Modern technology helps translators boost productivity.
CAT tools – Decrease costs and increase quality
These days, everyday (work) life is pretty much unimaginable without modern technologies – and the same is true of translation. So does this mean that all translations are pumped out by a machine? Not at all. But it does mean that translators are supported by what we call CAT tools.
CAT is short for…
But, isn’t it effectively machine translation?
No. In machine translation, the translation is created by the machine alone, and subsequently fine-tuned by the translator. CAT tools are merely a form of technical support in the translation process – the translation itself is carried out by a human being. Of course, the software does offer a number of helpful functions, such as displaying repeated phrases or sentences. It can also retain the format of the source text.
The three pillars of CAT tools
Please send us your source text as an “open file format”!
We can then immediately process your source text using our CAT tools, and make sure there are no issues with segmenting and analysis.
Your translation will be delivered to you in the same format as your source text, identical in structure and with all its graphic elements intact. This naturally boosts efficiency, as you can process the translated text immediately without having to worry about formatting or structural modifications.
Advantages of CAT tools
Translation process with CAT tools
Source text ideally sent as an open file format (.docx, .xlsx, .idml, .xml, etc.)
Segmenting & analysis
- CAT tool breaks down the source text into individual units
- Add TM and terminology databases
- Analysis of the source text (volumes, structure, etc.)
Translation & revision
- Translation & revision by qualified, experienced specialist translator
- QA check by project manager
Target file exported
- Target file exported in source format
- Target file delivered to client
- To start with, the software reads the open file format, then divides the document into small segments i.e. into sentences or constituent parts of sentences.
- Next comes an analysis: How many repetitions are there? How many segments are similar? We call these repetitions “matches”; they help us calculate costs and estimate how much time is required to complete the project. The next step is to start the translation.
- Once complete, the quality assurance check is carried out: have any figures been missed? Are there any unwanted spaces anywhere? Are there any spelling mistakes? All these aspects are pinpointed by the CAT tool, and can then be corrected accordingly, before the translation is exported and delivered in its original format.
FAQs about CAT tools
CAT tools provide technical assistance in the translation process. The translation itself is performed by a human being. In machine translation, the machine does all the work and the result is polished up by a translator.
The most common CAT tools are SDL Trados, MemoQ and Across. There are also cloud-based CAT tools such as Memsource and XTM. At Cruz Communications we work with SDL Trados and Memsource.
Translations don’t necessarily have to be undertaken using a CAT tool. However, we do recommend this, in order to speed up the process and make your texts more consistent.
CAT tools can be used on all kinds of texts – as long as we are talking about an open file format, such as Word, InDesign, PowerPoint, Excel or xml files. All open file formats can be read and exported back in the same format. Of course, there may be texts for which a CAT tool isn’t quite so ideal, such as in transcreation, but on the whole the sky’s the limit.