file format, headings, mark-ups and all other formatting.
Benefits for customers
The digital working world is becoming faster-paced and deadlines are getting tighter and tighter. By using CAT tools, clients save time in the translation process and thus speed up every project. CAT tools are able to identify repetitions. As these only have to be translated once, this feature leads to direct cost savings on the customer side through the use of translation memory technology. By saving the translations in the translation memory, existing translations can also be accessed for subsequent projects. If the texts are always similar in content, the costs decrease from project to project. As the translator is supported in adhering to uniform terminology, the customer can rely on a consistently high-quality translation. In summary, the use of CAT tools forms part of the modern translation process and has numerous benefits for both the client and the translator. Popular CAT tools include SDL Trados, MemoQ and Wordfast.