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Relevance of CAT tools in translation

Over time, translation has matured into a full scale service industry. Owing to globalization, the geographical barriers are shrinking and business are expanding across geographies. Culture and language are two most obvious barriers that businesses face while expanding abroad – clearly emphasizing the need for translation services.

Focus on context is one of the most important factors while producing quality translation. Let us take an example of conversion of a document from English to French. Thus, while doing a quality French translation, we must take into account the context, subject, domain of the source document. Most of the online translation tools available do a word to word or at max a phrasal translation, which does not account for the subject of the entire document! As we all know, a particular term might have multiple meanings based on the context and domain – this point is completely out of scope for machine translation!

Let us talk of technical translation – per se, tech conversion needs a very good eye, as a slight error (we shall take up the quality angle in a separate blog) can lead to enormous issues. Conversion of tech docs has a lot to do with the terminology or domain – medical, automotive, legal, botanical, chemical etc. Now, let us consider a document of around 100 pages which is to be translated to, say Hindi and a Hindi language expert is working on the same. Being human, there is a high possibility that the translator might use different Hindi word for the same English term occurring on different pages. This is a big issue in technical translation and is known as the ‘consistency issue’. Of course, preparing a glossary can solve this to some extent, but we have CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools which are really a boon in this regard!

CAT tools are mostly memory based tools which keep a record of the translation done by the translator at the first occurrence of each term/phrase in the document. These tools automatically replace these terms/phrases  with the translation where ever these occur again in the file Рthus improving consistency, speed and efficiency! Thus, CAT tools play a very important role in delivering accurate technical translation services.

In a nutshell, usage of CAT tools wisely can improve the quality, consistency and efficiency of a professional translator considerably.


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