What is the actual value of translation assistance software?

logiciels tradution

In an effort to respond in the best possible way to the ever increasing needs of international businesses, the translation industry requires ever more effective tools. But, among all of the diverse tools and translation software, how can we make the right choices?

What is translation assistance software?

Let’s start by asking; what is the difference between Machine Translation (MT) and Computer Assisted Translation (CAT)?

Machine Translations (MT) are translations, of some text or audio content, that are realized in their entirety by a piece of software without any human intervention. Computer Assisted Translations (CAT), on the other hand, are translations done by a translator but with the aid of a piece of software.

Despite sometimes being criticized for the inexact nature of the translations, Machine Translations (like those done by Google Translate) can offer certain advantages. Imprecise, and sometimes inaccurate, it allows for some global understanding in real time of large volumes of text. It is a good way for the majority of the public to get a quick idea of the content of a website, for example, whatever the source language.

Translation software, an advantage for translators

Dedicated to translation professionals, translation assistance software can be grouped into multiple families:

Translation Memory software

This translation software relies of the use of a linguistic database that saves each segment of a translation so that it may be reused later. When the program recognizes a similar segment in the source, it will propose the translation that has already been done and stored in the database.

Advantages: Translation can be quicker, in particular documents with large volumes or translations for the same client over a long period of time, thanks to the accrued translation memories.

Terminology management

Terminology management software are translating tools that allow for the research of stored terms within a database (ex. the name of a product, a brand slogan) and the rules for their use (type, description, specific typography).

Advantages: Translations are of a high quality because of the homogeneous nature of the expressions used throughout the document or the global communication of a business over time.

Operational translation assistance

Other translation software, among which are spell and grammar checkers, online dictionaries, and project management software, have been adopted by large translation agencies (like Tradulog which was created by the Tradutec group in 1997).

Most beloved tools for writing: memoQ and Trados

MemoQ is a complete environment for localisation, including a translation tool and terminology management. MemoQ is also capable of treating multiple files simultaneously. Compatible with Word and PowerPoint (and, more generally the whole of the Microsoft office pack), Indesign, frameMaker, xml, html, RESX, java, etc. it allows the translator to conserve the page formatting of the source document.

Another of the market leaders is SDL Trados Studio. This CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tool adds to its translation memories a wide range of functionalities to increase translators’ productivity and facilitate revisions within a project.

Of course translation software is dear to professional translators: the improved quality of the translation of a source text, the continuity and congruity of content thanks to the translation memories, optimization of page formatting...
With assisted translation, everyone wins! More productivity means faster translations. Better yet, the client saves money on all of the expressions already translated and saved in the memory. Faster, better, and less expensive!