As businesses continue to expand their global reach and individuals connect across cultures, the demand for high-quality translation services has never been greater. In this pursuit of linguistic excellence, Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools have emerged as invaluable allies for translators, streamlining their workflow, enhancing productivity, and ensuring the utmost accuracy in their work.
In this article, we will take a look at the best CAT tools for translators, and break down their best (and worst) features so that freelance translators can make the most informed choice.
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What Are CAT Tools?
CAT tools, or Computer-Assisted Translation tools, are specialized software applications designed to aid translators in their work by facilitating the translation process, improving efficiency, and ensuring consistency in the output. CAT tools are not automatic machine translation systems like Google Translate; instead, they provide human translators with a set of powerful features to work more effectively with the texts they are translating.
Key features of CAT tools include:
- Translation Memory (TM): CAT tools utilize a translation memory database that stores previously translated segments (sentences or phrases) along with their corresponding source texts.
- Terminology Management: CAT tools enable translators to manage terminology databases, ensuring the consistent use of specific terms across different documents or projects. This feature is especially crucial for maintaining brand identity and industry-specific jargon.
- Real-Time Editing: CAT tools display the source and target texts side by side, allowing translators to make adjustments on-the-fly as they work through the content.
- Translation Collaboration: CAT tools often support collaboration features, enabling multiple translators to work on the same project simultaneously.
- Quality Assurance: CAT tools include built-in quality assurance checks to identify potential errors, inconsistencies, or formatting issues in the translated content. This ensures that the final output meets high-quality standards.
- File Format Support: CAT tools are designed to handle a wide range of file formats, including Word documents, Excel sheets, PowerPoint presentations, HTML files, and various other formats commonly used for translation projects.
The Best CAT Tools for Translators
Trados Studio is an industry-favorite desktop-based CAT tool, especially due to its ability to translate multiple languages at the same time. This software is specifically aimed at freelance translators to translate anything from e-books to mobile applications. Trados Studio also has many excellent features beyond just translation; such as glossaries, dictionaries, terminology management tools, and project management tools.
Supported Languages: 50+ supported languages
Price: 525 € for the application
Lokalise is a web-based translation software that allows multiple users to collaborate on the same project at once, making it ideal for teams. Document version control allows gives users the option to work on different iterations of the same file to combine when finished. Lokalise also seamlessly integrates with third-party applications such as Adobe XD, Figma, and Sketch, making it easier to combine and optimize workflows.
Supported Languages: 100+ languages
Price: Plans start at $120 per month to $825 per month
OmegaT is another popular desktop-based CAT tool that is available completely free of charge. This software is supported by Windows, macOS, and Linux, and provides a seamless and user-friendly platform for users to translate text into other languages. However, OmegaT does not feature machine translation features nor the sharing of translation memories, meaning that translators will have to do so manually.
Supported Languages: 31 supported languages
Pairaphrase is a cloud-based CAT tool that features multiple excellent functionalities that users may not find anywhere else. For example, this CAT software supports online collaboration for teams, data protection, stores translation memories, and features translation API for businesses to connect the tool directly to their websites. Furthermore, this tool offers voiceover translation, allowing users to upload a text file and then receive an audio translation in up to 18 different languages.
Supported Languages: 100+ supported languages
Price: Plans range from $199 to $399 per month
OneSkyApp is another cloud-based CAT tool that is ideal for translating mobile and desktop applications, games, and websites. It allows for seamless collaboration between teams and provides a wide variety of additional features that aim to improve the quality of the translation, such as a glossary and translation memory. However, the user interface is difficult to navigate, but besides for that, this is an excellent CAT tool for translators.
Supported Languages: 50+ supported languages
Price: OneSkyApp charges $0.04 per word
Redokun is a cloud-based CAT tool with a simple and seamless user interface that is perfect for beginner translators. It also features collaborative capabilities, project management and file organization features, translation memory, and machine translation for efficient and automated workflows.
Supported Languages: 92 supported languages
Price: Plans range from $150 to $780 per month
Phrase (formerly MemSource) is a popular cloud-based CAT tool with collaborative capabilities and built-in translation memory. Some more features include quality checks to identify potential broken placeholders or mistranslated terms, phrase analytics, as well as its useful auto-complete function. This particular tool is aimed specifically toward teams, making it less than ideal for solo translators.
Supported Languages: 500+ supported languages
Price: Plans range from $29 to $369 per month
With POEditor, translators can automate their workflows, integrate with third-party applications such as GitHub and Azure, review and recover past translations, and even crowdsource translations if necessary. POEditor is a great cloud-based CAT tool for web and mobile localization, however, the user experience may prove tricky for some.
Supported Languages: 270+ supported languages
Price: Plans range from free to $199 per month
The demand for high-quality translation services has reached unprecedented levels due to the expansion of businesses’ global reach and the increasing interconnectivity of individuals from diverse cultures.
In this pursuit of linguistic excellence, Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools have emerged as indispensable allies for translators, offering a wide range of powerful features to streamline their workflow, enhance productivity, and ensure utmost accuracy.