Home / Translation practice  / What is a CAT tool and how does a CAT tool work?
7 Comments
  • khalid

    Thank you very much for your valuable information , personally I have never used CAT application but after I read your article I am more than happy to learn about it,
    Kindly if you can advise ,from where I can get SDL trados and the possibility to be trained
    looking for ward to hearing from you

    26 June, 2018 at 06.03 Reply
  • Doria

    Thank you for this article, very informative indeed

    29 June, 2018 at 11.35 Reply
  • Sudski tumač

    Thank you for an informative post.

    23 August, 2018 at 10.44 Reply
  • Dai

    Hello, generally I agree with your blog about the benefits of using CAT tools when translating. It is beneficial for a translator to be able to use them, as many job vacancies require CAT skills, as observed by Daniel Gouadec. It also increases efficiency and productivity and reduces human error with the use of translation memories. As you’ve said, translation software works wonders in terms of keeping the formatting of the source document, so we don’t have to be designers as well. Another point is that the initial translation will help the translator research specific terminologies.

    However, I do think that CAT tools should be used with care in regards to filled-in translations and using pre-existing or plug-in translation memories. These preliminary translations are essentially phrase replacement between the source and target languages and I would say are a “dehumanised use of language”, in the words of Anthony Pym. They should be used only as aids for the translator and not as a direct or final translation, because there are things the software cannot accomplish in its translations, things which can be argued as inherent to translation itself. The text’s ideas, conveyed emotions, homonyms, and culturally loaded words, the “full meaning of the source material”, needs to be rendered into the target language to even be considered a translation, according to Bert Esselink. Only a human can consider these things, and therefore it is very difficult to apply this software to literary translations, where they are much more prevalent.

    4 October, 2019 at 03.07 Reply
    • Doris

      I cannot agree with you more on the point that there are limitations in using CAT tools when it comes to creative texts. Unlike humans, translation software cannot process the emotion, reason or background information behind creative expressions and collocations. In most cases, translators have to edit the suggestions in order to accurately convey the author’s message. According to Pym, translation technology including CAT tools should be used with care as it also disrupts linearity by imposing the paradigmatic. In other words, the linearity of a text is interrupted when it is broken down into segments. Translators are more inclined to work on segments of the source text rather than the text as a whole. The text becomes an element in a narrative sequence with the completed translation as the end result. He goes on to argue that translators lose sight of the purpose of translation as they become even more reliant on communication technology in their work. He sums this up with this quote, “the more technology, the less easy it is to make decisions in terms of linearity, the less we tend to see translation as communicating between people.” (Pym)

      14 October, 2019 at 14.38 Reply
  • Doris

    Hi, I am writing in response to Dai’s comment. I cannot agree with Dai more on the point that there are limitations in using CAT tools when it comes to creative texts. Unlike humans, translation software cannot process the emotion, reason or background information behind creative expressions and collocations. In most cases, translators have to edit the suggestions in order to accurately convey the author’s message. According to Pym, translation technology including CAT tools should also be used with care as it also disrupts linearity by imposing the paradigmatic. In other words, the linearity of a text is interrupted when it is broken down into segments. Translators are more inclined to work on segments of the source text rather than the text as a whole. The text becomes an element in a narrative sequence with the completed translation as the end result. He goes on to argue that translators lose sight of the purpose of translation as they become even more reliant on communication technology in their work. He sums this up with this quote, “the more technology, the less easy it is to make decisions in terms of linearity, the less we tend to see translation as communicating between people.” (Pym)

    14 October, 2019 at 14.46 Reply
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