It is said that “sharing is caring”. Cognizant of this, we at Okodia would like to share with you which tools have marked a turning point in the way many professional translators work. We’re referring to CAT tools. Do you know which are the best CAT tools for translators? Continue reading and find out!
What are CAT tools?
Take a look at the letters: C (computer-) A (assisted) T (translation).
CAT tools are widely known work tools that, as their name suggests, assist (aid) translators in their daily work. It’s important to point out that thanks to “LE” (Linguistic Engineering), they’re getting better and better.
Simply put, it could be said that CAT tools make it possible to create and manage databases where translators add their translations to create the so-called “translation memory”. When translators work with a new text, the program suggests words, phrases or fragments they’ve already translated before which they can use from the translation memory that has been added to over time. Naturally, translators have to review that the matches the CAT tool suggests are consistent with the new content being translated in terms of style, flow and subject matter, but the savings in time and effort are, needless to say, quite significant. This is why it’s really important for the translation memory to be well maintained; otherwise, instead of saving on time and effort the opposite will be true.
Advantages and Disadvantages
As it takes all sorts to make a world, there are still many translations who dislike using these tools. Others, in contrast, practically wouldn’t know how to work without them. Here’s a summary of their main advantages and disadvantages:
– They’re extremely useful when translating highly repetitive texts, as they help improve productivity and maintain terminological consistency.
– They save time when handling a large volume of documentation.
– They facilitate purely mechanical work which is necessary but takes time.
– Some of these tools make it possible to work in a collaborative manner.
– Creating the translation memory takes time, as well as checking and reviewing the matches that the tool gives you.
– They can lead to so-called chains of errors—errors that were not detected at the time and are thus repeated in all translated texts.
– They’re not useful at all for literary translations or when translating creative texts.
– Some of the best CAT tools available today are cloud-based, and obviously, an Internet connection is necessary to access them.
– Some of the tools can be complex for translators who are less adept computer users.
What about you? Are you for or against? Why?