What are CAT tools and why you should know what they do?

In an ever evolving world, many of the services that were done by hand before are now automated.

The translation business is just one of the many industries that have been affected and also benefited by all the technological advancements of recent years.

CAT, stands for Computer Assisted Translation. But why do I need to know about this, you ask? Well…knowing what these tools can do for you, could help you understand how the translation process works and perhaps help you save a pretty penny.

Give me a minute and you will understand why this information is beneficial for you.

There are in the market many CAT tool providers. If you have ever sent documents for translation you might have heard of SDL Trados, MemoQ, Memsource, Wordfast and many, many more.

Assuming that you have sent a document in a format that the CAT Tool recognizes (yes, they are able to recognize many formats, however, they will do nothing for you if you have handwritten text for instance), these tools will extract the text from your document and count the words.

In a very simplified way, this is what CAT Tools do. They extract the words and count them. I can hear you saying: Is this all? No. They also analyze how many repeated words there are and give to you, the client, a discount per word repetition.

Do I have your attention yet? I thought so.

The more you translate, the more your TMs grow. TMs (Translation Memories), are a database where we, the translators, can save all the translations that you have requested inside. So, the more you translate, the more discount you will have per word repetition in the long run.

Another concept you should also know are” fuzzy matches”. As your TMs grow, and you send more translations to be done. The CAT Tool starts to recognize sentences that have already been translated and rates them from 100% until 0% of recognition.

For instance: You have requested the sentence below to be translated:

I would love to travel with my dogs.

Now, you would like the sentence below to be translated:

I would love to travel with my cats.

The CAT tools would then recognize that you have already requested the sentence I would love to travel before. However, there is a different element now. Instead of dogs, you would like to add cats.

It is along these lines that the CAT tool is able to rate the matches and give you a discount.

It is not only for discount per word that CAT Tools were developed. They also help in speeding  the translation process and in the consistency of your translation.

CAT Tools not only use TMs to save your translations, they are also capable of adding and creating personalised glossaries and termbases from your files, maintaining consistency throughout your company’s documents.

We can help you explore and implement a translation strategy suited to your needs