Wouldn’t it be wonderful if language translation software could solve all our language problems?
Computer Aided Translation, which is also known as CAT, seems to be very popular these days. More and more people are using language software products aiming to enhance efficiency and accuracy.
It saves them time and ultimately saves them money.Well, in many cases.
Let’s look at what language translation software does first.
Most software made for professional translators contains two major functions – terminology management, and translation memory.
It helps save and store the terms you’ve already translated so when the same or similar term comes up, you’ll automatically have the translation.
It keeps the terms consistent and also saves a huge amount of time if you have very long documents, multiple jobs at different times or different translators working on the same project.
Although there are many products available on the market, the most common language translation software product, which is also the industry standard, is called TRADOS. Companies that sell these products usually also offer training for translators.
Many large translation companies require their language professionals to be able to use CAT. Some agencies may even offer free training to translators if you sign up with them.
These software products are not cheap. They can cost more than a thousand dollars.
But the efficiency level relies on certain conditions:
- the document to be translated has to be computer-based text, not on paper
- it does not adapt well to unexpected changes.
- before each different job, you have to “teach” the software about new terms.
- Every piece of your job requires careful proof-reading, one word at a time. There are no shortcuts here.
And don’t forget that computers, no matter how smart and advanced they are, will never be able to detect emotions and feelings in context.
Take legal documents for example. The exact same term can mean totally different things in the same document. Software is not able to tell them apart.
Human language is a complicated art that you need not only your brain, but also your heart, to understand it.
A good software product can improve your overall efficiency, particularly on certain types of text, such as technical documents with relatively dry and straightforward language.
Also the advantage of translation software is demonstrated best when you have large amounts of computer based text to work on.
But remember – the computer industry is always evolving. Software is being replaced by newer versions constantly, so you have to spend a lot of time and bucks to keep updated.
So it’s great to learn how to use these language translation tools, but in the end, you’ll have to decide if the results match up with the hefty price of investment.