Top 5 Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools

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Translation tools in the language industry have evolved to a large extent in recent years.

One of the most prominent technologies are CAT tools, a set of software technologies aimed at helping translators do their job faster, more efficiently, improving translation quality, simplifying project management, and systematizing the work of language professionals to a large extent.

Any CAT tool uses different technologies such as translation memories, termbases, quality checks, and machine translation, just to name a few.

These tools do their job at each stage of the translation/editing/proofreading process. For instance, a translation memory (TM) helps the translator come up with a potential translation based on previous paired translations of the same sentence/expression in one specific language pair stored in that TM. 

The core of the CAT tool package, TMs are databases comprising all previous translations completed for a language pair. This database contains all previously translated pairs, called Translation Units (TUs), that are saved to be re-used again and again.

TMs increase productivity, saving time, and enabling the translator to take on more jobs.

Using a TM saves the translator a lot of time as whenever there is a match between the existing and the current translation the software automatically inserts the matched pair. Content matches can vary from about 50% to 100%.

Another important feature CAT tools make available to translators is termbase management. A termbase is a terminology management tool used in translation to ensure the quality of vocabulary and specific terms. It’s extremely useful to ensure consistency in terminology.

Essentially, a termbase is a database containing terms, term translations, and term-related information. Thanks to the possibility of looking up term translations, today’s translators can significantly reduce the time required to translate a document.

Today, there are many CAT tools available in the market, especially compared to the status quo just some years ago.

Let’s look at some of the most noteworthy.

SDL Trados Studio

SDL Trados Studio is a world-class CAT tool owned by SDL plc. It’s known as one of the most used Computer-Assisted Tools among professional translators, with more than 250K users worldwide.

Among their key features are:

Translation Memory (TM) — A database including a set of re-usable previous translations.

Smart suggestions — This tool allows the translator to reduce the amount of typing and keystrokes, prompting the user with texts with suggested translations.

Machine translation — A field of computational linguistics that uses automated software to instantly translate a source to a target language.

QA checks — A useful tool that enables the linguist to spot translation and terminology inconsistencies, grammatical, and formatting errors.

Termbase management — It allows the ability to manage terminology to ensure consistency.

AutoCorrect — This feature is like the one used by most word processing software and enables the user to automatically correct misspelled words.

Project management — Specifically designed for translation agencies, it allows completing multiple tasks in language project management with no effort, reducing time spent, integrating several projects and their associated files, streamlining workflows, automating project creation, tracking projects, monitoring project in real time, to name a few.

memoQ

memoQ is another powerful CAT tool made by and for translators. Their creators call memoQ a Translation Management System designed to assist not only professional translators but also language service providers, and enterprises. It shares most of the features of SDL Trados Studio although using different names.

Along with Trados, memoQ may be considered one of the most used CAT tools by linguists, translation agencies, and enterprises all over the world.

Memsource

This tool uses a patented AI technology capable of producing automated translations of top quality. It shares the most common features of CAT tools and uses a cloud approach to translation, reducing translation costs without sacrificing quality. Memsource machine translation feature uses an optimal engine selection system for the user’s content, identifying high-quality translation generation.

Smarcat

Smarcat is a cloud-based platform considered a CAT tool, a translation management system (TMS), and a job board in one tool. An all-in-one platform connecting translation businesses and linguists by combining a broad network of translation professionals, an industry-specific marketplace, and a collaborating workflow solution. 

Pairaphrase

This is a web-based, centralized, smart, all-access translation management system geared to enterprises and focused on security, ease of use, and time and money-saving. It uses Dynamic Machine Learning and Microsoft´s translator framework. 

There are many other translation industry tools available and most of them share some basic functionalities, but the 5 mentioned above surely will take care of all your needs.

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