CAT is an acronym for Computer Aided Translation and CAT tools are increasingly used by
translators to translate many different types of texts, such as technical documentation and
marketing material. When translators use a CAT tool, it means they use a computer program while working on their translations. CAT tools allow the translator to take translation memories and termbases that are specific to the customer and use these during the translation process.

Why do we use CAT tools?


CAT tools are an essential factor in ensuring that we get the most optimal and cost-effective translation process. A CAT tool allows us to re-use previous translations, which is an important part of the process in helping us to reduce your costs


CAT tools that World Translation works most frequently with:

SDL Trados Studio 2017, 2015, 2014 and 2011
Star Transit NXT and XV
Across 6.3
SDL Passolo
Alchemy CATALYST 11
We also use other translation tools, as required.




How does a translation memory work?


The whole point of a translation memory is that a text should only have to be translated once.
If the same text is used again at a later point in time, the translation memory recognises it and shows the translator the previous translation that was used for that text. In other words,
previous translations can be re-used.

Before the translation memory comes into play, the CAT tool first breaks the whole text down into small text segments. These text segments do not necessarily have to be whole sentences. The segmentation depends on predefined rules in the CAT tool. For example, one rule might be that the end of a segment is defined by a full stop or an exclamation mark. If necessary, the
segmentation rules can be adjusted to suit the format of the individual document. Once the
segments have been made, they are then compared with all of the text segments in the
translation memory.

Every time we translate a text for you, all of the text segments and their corresponding
translations are saved in your translation memory. Whenever we carry out a translation for you, your translation memory grows – which means potentially you can save even more time and money when there are more repetitions. In other words, you do not spend money on translating something that has already been translated.




Examples of how text segments can be re-used

  1. If your company produces different variants of a machine, the contents of the manuals and other product information will often be similar. General information, which all of the
    documents must contain, need only be translated once. After this, the translation can be reused in all of the manuals.

  2. If your manuals are often updated, you only need to translate the updated text. You do not need to translate the manual from scratch again.

Once the source text has been divided into segments, each segment is then compared with the contents of the translation memory. The results of this comparison are defined as a match
percentage, which is a measure of how well each segment matches with a segment in the
translation memory.


What is a translation memory?

A Translation Memory (TM) is a specific customer translation memory, i.e. a database containing all of the customer’s previously translated sentences. When translating text that is similar to text that has already been translated, the TM allows the translator to
reuse the previously translated text. This increases translation speed and ensures
uniform quality. A TM is one of the most important elements in a CAT tool.


Match categories:

100 % Match:
The text segment that is to be translated is a 100 % match with a text segment that has been translated previously.


Fuzzy match:
The text that is to be translated is similar to a text segment that has been
translated previously, but it is not a 100 % match. In effect, the less similar the segments are, the lower the match percentage.
Previously translated sentence in a TM: The car is green.
New text segment: The car is red.
The translator is shown fuzzy matches, which reuse as much of the previous translation as

Internal repetition:
A text segment has not be translated before, but it occurs several times in the same translation project. When the text segment appears for the first time, it is translated and saved in the TM. When the segment in question is repeated later on in the text, the translator is shown the earlier translation.

No match:
The text segment that is to be translated is completely new or is so different from any other
previously translated segment that there is no match.





Example of a text analysis based on match categories.



Translation tools create many benefits for you

CAT tools ensure uniform use of language, save time and reduce costs because content can be reused. But the most important benefit of all from the use of these tools is the creation of
translations of the highest quality. Please remember that CAT tools are not the same thing as machine translation. They are tools that help the translator during the translation process.



Ensuring the successful use of CAT tools

CAT tools are particularly excellent tools when texts have many repetitions. But in the case of context-specific texts, for example, marketing material, the text will often not be reused in any other context.

When text is to be translated, it needs to be in an editable format. CAT tools can handle most types of file formats. However, they cannot handle PDF files, as this is an image of the original file, which means it cannot be edited.

A translation memory can be used very effectively when the source text is of a high quality. In other words, the source text should as much as possible be unambiguous and free of mistakes. Having uniform sentence structure and uniform terminology also helps to ensure that you get the most out of a translation memory.

Learn more about CAT tools


World Translation’s view on translation memory ownership:

Translation memories are created on the basis of your translations and therefore, we believe that they are your property. At World Translation, you own your translation memories and you can have them delivered to you at any time. You can also access your translation memories online if you so wish.


Contact an expert (Eva Maria)

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