Initially, people may assume that the terms “Machine Translation” and “Computer-Assisted Translation” refer to the same process, but that cannot be further from the truth. In our previous articles, we described bought processes in detail. Let’s take a look at the short definitions of MT and CAT tools:
Machine Translation (MT) is a software tool that does all the translating tasks automatically, without human input. For example: , Google Translate, Yandex Translate, Bing Translator are translation machines that millions of people are using.
Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) is a software designed for translators to use throughout their translating process, including translating, as well as reviewing, and proofreading. The CAT tools help translators improve the quality and productivity of their translations and cannot take over a translators’ job.
Both, MT and CAT tools have its own advantages and disadvantages.
Translating any document requires only pasting the text into a translation machine and waiting a few seconds for the translation. Instant results are no doubt the greatest benefit of using machine translation.
CAT Tools help translators work much faster and more consistently. The CAT Tools’ Translation Memory and Term base display previous translations of similar texts and allow translators to compare the source and target version at the same time.
The lack of accuracy is the biggest disadvantage of machine translation. These translations usually require post-editing by a human, to guarantee good quality.
The translation quality depends mostly on the translators. CAT tools only assist translators and enhance the accuracy of translations.
There are a great number of free machine translation programs such as Google Translate, Linguee, iTranslate, etc. that give an instant translation. Depending on the workload and complexity of the texts, there are also paid versions of these tools. The price is quite lower than that of using CAT Tools or hiring translators.
CAT Tools are not available for free, since they require regular updating, bug fixes and expansions, to keep up with the ever growing demand for new features and possibilities.
Machine translation should only be used for understanding the essence of a text and never for any important or work-related tasks.
For the best possible results, all formal documents, both internal and external should be translated by human translators with the help of CAT Tools.
How can the optimal result be reached? – The answer is, by integrating Machine Translation into CAT Tools.
MT is often integrated into computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, and used by businesses involved in international projects. For example, international businesses intending to localize their web pages may rely on MT software to translate large amounts of text.
CAT tools do allow automatic translation integration, but they work in a slightly different way. Translators receive MT suggestions along with Translation memory (TM) matches, term base matches, online resources and glossaries. Most CAT tools allow installing a plugin from one of the main MT service providers or a connection to a proprietary engine.
A growing trend in recent times seems to be that more and more CAT software releases claim to employ advanced MT technologies, in search of a more convenient way to improve the translation workflow.
Both translation methods serve a purpose and ultimately translate the initial text, one sacrifices accuracy for automation and the other – speed for quality.