Five Reasons Why You Should Use CAT Tools for Your Translation Projects
As long as machine translation uses artificial intelligence to develop, we are going to be using Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools to improve translation-services quality and speed, and to ensure the consistency of terminology. CAT refers to the translation management system that makes use of a software program that facilitates translation by providing a translator with an opportunity to quickly find and reuse already translated texts and fragments. There are several systems on the market. The most popular are SDL Trados, Memsource, MEMOQ, Wordfast, and Deja vu. They all work according to the same principle. Despite the fact that each of these systems has its own unique features, translation memory can be exported from one system and imported into another.
Customers Benefit If Translation Companies Use Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools, and Here Are Just a Few Reasons Why:
- High Speed and Productivity When Translating Regular Texts
Translation memory, which is basically a large database, stores all the texts and their translations within a project.
If a translation company uses CAT tools, the previously translated source texts and their equivalent target texts are stored in a database. These text segments can be found in contracts, such as with force majeure clauses. It is enough just to review and proofread them if necessary. It’s much faster than translating a text over again, even if it’s something you have already worked with.
- Consistency of Terminology: Better Quality at a Lower Cost
Consistency is a must when it comes to translating. Terms, abbreviations, product names, and other key elements should be referred to in the same way throughout all materials. This is possible without the use of CAT tools if one person with a thorough knowledge of the project’s background works on it throughout. However, if there are too many names or abbreviations, one person’s memory may not be enough. What if there is more than one translator involved in a project? Using the terminology database is considered the high-quality standard in the industry.
In the past, customers had to deal with developing translation glossaries, which are alphabetical lists of terms, preferred translation options, or words found in or relating to a specific subject or text. The use of a translation glossary greatly enhances the consistency of a text, but it does not eliminate the human factor. A translator may accidentally use a synonym instead of an approved term. This won’t happen if you use CAT tools: After all the terms are entered into the database, the system finds them in the source text and checks for their presence in the translation.
- Coordinated Team Work
It sometimes happens that customers order the translation of large documents or entire projects as a rush job. Most of these orders come from companies providing legal and financial consultancy services. We have translated 700 pages for one of our customers within five days, for example.
Is that a lot or a little? A good translator is able to translate eight-to-twelve pages a day. Therefore it’s basic to understand that it will take one person up to three months to get the job done.
In such cases, we assemble a team of translators and significantly reduce the actual load on each of them through the use of translation memory tools. There can be many similar segments in the text, each of which has to be translated once, while repetitions need only be proofread. Thus, we ensure consistency throughout the text.
We use Memsource to deal with incoming orders. It is one of the most reliable systems, and simple to use. We work only with professional and experienced translators, the best of the best. Each of them undergoes thorough Memsource training, and only then do we engage them in major projects.
- Reduced Translation Costs
The use of CAT tools can significantly reduce translation costs. This is particularly the case for industries for which there are many regular texts. When you load a new document into the system, the program calculates the percentage of conformity of each segment (paragraph, sentence) with the previously translated text. It is enough just to revise 100% matches, whereas 80 to 90% of matches can be translated additionally and proofread if necessary. If the text is not unique, the cost coefficient is lowered and the translation cost is less.
What size should translation memory be so that the effect of its use becomes noticeable?
Much depends on the similarity of the translated texts in this regard. In some cases, the matches are already visible when the second document of the same project is being translated. Translation memory, which can be considered a full-fledged translation tool, contains about 80-120 thousand segments (approximately 1,000 pages).
If you work with a translation company, you can discuss the use of CAT tools for your projects.
- Ability to Check the Translation Status at Any Time
Our coordinators use CAT tools to monitor the status of every project. They track progress (percentage-wise) for each translator online. If a translator deviates from their schedule, the coordinators respond as necessary.
Statistics indicate that errors arise from carelessness or haste. By controlling the process, we ensure that all of our translators have an optimal work/accuracy rate, which means that the translations are of top-notch quality.