What is a CAT tool?

CAT stands for Computer-Assisted Translation. People are often confused by this term because of the word “computer”. Note that it does not mean the same as “machine translation”, more popularly known as Google Translate, Microsoft Translator, Apple iTranslate and so on.

A CAT tool can save time by storing, managing and editing the translations that the translators have saved in the translation memory. In other words, let’s say you have sent the translator a contract to translate from English into Italian. He or she will work on the translation within the CAT tool. Once the contract is translated, the text is stored in a translation memory – a file that contains the source text, the translation, and the files settings. If at some point in the future you need to have similar contracts translated, the translator will be able to check the new contracts against the translation memory and only edit the differences between the documents, rather than translating everything from scratch.

A CAT tool helps speed up the translation process, increasing the consistency and overall quality of the translated document as well as reducing costs.

There are many CAT tools on the market, available both as paid and free versions. The market leaders are: SDL Studio Trados, memoQ, Wordfast, DejaVu and OmegaT.

Often the CAT tool will have a termbase management tool incorporated or used as an add-on.

At Mundus Verborum we work mostly with Trados and memoQ. However, if your company requires a different CAT tool, we will still be able to help you.

What is a termbase management tool?

This is a tool for creating, managing and storing termbases, that is, lists of vocabulary that should be incorporated into the translation.

For example, if your company has a list of specific vocabulary (such as legal, medical or technical terms) that needs to be used in all projects for the sake of consistency, the translator can create a termbase. From then on, whenever the translator is working on a sentence that includes one of those words or phrases, the termbase management tool will remind the translator about your preferences.

What is quality assurance software?

Depending on the scope of your project, it may be necessary to employ some quality assurance software.

This is a great tool used to enforce consistency between several files or within a large body of text. It works by comparing the translation of one or more files against a set list of terminology to check whether only the most appropriate terms were used.

If you would like to find out more about CAT tools, please contact us.

Let Mundus Verborum manage your words.