What is a Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tool

Published on 18 Apr 08:55 by Sam Yip
Tags: AI   localization   machine translation   translation   tools  

TranslateFX What is a Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tool

Computer-Assisted Translation tools are also abbreviated as CAT tools. A CAT tool is software designed to help translators deliver translation faster and more efficiently.

A CAT tool makes it easier to translate a document between languages by using a number of features such as: translation memory, automatic translation following glossaries, automatic translation quality checks, machine translation, and other automation technology.

There are many CAT tools out there, and traditionally most of these tools work offline on computers. Recent technologies, however, have led to an increasing number of cloud CAT tools where translators can access anywhere as long as they have an internet connection.

At its core, a CAT tool breaks down text and document into “segments” and present the segments in a convenient way to make translation easier and faster. These segments will be worked on by a translator and stored in a database, known as “translation memory”, so that it can be re-used when similar text appears in the future. In recent years, with the breakthrough of AI technology, CAT tools also incorporate machine translation to generate a draft translation, enabling the translator to focus on post-edit instead of translating from scratch. All these features save a lot of time and also ensures consistent translation over time.

Besides the main features, a CAT-tool also typically incorporate most or all of the functions below:

- Document translation and conversion

- Text search

- Quality checking through pre-defined rules

- Statistical tools providing information about the translation process

- Import/Export of glossary

- Tools for post-production (e.g. correct formatting)

Having CAT tools at hand is the first step towards improving the quality and consistency of translations.

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