Most professional translators are always looking for a more straightforward way to transfer the meaning of texts between languages. There is barely a professional translator out there who doesn’t use computer-assisted translation tool to make the most of it.
In fact, 88% of full-time professional translators state that they use at least one CAT tool for their translation projects, according to a recent survey. This speaks volumes about the product and the features it provides to professional translators.
In this brief article, we’ll review the top five features of CAT tools that each translator needs to know. But before we get there, let’s explain what CAT tools are and how they work.
What is a CAT tool exactly?
In a nutshell, computer-assisted translation or CAT tools support translators in boosting their translation quality, consistency, and overall productivity. With the help of a CAT tool, translators can translate, edit, store previous translation work, and use them for future projects.
The best CAT tools on the market come with features such as termbases and translation memories, making them indispensable for professional translators. Okay, but how do CAT tools work?
Sophisticated CAT tools break the source text into shorter segments (phrases, sentences, or paragraphs) and store the source text and translated pieces in a database.
From there, the tool saves each source segment and its corresponding translation as an entry in its database called translation memory. In addition, they also come with a broad range of editing and QA tools like spellcheck, autosuggest, and more.
Why Do Translators Need CAT Tools In The First Place?
Each professional translator who works for companies with international presence should strive to resonate with their clients’ international audiences by using compelling and effective language translations.
In that regard, having CAT software by your side is like having a fast car. Of course, you can always walk to your destination, but a good car will get you there in minutes. In other words, with the help of the right CAT tool, your translation projects can improve in quality, quantity, and productivity.
5 Essential Features Of CAT Tools For Translators
Depending on your translation projects and the scope of your work, some CAT tools will serve you better for your purpose than others. Therefore, before subscribing to a model and downloading the first software that comes your way, you should carefully consider all options to understand which tool will work best for your needs.
Most CAT tools will provide you with the following functions and features that are essential to achieving a productive multilingual workflow:
Outstanding translation speed and quality
With a CAT tool by your side, you can complete translation and localization projects significantly faster. The CAT tool will save you a lot of time by looking up information in an existing database when translating previously translated segments or text segments that are relatively straightforward to translate.
In addition, your work will also become much more consistent and of higher quality, yielding a significant return on your investment in the tool.
As a professional translator, how often do you have to update an already translated text in several languages? Pretty often, right? And not only that you need to update the documents, but you have to retype them and update the files for each target language manually in most instances.
With the help of the right CAT tool, this problem can become a thing of the past for you. You can upload the updated source file into your CAT tool, and it will automatically mark the text that needs revision across all target languages, and the rest of the document will remain the same.
CAT tools are easy to use and quick to implement
Complex software is counterproductive software. By carefully choosing the right CAT software for your needs, you can skip the time-consuming training and tutorials and get the hang of things in practically no time. In addition, most CAT solutions are relatively easy to use, which is another fantastic feature of this AI-powered solution.
Encouraging real-time collaboration among teams
If you go with a state-of-the-art cloud-based CAT solution, among other things, your team will no longer need to send each other a flood of DMs and emails about different translation projects. Instead, the CAT tool can serve as a centralized hub for your multilingual projects and assets, ensuring everyone involved in a particular task is on the same page.
Last but definitely not least, the so-called translation memory enables the CAT software to learn and suggest relevant translations for future projects. This permits the translation team to streamline the process of translating high-volume, industry-specific text. If you often deal with legal, technical, and scientific jargon, this feature of the best CAT tools is essential.
Now that you know that CAT tools are genuine assistants that help translators and global companies achieve their multilingual workflows and goals with ease, there’s no point in waiting and not researching the market to find the best CAT tool for your needs. Don’t work hard—work smart!