Tools of the Trade: How Translators Take Your Project into Another Language

Every profession has essential tools for getting the job done right. In the professional translation industry, having the right tools and knowing when to use them guarantees translators can provide services that create a great experience for the client’s audience. Today we’re going behind the scenes to give you a quick overview of some of the main tools translators use.

  1. Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Software

CAT tools split documents into segments (phrases and paragraphs) and place the text to be translated (source text) side-by-side with the final text (target text), making translation easier and more efficient. These source and target segments are then stored in a database called a translation memory (TM). When the same text appears in another project for the same client, the translator uses the previous translation to standardize terminology and style.

Trados Studio, Phrase and MemoQ are some of the top CAT tools used in the industry.

  1. Terminology References

All industries and clients have specific terminology and quick access to this information helps translators work more efficiently. Termbases are one of the key terminology references translators use. These are glossaries that integrate into CAT tools to facilitate research.

Many organizations and industries provide glossaries online. For example, the European Union offers multilingual glossaries in various industries such as law, the environment and the economy. For Canadian translators, the Termium database is a goldmine filled with terminology, acronym definitions and more.

  1. Spelling and Grammar Correctors

Automatic correctors like those integrated in Microsoft Word and Google Docs help translators catch spelling and grammar errors. Advanced tools like Antidote and Grammarly also provide style and tone suggestions.

  1. Project Management Systems

Juggling complex projects involving multiple languages or team members is much easier with project management platforms like XTRF, Trello and Asana or solutions tailored specifically to translators like LSP.Expert.

  1. Automatic Translation and Post-Editing

Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is currently the most accurate and efficient type of automatic translation. An NMT engine is AI that learns to translate using a neural network. NMT tools are useful for certain projects and professional translators know when to use them to improve efficiency. Normally, the machine translated text must be post-edited so it’s fit for purpose.

  1. Quality Control Software

Completing a final quality control on projects is essential. There are numerous programs that check for terminology consistency, TM alignment, number accuracy and more.

  1. Communication and Collaboration Platforms

Facilitating communication between clients and language service providers is important. Companies often use applications like Slack or Microsoft Teams for internal collaboration. Websites like ProZ and TranslatorsCafé also offer freelance translators a place to connect.

  1. Security and Privacy Systems

Sensitive data must be protected. Encrypted messaging services and secure storage platforms keep documents confidential.

Now you know a few of the cutting-edge tools that translators at ITC use to complete your projects efficiently and securely. All these tools ensure that your message has the intended impact on your audience, like informing, motivating, instructing or advising.


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