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Computer Aided Translation tools

First of all, let us start by clearly stating the difference between Computer Aided Translation and Machine Translation. They are two separate technologies that are usually confused with one another.

- Computer Aided Translation tools allow the translator to store language pairs (source and target sentences) in a database, called translation memory (TM), so that this translation can be reused at a later stage. The fuzzy match feature allows the software to find not only exact matches, but also similar sentences that can be partially translated using the information stored on the TM. This technology requires a qualified language professional to perform the translation work and helps to produce a consistent translation significantly faster.

- Machine Translation tools are designed to automatically translate a piece of text using internal program parameters and algorithms. The quality of the translated text can vary depending on the field of expertise, but usually these programs render a poor translation that needs to be reviewed by a linguist. In most cases, it is faster to do the translation from scratch than having to re-translate what the program created. It requires no further human interaction that setting a few parameters and clicking.

It is only a few years ago that translation memories broke into the localisation scene. Ever since, workflows and processes have dramatically adapted to make the best of this technology. Nowadays it is almost impossible to think of translation as part of the localisation process without using a translation memory tool.

CAT tools can be divided into two groups, according on their interface. There are those which rely in MS Word as a translation interface and those with a proprietary interface. For more information on this approach in the article MetaTexis, la alternativa asequible, (in Spanish) accesible from section Publications. A feature compare for the different CAT tools is also available. Find below a list of CAT tools that are worth checking:


External interface Proprietary interface



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