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Translation Technologies and Their Importance

Last updated on May 18th, 2021 at 12:12 pm

Translation Technologies for the Ultimate Translation

Long gone are the days when translating meant locking oneself in a room with paper all over the desk and writing with a pen! Nowadays, we have new translation technologies that helps us work faster and better. In this blog, we will discuss the most widespread and probably also, most misunderstood Translation Technologies: CAT Tools and Machine Translation.

Nowadays, CAT Tools are a staple in the translation industry and is used regularly by translators, whereas Machine Translation is used more selectively for certain types of translations when appropriate.  At JR Language, we use machine translation as a support for ATLAS which is a multilingual web publishing system.

β€’ CAT Tools means Computer Assisted/Aided Translation. It is software, a translation technology that allows translators to work in an organized, effective and controlled way to achieve productivity and consistency.

The basic display of Cat Tools is a two sided screen- in one side you have the source text and the other side is where you will be typing your translation. There are also little screens that contain help tools such as previous translations you have done of a specific sentence and terms. This means, you won’t have to remember how you translated something because the software will aid in making suggestions from what it has stored, and from there you may choose to use the suggestion, improve it or translate it completely without using the suggestion. The tool is there to help, not to translate for you.

The tool also has spell checkers and many others useful features, like quality assurance, masks for non-translatable code, and formatting to help produce the new translated document. Gone are the days of missing paragraphs, this tool will help you avoid that!

SCREEN OF A CAT TOOL – a Translation Technology EXAMPLE


β€’ Machine Translation (MT) is software, another translation technology that performs translations at the touch of a button. You can use machine translation raw or use post-editing with a professional translator to revise/improve the quality of the output.

In the last 5 years, machine translation technologies have improved a great deal due to research and work in the field. There is a lot of interest in the business world and in academia to produce better tools, better techniques, and large amounts of data to feed into the engines to help them learn and produce a better automatic translation.

There are two types of Machine Translation: Statistical and Rule-based (Read previous blogs about machine translation).

  • Statistical Machine Translation generates the best translations possible using statistical methods based on bilingual data or corpora. Think, Google Translate. It is an environment with a large amount of data, in many languages, that translates your content based on the number of times a given word appears in the data that has been saved over the years. Statistical Engines are also known as data driven MT.
  • Rule-based Machine Translation, on the other hand, uses information about the linguistic components of the source and target languages, using the morphological and syntactic rules as well as semantic analysis of both languages.
  • Hybrid Machine Translation leverages the strengths of both types of machine translation.

Lessons to learn from this Blog Post

  1. Use Cat Tools to be more efficient and consistent in your translation.
  2. Use Cat Tools to get the benefit of the Quality Assurance elements during the translation process.
  3. CAT tool is not Machine Translation or Automatic Translation.
  4. Machine translation is not synonymous with bad translation. Use Machine translation if it is convenient for your subject matter, your language pair and requirements of your project. However, you will need to analyze the quality to validate and make a decision.
  5. Use MT when it is convenient and beneficial for the project’s speed and budget.
  6. Use Translation Technology wisely and if it benefits your work.

Cat tools and MT are tools to aid; they are not replacements for human translators. They are helpful devices that can change the way we work, taking over tasks that are tedious and repetitive, and leaving to us what we do best- using our mental process to make wise decisions.

Use resources and technology wisely, and improve your quality and translation process. We, humans, can’t fall behind when it comes to technology. Knowledge is power, and in our industry, translation technologies are a great asset to have in your arsenal of tools: use them smartly and happy translating!

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.