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What is a CAT tool?
What is a CAT tool?
What is a CAT tool?
CAT tools provide the translator with an IT environment that helps them to carry out their work, improve their productivity and ensure the high quality of their translations. In general terms, these computer-assisted translation programs allow almost any type of file to be processed, dividing the text into smaller segments and storing the translation for subsequent reuse. It is important to point out that although these tools help the translator to carry out their work, they do not in any way automatically translate the text.
Functions of a CAT tool
CAT tools are constantly evolving, but below we will describe their most common functions.
1. Segmentation of the source text
CAT tools divide the source text into small text fragments called “translation units”. The process used by the CAT tool to achieve this division is known as “segmentation”. The text is normally divided into sentences or paragraphs, depending on the type of file.
2. Translation memory
Translation memories are databases that store source texts and their corresponding translations. They allow the program to retrieve translation units that it has already saved. Therefore, the next time that you process a file for translation that contains parts that have already been translated, then the CAT tool will detect any matching translation units.
3. Terminology manager
The main function of the terminology manager is the creation and management of dictionaries, i.e. the storage and management of specific words or expressions together with their corresponding translations. It also allows extra information to be added that may be relevant, such as the grammatical category, the definition of the concept, etc. As the text is translated, the program recognises terms in the text that have been saved in the terminology manager and automatically proposes the corresponding translation. The terminology manager is not added to automatically, terms must always be incorporated into the dictionaries by somebody.
3. Quality control
CAT tools have different quality control features that allow potential errors in the translation to be detected automatically. The options depend on the program in question, but below we will outline some of the most common ones.
- Spellcheck. CAT tools have a spellchecker that detects errors in the translation.
- Format check. This feature ensures that the translation has the same numbers, format or punctuation as the source text.
- Terminology check. This quality check depends directly on the terminology manager. It allows the user to check that the terminology saved in the manager has been used in the translation.
4. Processing of numerous formats
CAT tools allow you to extract text from almost any file type in order to translate it in the program’s interface. CAT tools separate the text from the file format information and assign tags to the different format characteristics, such as italics, footnotes or hyperlinks. These tags mean that the translator does not have to insert format or other information manually in the translation. Once the text has been translated in the CAT tool, the program can insert the translation automatically into the original file maintaining the original format. This means that files can be translated without having to own the original program, saving time and costs as it is not necessary to insert the translation into the original file manually.
5. Alignment tool
The alignment process serves to create a translation memory from files that have already been translated but were not saved in a translation memory. This option allows you to reuse already translated material as a reference for subsequent translations. The file alignment process consists of identifying the source text and its translation and saving them in a translation memory that can then be used for translating a new document.
There are many CAT tools on the market, but STAR Servicios Lingüísticos has its own tool, developed by the STAR group: Transit NXT. The advantage of having a tool developed by us is that it allows us to continuously update and adapt it to the needs of our clients. In the following section, we will explain how Transit NXT helps you to reduce your translation costs.
How to reduce translation costs with Transit NXT
- Transit NXT recognises the parts that have already been translated previously or the internal repetitions of the file to be translated. These matches or repeated sentences have a lower cost than new words, which enables you to reduce your translation costs.
- Transit NXT can process numerous formats, such as MS Office, Adobe InDesign and AutoCAD, but also HTML, XML, SGML, etc. This allows you to reduce the DTP costs of the translation or the processing required for its publication.
- Transit NXT’s alignment tool allows you to reuse your previous translations to reduce the cost of translating new documents.
- Transit NXT permits the exchange of translation memories created by other CAT tools. This allows you to reuse translations completed in other programs to reduce the cost of translating new documents.
- Transit NXT has powerful tools for managing terminology and carrying out quality assurance checks. These features ensure the quality of the translations and reduce the cost of any potential corrections.
You can request more information on Transit NXT via our website. You can also request a trial version or a quote to purchase our products. In other posts, we cover practical cases that illustrate each of these features.