CAT Tools for Dummies

Computer Aided Translation tools (CAT tools) are computer applications that help and assist in translating content from its original language to the target language.

CAT tools enhance the productivity and consistency of translation while keeping costs low. They usually include several individual technologies in a single, integrated program. These tools have come a long way from their humble beginnings. At first they were stand-alone software for use on a single computer. Now we have online cloud-based CAT tools that can be accessed from anywhere. This means that our translators can access the necessary tools from wherever they are in the world!

The benefits of CAT tools

Computer Aided Translation tools facilitate the translation process by resolving the text into smaller segments that can be easily translated. They can be sentences, phrases or individual words, organised so that it is easier for the translator. With CAT tools linguists can translate much more effectively, making the translation process more time-efficient. The benefit of CAT is that these segments can be recalled later on in the process from the translation memory. Thus they ensure that the terminology and writing style of the original text are followed for continuity.

It is also beneficial when the original text is similar to previously translated content. As mentioned, CAT tools usually have an inbuilt memory meaning the translation is likely to be more accurate and quick. CAT tools also reduce chances of errors by saving the translated segments along with the source phrase. The translator can access any of the translated segments at any time to ensure the segment it translated accurately. CAT is specifically developed to allow translators to be able to search for and alter particular segments at will. Doing so means they can perform any revisions needed in a timely matter.

How does the process work?

  1. Your translation agency will first extract the translatable content from the source file.
  2. Upload the source content to the CAT tool of your choice.
  3. The CAT tool leverages the translation memory to recognise and recycle previously translated content.
  4. The tool links to available terminology database and provides suggestions to translators as they work to ensure consistency in translations.
  5. Translations are reviewed and edited by human translators to ensure utmost accuracy.
  6. All segments that have been translated are saved into the Translation Memory.
  7. The CAT tool generates the target file.
  8. Engineers finalize the target file to ensure it adequately matches the source file.
  9. Target files are then shared with the customer.

Why are CAT tools so effective in localization?

Successful localization usually involves enormous amounts of text that would take a long time to translate do without technology. This is easily done by Computer Aided Translation through the use of Translation Memories. As a result of the speed and accuracy of the technology, you can get more content translated for a lower cost.

If you’ve got documents that have lots of repetitions, e.g. technical manuals, CAT tools will help the translator out by remembering the phrases they’ve already translated so that they don’t have to translate them again. That’s how you can reduce the costs of your translations, as you’ll never have to pay for the same phrase twice!

CAT tools make the translation process effortless, with increased consistency and a high quality of work, for a reasonable price. To learn more about how we can use Computer Aided Translation to optimise your translation, contact us at

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