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What are CAT tools and why are they important | An introduction to computer assisted translation tools

CAT tools are designed to help translators translating texts. Learn how this affects project turnaround time, cost and translation quality.
Watch Norbert Pietrzak, operations manager, talk about Computer Assisted Translation.

What are CAT tools?

In its basic form CAT tools are designed to help translators translating texts. Computer-assisted translation tools are computer applications that allows the user to store previous translations along with their originals in a database. Then it checks if there are previously translated sentences or segments in the source text. If there is a repetition, the software will automatically re-use the already stored translation. The database that contains the stored translations is called Translation Memory.

Having access to previous translations and terminology can be an important productivity gain, especially when translating content with many repetitions making it perfect for manuals, financial, legal and many other types of technical documentation. In addition, the use of Translation Memory ultimately leads to consistent terminology across all projects. When it comes to translation, companies are often worried about turnaround times. With CAT tools, we not only ensure higher consistency but also shorter project turnaround time which significantly reduces costs, and improves quality while also keeping a uniform style. CAT tools are not used in every project as the software is not suitable for certain types of translations such as literary texts, poems, books or one-off bespoke projects from a client.

Why are CAT tools important?

In a continuously globalising world, the demand for multilingual documentation keeps growing. Translation agencies often have to manage larger volumes of work, which require fast turnaround time while also maintaining consistent quality. Developing technologies like CAT tools, whilst continually improving existing software, seem to be the only way of keeping up with today’s challenges. If you have any questions on the topic please comment below and we’ll either reply or do a video on your question

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