5 Myths About Computer-Aided Translation (CAT) Software

Author: Nadia Hlebowitsh (Spanish & English Literary Translator)

88% of translators use CAT tools, according to a 2013 study by ProZ. As digital tools continue to transform the way we work, we can predict this number will soon approach 100%. So, why aren’t you using them?

After all, CAT tools are designed to make translating easier. Remember that CAT - Computer Assisted Translation - isn’t the same as Machine Translation. The idea behind CAT tools is to save your key translation knowledge, including tricky terms, so that you have it at the tip of your fingertips.

Unlike Machine Translation, CAT tools don’t automatically translate your text. They depend entirely on what you know and what you’ve translated in order to suggest terms and matches. In other words, it’s up to you to build a CAT tool with your know-how and preferences.

Let’s go over some of the most common myths about CAT tools and how Termsoup’s features directly address these concerns. Using a CAT tool like Termsoup can improve your translator experience by a long shot - but don’t take our word for it! Below you’ll find the top Termsoup features explained.


Myth #1: Creating a personal glossary in a CAT tool takes too long to actually see results.

Of course CAT tools require some level of set-up. However, Termsoup streamlines this process with its key features. You’ll find that building your glossary doesn’t require a heavy time investment.

  • Feature: One-click to add a term to your glossary. As you translate on the Termsoup platform, you can add a key term to your glossary with just one click. You won’t have to fill out a long form. Termsoup’s glossary card should take five seconds or less to complete!

  • Feature: Auto-suggestion of glossary terms in future translations. Add key terms and you’ll find that Termsoup will suggest your saved translations. When you’re completing a translation, this is a quick-and-easy way to keep the translation consistent without toggling back and forth between a dictionary or your personal Excel file. No more getting lost in huge Excel files to find the just-right translation!

  • Feature: Import your own personal Excel file of terms. If you’ve made your own personal glossary in a Word or Excel document, you can upload your terms to Termsoup. All you have to do is organize your document into the right format and then upload. Easy-peasy!


Myth #2: CAT tools bog down the translation process. I’m faster without them!

Some translators believe that they work faster without a CAT tool. With Termsoup, you’ll find that the process is even more streamlined than using a Word doc. It’s seriously easy.

  • Feature: Smart keyboard shortcuts. You can move faster than ever in Termsoup by using keyboard shortcuts. For example, by pressing the Tab key, you can go to the next sentence without having to click in the box area.

  • Feature: Highlight term for integrated query results. Most translators refer to their favorite dictionary tools, such as Linguee or Oxford English Dictionary. Every time you highlight a term, you’ll see query results for your favorite tools on the left-hand side. You can customize which tools you want, too!

Want the full dictionary results as well? All you have to do is right-click and you’ll see your saved tools. Click on the tool you want and a separate window will open with the full search results. This makes your translation work go even faster!

  • Feature: Machine translation reference, just in case. Termsoup also lets you see machine translation results in case you want to get a sense of the bigger picture. You can see this integrated result on a separate tab next to your Query Result.


Myth #3: CAT tools aren’t useful for creative texts like mine that rarely repeat terms.

CAT tools are useful when you have repeated terms. But Termsoup is built for translation beyond a simple term suggestion. For longer creative texts, Termsoup helps you recreate the natural flow of the text with both translation memory and other features.

  • Feature: Translation memory: Termsoup pulls from your glossary and past work to suggest terms in certain situations. When you’re working on a longer creative text, you’d be surprised by how many terms repeat - even non-technical ones! For example, you can import the “translation memory” for a text to catch the small details and work on the translation from there.

  • Feature: Paragraph-based mode for flow. One of Termsoup’s best features is the fact that it has both sentence and paragraph modes. Most CAT tools only offer sentence mode, so you have to work in a micro-environment. However, Termsoup lets you see the greater text flow by toggling to “Paragraph mode” as well.

This can make a huge difference for a longer creative text. The layout for this view is similar to Word and also maintains the format. See the example above for how both text and image stay in an easy-to-translate layout. (After you finish the translation, you can import it back into a Word document without losing formatting, too!)


Myth #4: CAT tool platforms don’t have the necessary features that I’m used to.

Maybe not every CAT tool has the features you need. Luckily, Termsoup offers features that are commonly found in Google docs and other top tools.

  • Feature: Edit history for recovery. Termsoup saves every change you make to your translation. So, if you need to recover any version, you can click back! This couldn’t be any easier.

  • Feature: Leave comments for yourself or collaborators. Just like a Google doc or Word doc, you can leave comments in the translation to return to a sentence or consider several translation options. If you work with others, you can even use comments to exchange ideas!


Myth #5: CAT tools are great to build personal glossaries, but they’re no good for collaboration.

Translators who collaborate with coworkers or clients might also be wary of using a CAT tool with different features. However, Termsoup is an A+ option for collaboration. Basically, it shares the functionality of a Google doc with translation-specific sharing options.

  • Feature: Collaborate in real-time. You can collaborate on the same document at the same time. You don’t even need an email. Termsoup makes it easy to revise and make comments.

  • Feature: Share glossary with coworkers and colleagues. Collaboration goes one step further on Termsoup. You can share glossaries within projects, so that if your coworker has a technical glossary that’s helpful, he/she can share it with you and the translation will suggest these terms for you. This is excellent to keep translations consistent.

As you can see, the myths behind CAT tools are mostly just that - myth. CAT tools can completely change the way you work for the better. Termsoup can truly streamline your translation process without forfeiting quality.

Don’t get left behind by the 88% of translators using CAT tools. Sign up for a trial of Termsoup ASAP!

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