Before I explain the basic idea behind all CAT tools, let me consider the naive approach to translating documents.
You could, of course, open your source document in your source language on one side of your screen, then open a blank document on the other side. And you could start translating right away, reading the source on the left, writing your translations on the right.
But soon, you discover a few problems with this…
1) It is exhausting. You are switching between your source and target document, steadily looking with your eyes where you left the source before you went to the target to write your translations. This is also very much prone to leaving parts of the text untranslated because you simply lose yourself in the text.
2) You need to graphically format the target to make it look more or less similar to the source. While this might not be too much of an issue with simply formatted documents, it can soon turn into a nightmare when you translate a document full of images, tables, and difficult text formatting.
3) You find yourself translating identical or similar texts all over again and again. So when you translate the “Keep this manual for future reference.” phrase for a gazillion time already, you start asking yourself if this could perhaps be optimized in some way.
4) It’s exhausting too keep consistence in terminology. There might be so many terms in your document that you soon lose track of how you have actually translated that “safety interlock” on page 45 or “brake pads” on page 67.
And this is where the CAT tools come into the game. They can take care of all the problems mentioned above and they can even provide some more benefits on top of that.
A CAT tool is basically a simple database combined with a simple text editor. Consider the image below.
So what you can actually do with a CAT tool is to take your source document, upload it to your CAT, convert it to a translatable format… and simply start translating.
You will immediately recognize this very useful feature: Your text is nicely separated into individual segments (they look like cells and usually contain 1 whole sentence each… but it can also be just a meaningful block of text, not a sentence per se).
You can see that your source is on the left and you will write your translations on the right. This is the vertical arrangement. It’s perhaps the most common one, but some tools (e.g. Transit NXT) can also be arranged horizontally.
Notice that your active segment, i.e. the segment you are currently translating, is highlighted by color.
This is of a great advantage, as you don’t have to look with your eyes where you left your source text – it’s immediately apparent.
And now comes an even greater advantage…. the database feature!
Remember that “Keep this manual for future reference.” sentence you have already translated a thousand times before, from the introduction of this text?
Now get this: a CAT tool will store this sentence along with your translation into its database! In fact, it will store ALL the sentences you translate over your whole professional life! And you know what’s even better? Yes, you’ve guessed it right! It will remember them and offer you those stored translations from its database every time an identical or similar sentence comes up in your text you are currently working on.
This means you translate the “Keep this manual for future reference.” sentence just ONCE and FOR ALL. You will never have to translate it again, the software will insert the translation for you every time such sentence appears in your text again. Pretty cool, huh?
Such database of translations is often referred to as a “translation memory” or TM. You might also hear the term TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) – this is a translation memory XML export file that you can conveniently import into your own translation memory. This means you can take advantage of other people’s translation memories too.
This is yet another great feature of all CAT tools: you don’t need to worry about text formatting, tables or even images! CAT will take care of it for you. You just concentrate on translating the text, and the CAT will format it into different fonts, neat tables, and will even place all the images into their appropriate locations. So when you finalize your document, i.e. export it into its original format, it will look nearly identical to the source, except it will be in a different language.
What was that term I used to translate the “heat pipe” with? And what did I use for “safety interlock”? Damn! I can’t remember anymore… will have to go back in the text and look it up in what I have already translated. I am losing so much time!
Well, not anymore. Not with CAT tools. CAT tools can do this for you. You can just define a list of terms you would like to use during the translation process and your CAT tool (I mean a good tool) will offer a corresponding translation every time such term appears in your source text. Most tools will even highlight such term in the text! And you know what the best part is? You can even add such terms dynamically as you progress through you text. Your text just crawls with “safety joints” and “safety latches”? Just add them to your term list so that you can always translate them in the same way and so keep the consistency of your translations.
To finalize this very first part of this mini-series, let me explain how a source document (e.g. in MS Word) can be loaded into a CAT tool and then returned to its original form, except in another language.
1) You start by creating a project in your CAT tool and loading all your documents you would like to translate into it. You can also attach translation memory and a terminology list.
2) You translate your document
3) Once you are finished translating your document, you export it back to its original format by clicking the Export/Finalize option. And that’s it, that’s the lifecycle of a translated document.
Please watch this video summarizing this text:
Me pretending some work… I have been a professional technical translator since 2007, ... Read More
Learn how to use Bohemicus with Crowdin I am going to show you how you can very effectively use... Read More
What's new: improved machine-translation-marks remover, now removes also the AMT marks... Read More
If you are a translator, I am sure, you want to make more money. Just like everyone. But well,... Read More
You can use Bohemicus to keep track of your business records, and to issue invoices. Before you... Read More
This feature can be very helpful when you need to preview the content of a Trados package. For... Read More
You can very easily remove those light-blue AT or NMT marks in machine-translated... Read More
This has happened a couple of times to me: I just forgot to do a job! This usually happens to me... Read More
This post can especially be useful to users of older SDL Studio versions. If you are using newer... Read More
What's new Support for online CAT tools (SmartCat, Crowdin, XTM, Coach...) has been... Read More
The PDF format is truly ingenious - documents in the PDF format will appear exactly as... Read More
Before I explain the basic idea behind all CAT tools, let me consider the naive approach to... Read More
This post is only for those interested in hard-core deep-level computer programming. It was... Read More
Translating a webpage is a very easy task... if you know how to do it. Definition of a... Read More
Yes, this is indeed possible. I remember those times 13 years back when translating 5000... Read More
This is a short video on how you can configure the Across CAT tool (made by Across GmbH, Germany) ... Read More
These are a few tips I would give to every aspiring translator trying to start his/her career... Read More
(from the translator's perspective) This article is based on my 13 years of experience... Read More
The raison d'etre The Ctrl+Alt+Space shortcut was originally conceived to deal with the... Read More
The new version of Bohemicus is out! What's new: 1) added support for Memsource 2)... Read More
These are the 10 features of Bohemicus I use every day. You can watch this video to see... Read More
Unit conversion is something you will definitely encounter when working as a... Read More
What are they? As soon as you try to machine translate just about anything in any major... Read More
Definition of a clipboard manager For those who don't know what a clipboard manager is.... Read More
So, this is the core idea of Bohemicus: Let's create an interface between you and your CAT... Read More
This is the story of how I became a professional translator. The beginnings I certainly... Read More
So, I suppose, the original idea of a CAT tool was something like this: Let's create a... Read More
And why do some people seem to utterly hate it ...without even trying it out? Am I getting... Read More
I have never really understood this concept. So, an agency requires you to do a translation... Read More
Why is file extension rename useful? You can very easily rename a file extension. This... Read More
You can very easily and conveniently send large files up to 100 MB through the Bohemicus... Read More
What are hotkeys? Hotkeys are the heart of Bohemicus. They are simply combinations of... Read More
If you want to use the speech-to-text feature, you can connect your Android phone/tablet also... Read More
What is it good for? You can very quickly and easily open your pre-defined folders just by... Read More
Setting it up Machine translation is very easy in Bohemicus. First, you need to set it up -... Read More
You can very easily and conveniently launch the Windows Snipping Tool to make screenshots by... Read More
What are hints in hintboxes Every time you press the Ctrl key, a couple of semi-transparent... Read More
Activating Bohemicus is easy. You will need your activation code that you received upon your... Read More
Prerequisities 1. In order to receive a Google API translation key, you will need a Google... Read More
You should set up Bohemicus before you run it for the first time. Set up the machine... Read More
If you want to work with online CAT tools, such as SmartCat, XTM, Crowdin, Coach, etc..., just... Read More
Converting metric/imperial units is very easy with Bohemicus. You can set up 3 hotkeys to... Read More
Now, let's see how to connect your Android phone to your Windows and then to Bohemicus. If... Read More
Why you should use Bluetooth Bluetooth is the preferred way of connecting Bohemicus both in... Read More
In Bohemicus, you can very easily transfer files and folders between 2 or more local computers... Read More
Why do translators and writers take notes Note taking is an important task for all... Read More
How to work with translation memories in Bohemicus Use your own translation memories...... Read More
What is it good for? You can use this function to e. g. distinguish various folders from... Read More
What are they good for? Non-breakable spaces are an important text element in case you want... Read More
We have all been there: you need to google someting, so normally you would just select your... Read More
Quotation marks can be a hassle Different languages use different quotation marks. The... Read More
Make more money as a translator If you are a translator, I am sure, you want to make more... Read More
Bohemicus offers a bunch of text editing features that can be really handy. It is... Read More
Speech recognition, or speech-to-text functionality, or just voice dictation, is... Read More
You can use Bohemicus to interactively search in online dictionaries. How it... Read More
While working with Bohemicus, you can plug-in 2 local offline dictionaries. This can be very... Read More
Voice dictation (speech-to-text functionality) is an extremely important feature of Bohemicus. Why... Read More
Attention: Bohemicus is now available on a montly subscription basis of EUR 9.99! Learn... Read More
Machine translation can greatly increase your translation speed, there's no doubt about it.... Read More
What is a clipboard manager? As you probably know there is this very useful feature in Windows: the... Read More
Here is a video presentation of the Bohemicus Imperial/metric unit conversin... Read More