How clients benefit from CAT Tools (Computer-Assisted Translation)
You arrive at the office. You turn on your computer. You open Excel and the company intranet. You wait for the resource management tool to load while your morning coffee drips into your favorite mug (the one that reads “I ‘Heart’ NY”). Your wild and crazy life might even take you to the photocopier to scan some documents. Pure insanity!
Like you, us translators have a set of tools that are necessary for our job: CAT tools. If you’re picturing a cat with a tool belt, we applaud your imagination. In this case, however, CAT actually stands for “Computer-Assisted Translation.” Now that we’ve burst your bubble, you’re probably thinking: “what do I care? I’m not a translator.” Well, you might change your mind when you find out about all of the benefits that these tools can provide for you and your business.
increased speed and turnaround times
capability for larger projects
possibility to reuse previous translations
increased quality assurance
Sounds good, right? Want to know more about how we use these tools to give the best possible service? Then keep reading…
So, you don’t use dictionaries anymore?
Dictionaries are the most traditional and representative tools of our trade, grand tomes that break our backs in college and decorate the shelves of our translation caves for the rest of our lives. However, time and technology have given us tools that are more dynamic and easy to use. For example, now we can compliment the use of a paper dictionary or thesaurus with other digital reference resources, such as translation memories and databases. By integrating them into the CAT tools, we can now do searches that are more efficient, effective, and even contextualized. In addition, we can include glossaries provided by the client if they want specific terminology to be used in their documents.
But the documents I need translated are massive…
You may not be familiar with the numerous CAT tools that exist, but it’s not hard to imagine the advantages they have over traditional pen and paper methods. Among all the features that CAT tools have, the simplest yet most helpful is the one that allows us to divide a text into segments and see the original and the translation side-by-side. Visual organization is key to making our translation process more efficient.
Similarly, these CAT tools enable us to group multiple documents into one or more projects to manage all of the content on a large scale. This makes content organization a breeze. Can you imagine if we had to do everything in Word or on paper? Well, that’s how it was done not that long ago.
CAT tools also make text editing a piece of cake. Did your boss hand you a terms glossary right after you sent the text off to be translated? No problem! We can apply these types of changes in the blink of an eye and we can guarantee that they will propagate throughout the rest of the text. And if that’s not impressive enough, the majority of these tools can import and export documents in any format. Without them, our services would be much less dynamic.
Actually, this text is very similar to the one that I sent you a few months ago…
Of all the wonderful features CAT tools can offer, the translation memory (TM) is without a doubt the most useful of them all. A translation memory is able to recognize fragment coincidences from previously translated content. Therefore, TMs are both a glossary and a dictionary. It also allows us to be highly consistent in different translations within the same field, even if they’re done years apart.
However, the possibility to reuse already translated segments is by far the most interesting characteristic of TMs. Think of how much time and effort this saves us! A large portion of the current document may have already been translated in a previous version. The TM will recognize the segments that match with those from previous documents and will gives us the translated result that we initially used.
All of that is great for us translators… but what about you? Well, its equally great for you! Why? Because we won’t charge you twice for something that we’ve already translated. Also, as our client and the owner of the original text, the TM belongs to you.
What about machine translation? Would that work for me?
The progress of machine translation technology is a subject that interests us very much. It is among the most advanced CAT tools that we have at our disposal and it’s still evolving. In fact, it has been taken to a new level with something called Neural Machine Translation (NMT). This new technology is an upgraded version of machine translation that is capable of understanding the context of a document and making linguistic decisions on its own. That’s like teaching a robot to love, but more useful and a lot less catastrophic in the long run.
Machine translation technology is extremely useful for us translators, but we don’t want you to get the wrong idea. This technology is only a tool and by itself it’s not capable of giving you professional-grade results. An experienced translator needs to be in the driver’s seat to make sure that you get the quality translation that you expect. Thanks to these CAT tools we can speed up the translation process and increase the word volume we face each week.
But wait, there’s more. With MT we can also offer a new type of translation service that you might be interested in: post-editing. In a nutshell, a text is translated with MT technology, then a professional translator thoroughly edits and improves the pre-translated text. Some of the biggest companies in the world, like Amazon and AliExpress, already use this method to translate their products. If you want to know more about post-editing and what it can do for your company check out our article.
It’s safe to say that CAT tools not only make our job easier, but they also increase our efficiency on multiple levels. And for you, that means lower prices paired with higher quality. As we’ve already demonstrated in our articles about post-editing, transcreation, and machine translation, we like to be at the forefront when it comes to new translation tools and techniques. It’s the only way to go if we want to provide the best language services possible.
Thanks to CAT tools we can:
provide more affordable translations since we can offer discounts for word or segment repetitions in a text;
take on larger projects because we can manage higher volumes of content;
provide faster turnaround times, TMs and built-in glossaries speed up the searching process and allows us to make large-scale changes easily; and
provide the highest quality translations by guaranteeing consistency and client-preferred terminology.