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CAT tools – what they are and why they matter

A CAT tool truly comes into its own when it is linked to a translation memory, or TM, as it is known for short.

CAT tools: you may have heard the term mentioned before. Perhaps you’ve even seen a demo of one in action. But do you know what CAT stands for? How about the benefits they offer to both the translator and you as a customer? Read our short guide on CAT tools below to find out.

What is a CAT tool?

A CAT tool is a Computer-Assisted Translation software suite used by professional translators to assist them when translating a text. While there are many different CAT tool brands, the basic steps involved in using them are the same:

  • The source text is fed into the CAT tool
  • The CAT tool divides the text into segments (usually sentence by sentence, though different parameters can be applied)
  • The translator creates the target text, segment by segment

Working this way provides the translator with a good overview of the text at all times. As well as there being less risk of overlooking a sentence, they can check the percentage of completed text against the percentage of remaining text, analyse the text for repetitions, perform a word count, and export the file for review by another person.

This is all without mentioning the most important element of all: the translation memory.

Consistent terminology thanks to a translation memory

A CAT tool truly comes into its own when it is linked to a translation memory, or TM, as it is known for short. As the name suggests, the TM saves every translated segment (unless specified otherwise) in a server-based or local file. When the time comes to translate the next text, the CAT tool automatically fills in any matches (usually set at 75-100%). This saves time for the translator and reduces the costs for the customer.

In addition, the translation memory gives the translators access to a ‘concordance search’ function, allowing them to look up specific terminology that has been used in the past. This creates consistency between texts, ensuring – for example – that your press releases will always follow the same corporate house style.

How we can help you with CAT tools

A CAT tool has four main advantages for our customers:

  • Text matches reduce the overall price per word
  • The concordance search ensures consistency between texts
  • You receive the finished text sooner
  • The quality of the translations remains high in the long term

The benefits don’t stop there, either. After all, the larger your translation memory becomes, the smarter the CAT tool will be. The result: more accurate translations for a lower price in less time – with quality guaranteed every step of the way.

Get in touch

Want to find out more about how CAT tools and your own dedicated translation memory can help your business? Are you ready to get started with SwissGlobal and start saving on your translations? Click here to complete the contact form or give us a call on +41 (0) 56 203 20 20 to speak to us personally.