In every field, tools are created to help improve the quality and efficiency of work. In translation too, instead of the previous direct translation, now translators have many effective tools to support them – CAT Tools. There have been tools developed to assist with translation work. The following six tools have been selected by us to apply to each specific step in the modern translation process because of their practicality and relevance.
But first, what are CAT Tools?
CAT Tools (Computer-assisted translation) are simply understood as tools to support translation that run on computers. Each of these tools can support one or more activities in the modern translation process such as digitization, quality control and translation.
So they are specialized computer software used in the modern translation industry.
Six tools selected to improve translation quality and efficiency
Managers are interested in improving quality and efficiency not only in translation but also in every industry. Instead of a translator translating 2000 words a day with average quality, now they can translate 3000-4000 words with decent quality with a human translation process.
This improvement helps to improve the reputation of the translation industry as well as bring greater value to the translator. Why such a significant improvement? The most powerful answer is process and technology.
#1. OCR document digitization tool – ABBYY FineReader
Editable documents are the required input of modern translation workflows. Support tools can then analyze and understand the content and allow searching.
ABBYY FineReader allows efficient conversion of Vietnamese content from OCR, JPG, PDF, etc. into readable text fast and accurately.
ABBYY FineReader comes with a friendly and easy-to-use interface. Simply select the document to convert, select the language and press the Read button, the software will give you a beautiful MS Word file. The only disadvantage of this software, like all OCR tools, is that it cannot ‘t read handwriting and has difficulty recognizing letters that are too blurry or have other content overlaid.
See full features of ABBYY FineReader here.
Abbyy Finereader by ABBYY Production LLC (Russia).
#2. Comprehensive translation software – Trados Studio
Trados studio is a professional computer-based offline translation software developed by SDL Plc (now RWS), which is based in the United Kingdom. Trados studio can be considered as an all-in-one tool for the professional TEP process. Here are some prominent and commonly used features of Trados Studio:
- Detailed analysis of the content of a translation project
- Translation with preservation of document formatting
- Parallel display of source-target files right in the translation window
- Update of bilingual content into Translation Memories (TM)
- Export as Bilingual Review files (two parallel columns) for convenient editing
- Automatic translation of translated sentences stored in TMs
- Automatic dictionary suggestion using TMs and term bases
- Supporting Regex substitution (similar to MS Word)
- Packaging of projects, helping users to manage translatable documents and available resources and allowing easy delivery
- Support of a variety of document formats, from basic MS Office formats like .docx, .xlsx and .pptx to design or programming file formats
- Generation of linked data with Google Translate
- Directly tracking of changes (TrackChange) when editing
- Update of source files upon changes
- Tagging of comments to each word (not each sentence)
- Customization of sentence breaks (sentence breaks or paragraph breaks)
- Advanced filters
In addition, if using the licensed version, users also have access to a free repository of related support tools, developed exclusively and only at Trados. Another bonus point is that Trados has a large and active user community, ready to answer your questions and related issues, a rich pool of experience in handling documents. The downside of Trados is that it is not a lightweight software; low-spec computers may experience frequent lags while using or even unable to install it. In addition, the assortment of functions means it will take some time for users to get familiar with and master basic operations.
See more about Trados Studio here.
3. Quality control tool – Xbench
Xbench is a Quality Control (QA) software from ApSIC, S.L. (Spain), which allows you to quickly check your translations according to your own set criteria.
Common errors such as word repetition, inconsistent translation, incorrect use of available terms, misspellings, punctuation, errors, etc. are effectively controlled. These are silly or unnecessary mistakes but can be very time-consuming if you have to proofread them manually, and are easy to miss.
Xbench is designed to work perfectly with other CAT tools such as Trados and MemoQ as this tool can analyze and evaluate xliff formats and even TM files. All test results can be exported to a report file that is easy to save and track for corresponding editing in your own translation tool.
Download the trial version of Xbench 3.0 here.
4. TM Editing – Heartsome TMX Editor
Translation Memory (TM) is a foundational innovation for translation tools, helping translators to save translated content and then easily look it up again. TM also helps to ensure consistent translation if a project involves multiple people, and helps to save time and effort as no-one has to retranslate a sentence that someone else has already translated. However, TMs will fill up over time and become heavy files that are difficult to handle and use.
Looking up a word in a TM only about 1MB will give results almost immediately, but can take up to several minutes if the TM’s size is 100MB. You can choose to split the TM from the start and manage a bunch of different fragmented TMs. Or keep a single set of TMs and reduce the size through the TM editing tool – HSTMXEditor, a completely free software from Heartsome Technologies Ltd.
Just export the TM to TMX format, you can open it in HSTMXEditor and remove the metadata (translation data associated with the translator name, save time, etc.) – which takes up most of the space in the TM, or edit the available translation sentences to form a standard lookup TM. In addition, you can import two-column content from a MS Word or MS Excel file to create a quick TM.
Find and download HSTMXEditor for free here.
Read more: Game localization: The role and the importance
In a project, without support staff, a translator will need to handle a variety of tasks, from preparing translated documents into the desired format, setting up the project, managing and looking up terms, translating, proofreading, quality control to project packaging. Those are just the most basic steps to be taken to create a quality translation product, meeting the strict requirements of clients. Along with that is the constant pressure of time. Usually, there is not too much time to process translated documents. Just “having enough time” can make translators happy. To meet those needs, apart from knowledge and skills, translators cannot rely on anything but technology.
Since the advent of CAT tools, the first computer-aided translation tool appeared in the mid-80s, so far, there have been many different translation tools for translators to choose from. The problem is not the lack of software, but how to choose the best tools for each specific job purpose. With years of practical experience from leading language experts, AMVN has drawn up a quality list of the following six tools for translators.