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  • All About Words

CAT Tools - No, not that kind of cat…

Many translators today benefit from the use of Computer Assisted Technology to ensure accuracy and speed during the translation process. Indeed, more and more translation companies are finding these tools indispensable to the industry, to the benefit of both client and provider in equal measure. But what are these tools (no, we’re not talking about Google translate and not even ChatGPT, we promise) and how do they work?

There are many CAT tools available on the market today such as MemoQ, Trados, WordFast, Logiterm, and many more. These are software programs designed around the translation process and NOT automated machine translation services which auto-translate inputted text. The program acts as a very effective, driven, and intelligent assistant to the translator only - if only human memory storage could be that vast.

Rather than translate entire paragraphs page by page from a source document, which can be cumbersome and overwhelming, the translator inputs the document into a CAT tool and the program breaks down large chunks of text into smaller, more manageable segments. Not only are these segments simpler to intake visually, thereby reducing minor errors and contextual misunderstandings, but they are easier to process mentally as the translator can really take the translation step by step and build it into a whole. As these segments are translated they are saved into the program's Translation Memory (TM), a kind of in-built glossary of terms that are unique to each client basd on their preferred translation and that is buildable with each new translation that is undertaken. This is incredibly important to maintaining consistency and ensuring that the client can participate in approving and building their comapany's voice in any language!

For example, the term “substance abuse” can be translated up to four different ways in French, each carrying a slightly different cultural significance and weight. In the case that one of these is preferred above others for reasons of nuance, to avoid offence, to relate with the general public more or with a team of doctors instead, the TM will log this preference and suggest it for every following translation that outputs that particular word. No more back and forth e-mails on the same subject a thousand times, it's done correctly from the get-go. Furthermore, the TM is shareable with any translator chosen for a job, so there is no guesswork involved when it comes to translating YOUR documents the way YOU need them translated. Many organizations simply cannot afford to publish work with erroneous verbiage and we take that seriously in our work. The TM is just one of the safeguards we employ against this.

We also know that language is something that is very much alive and it changes and grows and develops alongside our understanding of the world. If your company’s slogan, its description, or preferred verbiage change, so does the TM, ensuring that we keep up with your changes in any language across all of the hands that it may pass through! It really is that simple. With the help of CAT Tools, we offer you more accuracy, reliability, and personalization across time. We just wish there were actual cats involved….

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