What is Computer-Assisted Translation Software?
Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) software is an interactive platform that facilitates language translation using a combination of automated software and human translators to produce high-quality translations. These tools help reduce a translator’s workload, improve translation speed, quality, and consistency.
CAT is part of a broader category of Translation tools that overlap with and include machine translation, localization software, and translation management software.
CAT is used by language service providers, professional translators, and businesses that need to localize their content. It gives corporations with global markets the ability to support customers and users in their native language. Increasingly, CAT software is bundled with localization software that targets specific geographic/cultural markets for a company’s products and services. Machine translation software may also be included in this bundle and automates the translation process.
CAT is sometimes confused with machine translation.CAT tools require human intervention to proofread and edit automated translations. Machine translations, on the other hand, provide machine translations without any human intervention or editing. As a result, CAT translations are typically more consistent and accurate. Machine translation, which is dependent upon AI and machine learning, is quick and easy but not always reliable. Specifically, it has difficulty handling contexts, idioms, and sarcastic dialog.
CAT software translates documents, text, and audio files for a variety of use cases: owner manuals, service guides, websites, mobile apps, games, software, localizing CMS content, multi-lingo SEO, and IoT. It is especially valuable in the legal, science, technology, and medical fields that require precise, consistent translations.
Computer-Assisted Translation Software Features
Most computer-assisted translation tools will offer the following features:
Translation Alignment (provides side by side, machine and user translations for comparison)
Terminology Management (customized terms for specific fields)
Segment Analysis (determines the amount of translation effort)
Language Search (looks for matching text in previous translations)
Translation Memory (databases of approved manual and automated translations)
AI Dynamic Machine Learning (applies user editing to all other relevant text in the document)
File Parsing (preserves original format and supports multiple file formats)
Spell, Grammar Checker
Workflow Tools - Translation Collaboration (allows multiple users to collaborate real-time on a translation)
Translation Analysis (analyze quality and effectiveness of translations)
Translation Project Management
CAT software is primarily implemented through Cloud-based SaaS, but there are web-based, mobile, and desktop platforms.
Computer-Assisted Translation Software Comparison
In addition to reviewing the many CAT features that you can choose from, consider these points when evaluating computer-assisted translation software.
Human vs. machine: What blend of human and automated translation works best for your needs? The more sophisticated your subject matter, the greater need for human intervention and revision.
Multi-language support: Does it support the languages you require? Do you need language support beyond just translating from English to other languages or from other languages into English?
Scope: What is the scope of your translation requirements? Which of your products and services require translation and does the software readily support them? What is the volume of work? CAT tools may have different pricing models, some of which are based on usage of the tool or volume of translations needed.
Integrations: What are your integration requirements for design, engineering, workflow, support, CMS tools and code repositories?
Pricing for computer-assisted translation software is contingent on the number of features, customization, number of seats, the volume of words, and length of commitment. Some products are free, while others have starting prices as low as $12 a month, ranging up to over $375 a month.
Higher-cost plans support advanced analytics, larger translation memory databases, enhanced machine translation, AI, and quality control. Word count-driven pricing products are primarily offered for the freelance translation market.
Computer-assisted translation software is predominately available as cloud-based products, via a monthly subscription. Free trials are often provided. There are several open-source free versions available as well.