CAT tools it the work of a translator. Part 2

CAT tools it the work of a translator. Part 2

The use of dedicated tools for translators

Most graduates of linguistic or philological studies regret their lack of knowledge of the basic principles of use of software designed to assist the work of translators. At the same time, there is an increasing number of training courses available on the market, where we can learn the specifics of particular applications. It is worth using them?

Before we decide to participate in such a course we have to realize that most of them only last one day, and usually less than 4 hours. They typically cost about €50. If we take into account the fact, that we can acquire the same skills on our own, by simply reading the instruction manuals of the software, the expense seems to be disproportionately high in relation to the actual benefits of the training.

It is also worth noting, that hardly anyone uses only one program in their work. In this case we should pay for several different training courses. As a result most translators would probably be better off with a general course of computer usage on a more advanced level – where they could acquire certain habits regarding functions that are repeated in many different programs, such as using keyboard shortcuts.

CAT software

CAT software: time savings in exchange for lower earnings?

Most of the documents that are translated with the use of CAT tools are translations with a significant number of repetitions. The cost for such work with the use of dedicated programs is much lower than in the case of traditional working methods – texts of this type are usually billed adequately to the amount of new phrases and expressions translated. Of course not everyone reduces their prices, but elementary fairness towards the customer would require that.

A fair translator must therefore make a very important decision: by choosing CAT software, they will often have to reduce their basic price per page, however, the translation process itself will often become much quicker. What is more profitable? This is something that everyone must decide for themselves.

Not everyone will utilize the CAT tools to the same extent

Due to the specific nature of certain translations, especially those based on metaphors, puns and wordplay, that is, in the majority of literary works, CAT tools could prove virtually useless. The program only works when certain expressions, phrases, sentences are repeated relatively frequently within the text.

Therefore in most cases it will be beneficial to use translation memories in technical or medical translations. They should be used with caution in legal documents, where context plays an important role and where similar terms may be interpreted in different ways. On the other hand, the use of CAT tools for literary translations is dependent on their specifics, however, in most cases the benefits are limited.


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