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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

What are the advantages of acquiring a CAT tool?

What are the advantages of acquiring a CAT tool?

Consistency reasons - very helpful for documents that contain sections you've translated before (or that have since been slightly amended). If you are often asked to translate several documents relating to the same transaction (such as various contracts with similar contents). In those cases, CAT tools can save quite a lot of work.It really depends on the type of work you do. If most of your projects are one-offs, the investment may not be worth it for you.

One of the biggest benefits is the glossary function. It offers the possibility to link three glossaries to a given document as you work, so that any terms in your glossaries will be highlighted in the text as you work - saves hours of thinking "Now I know I've had that before - but where is it?" You can add terms to your glossaries as you work with just a few key strokes, thus keeping your glossaries up-to-date with minimal effort. Context search is another useful feature - this enables you to highlight a word or phrase and then search in your current memory (or all your memories if you have a Big Translation Memory set up too) to see how you've translated this before, even if the whole sentence hasn't already been translated.There's the invaluable knowledge that your work is being saved to the memory as you type and will still be there if you have a power cut or you accidentally lose the document - it's saved my bacon a few times!Give one of the trial versions a go and see what you think before you commit yourself? Wordfast has a good internet support group and people will be happy to answer your questions either there or in the ProZ.com forums if you get stuck.

You may also start with OmegaT. Why? It is open source and you can get it for free, it is really easy to use, and the developers have made a tutorial for beginners which gives you step-by-step instructions and assumes that you know nothing about CAT tools. In addition they have a group for users where you can ask for help. I think this is ideal for a beginner. Then when you have tried it, you'll see whether you'll have use for it or not. Then you can stick with OmegaT or move on to commercial products, which cost you a lot of money and I assume are more complicated to use, but will give you access to clients who want you to use them. If you have no such clients, it's matter of taste really.

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