Disadvantages and advantages of CAT software - part 2
Everything has its disadvantages and advantages. The basic question is: do the latter ones outweigh the former ones? If so, investment in CAT software seems to be a good idea.
Repetition index – how much translator's work is there in a translation?
The repetition index, calculated frequently by CAT programmes, specifies how often the same phrases or sentences occurred in a given text. The higher it is, the smaller was the amount of work of the translator. It can even happen that most of a document had been taken from a previously created database, whereas the translator made mainly minor corrections and watched over the consistency of translation.
It is particularly convenient when one has a specific specialisation – terms, phrases and industry terminology usually occur in a similar context and can be used, since they are already present in a translation memory. In the case of specialisation in several different fields, it is a good practice to create dedicated databases – after all, medical terminology will not repeat when making translations of technical specifications or vice versa.
The ethical accusation: is using programmes as assistance fair to the customer?
Many customers and novice translators still believe in a stereotype whereby each translation should be made from end to end personally, preferably also using fat volumes of various specialist dictionaries.
Well, these times have already gone by. And that is very good. Why would one “reinvent the wheel” each time when we already translated once a given text, phrase, sentence? It would be a waste both of our time and that of our customer who counts not only on reliability, but also on acceptable date of receipt of documents.
Thus, Computer Aided Translation software does not mean that there’s a lack of loyalty towards the customer. On the contrary, it works in their favour, giving them a more accurate translation with better quality and faster than that produced entirely “by hand”.
If this argument is still not sufficient for someone, it will be a good thing to take a look at the problem from the other side:
• the content of a translation memory is updated by ourselves and each fragment which goes there for the first time is something we have translated ourselves;
• all phrases and sentences stored in it were therefore once translated by ourselves;
• thus, the whole database contains the results of our own work.
Would anybody come up with an idea to make a claim concerning unethical behaviour involving the use of sentences and phrases simply remembered in own head? I do not think so as it is known to be the result of the work of a translator. Why would then saving the same on a computer's disk be unfair?