What is Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT)? Will it be used on my project?
A CAT tool is a software program/linguistic database that stores source content and captures a human translator’s corresponding translated content as they work. The software saves these “segments” of text to be re-used in the future, improving the efficiency and consistency of human translators.
The CAT tool displays each segment of text and a corresponding previous translation for re-use, if there is at least a partial match. The translator has the option to re-use the previously translated segment, revise the translation, or enter an entirely new translation.
These text segments — comprised of sentences, phrases, or sentence-like units — are broken down by the CAT tool into “No Match” (or “new” text), “Fuzzy Match” (a partial match between the source text and a previous translated segment), and “Repetitions” or “100% Match,” wherein the translation of an entire segment can be re-used completely, without modification.
This type of technology benefits both translators, by making them more efficient and consistent throughout a translated document, as well as offering significant benefits to the client, since they will usually not pay the full cost for repetitious segments of text.
However, CAT tools do not produce “machine translations”; they simply aid the translator in their work by making them more efficient, automatically checking for errors and untranslated text, suggesting terms and previous similar translations, and more. Therefore, a translation performed using a CAT tool is still entirely a human translation.
In addition to their core functionality, CAT tools have evolved to include a variety of other tools and add-ones, including spell checkers, grammar checkers, terminology managers and databases, and content management systems. They are also able to integrate with a variety of translation management platforms and allow teams of translators to work on a single project together.
At Latitude Prime, we currently work with a variety of CAT tools, including SDL Trados, WordFast, Déjà Vu, and MemoQ, depending on the project specifications, client requirements, and translation resources.
For projects that involved “editable” content (i.e., files provided in their original format which the CAT tools are able to penetrate) and are repetitive in nature or are expected to be updated regularly in the future, CAT tools may be applied. It is important to note, however, that CAT tools cannot usually be applied to documents provided in hard copy or scanned formats. While Optical Character Recognition (OCR) technology is able to penetrate some types of these texts and provide an editable output, the time required to re-format and correct any OCR errors can far outweigh the benefits of applying a CAT tool for the translation.
For more information on CAT tool technology and to discuss if this technology may be right for you, please contact us.