GALA members and other language services companies (LSC) rely heavily on software to streamline their work and improve productivity. Translation, in particular, can be a repetitive task that can benefit from automation. Below is a small list of commonly used technologies in the global language industry.
Computer-aided translation (CAT) is the use of software to assist a human translator in the translation process. The translation is created by the human translator while certain aspects of the translation process are facilitated by software, also known as CAT tools.
CAT tools is a broad term and typically includes any and all programs that facilitate the actual translation process. Most CAT tools include the following:
- ability to translate a variety of source file formats in a single editing environment without the translator needing to use the file format's associated software,
- translation memory (TM), and
- various utilities or processes that are integrated into the software and increase translator productivity and consistency.
Machine Translation (MT) or automated translation refers to the process when computer software translates a text from the source language into the target language without human intervention.
There are three types of machine translation methods, described here in simple terms:
- Rules-based machine translation uses grammar and language rules that have been developed by language experts, as well as customized dictionaries
- Statistical machine translation learns how to translate by analyzing a large number of existing human translations
- Neural machine translation teaches itself how to translate by using a large neural network. This method is becoming increasingly popular as it often provides the best results.
A translation memory (TM) is a database that stores sentences, paragraphs, or segments of previously translated text. Each entry, or segment, in the translation memory includes the source language and its corresponding target language entry. These pairs are called translation units, or "TUs".
Translation memories are used with translation software or CAT tools and automatically suggest either stored identical or similar matches as new documents are being translated. This means that sentences, paragraphs or segments that have previously been translated don't need to be translated again.