Computer Assisted Translation tools
Everything you need to know about CAT tools
CAT aka Computer Assisted Translation or Computer-Aided Translation is a process of translating any language, in which a translator (a person) takes help from computer software in order to aid and facilitate the translation process. CAT is sometimes further known as machine-assisted or machine-aided translation.
A CAT tool is a computer program that successfully assists in translating text documents more precisely and efficiently. It does so through the following four steps:
- First, it divides the texts into smaller sentences or sentence fragments, which ensures an easier and more convenient method of translation.
- Then the translation of each of the segments is paired up with the original portions of the text documents and each pair is called a Translation Unit (TU).
- The CAT tool then saves the translation units in a database known as Translation Memory (TM) so that they can be accessed easily for re-use or revise.
- The last (but most certainly not least) thing that a Computer Assisted Translation Tool does is automatically looking-up in the terminology databases, as well as displaying and inserting the search results.
A wide variety of CAT tools exists to cater to the varying needs of translators. The popular ones include Trados, Déjà vu, etc. Trados was originally developed by an eminent German company and it provides translation memory and management of terminologies.
There are four principal components of Trados which perform a varying range of tasks which include, translating files, creating and managing translating memories, interacting with SDL Trados translation environments, enabling the translation of user interfaces etc.
This Computer Assisted Translation Tool supports over 70 different file types and this can be chalked up as the sole reason as to why it still remains in widespread use all over world. But Trados has also been prone to some criticism for various issues such as lack of backward compatibility.
Then there’s Déjà vu, which facilitates database-supported translation. Developed and marketed by Paris based company Atrill, this CAT tool also supports various file formats including Microsoft Office, Help contents, PageMaker, FrameMaker, Java properties, Open Office, Open Documents etc.
- Advantages of using CAT tools:
There are so many benefits of using CAT tools in translation work. Writers and translators of the current generation opt for CAT tools above everything else as they make the tedious job of translating easier and more efficient. Computer Assisted Translation Tools maintain uniform terminology, speed up the translation significantly, successfully lower the price of translation and do not distort either the graphic or text structure.
Also translators say that using CAT tools has also been good for their health. Jonathan Ellis stated that, “One of the first benefits I noticed was that the pain in my neck – from regularly consulting hard copy next to the keyboard and then looking up to the screen – disappeared!”
- Disadvantages of using Computer Assisted Translation Tools:
No great thing exists without a few cons! The main problem that translators are faced with while using CAT tools is that learning these programs takes time, especially if you want to utilize all the available options and possibilities. Then there is the question of trustworthiness as these programs are not yet completely reliable.
Now that you have an idea about all that is associated with buying and using a CAT tool, our advice to you would be to determine what would best suit you and your needs by testing and using the software before buying them and to not be discouraged by the first bout of complications that you face.
Computer Assisted Translation Tools assure High Quality Standards of Translation