At the beginning the question for a hundred points? What does the process of translating a text or document look like in practice?

The vision of a person translating word by word, sentence by sentence, is probably what many of us visualise. Before I found out how the work of a translator and the specifics of his/her cooperation with a translation agency looks like, this is how I imagined it. However, nothing could be further from the truth. A person responsible for translating a text cannot rely only on themselves. Life should be made easier and it would be a shame not to take advantage of the opportunities offered by technology.

CAT tools

A mathematician has at his/her disposal tables with formulas, a Polonist has a dictionary of correct Polish, and a translator has various CAT tools: SLD Trados Studio, Wordfast, OmegaT, MemoQ. The above-mentioned are only a few representatives of a large family. Sounds like magic? Not for long.

CAT means computer-aided translation. These tools, as the name suggests, were created to optimise work, but in no case do the work for the translator. Also, their quality level cannot be compared to the results of online Google-type translators.

These programs work on the basis of repetition of words, phrases and sentences. This is all through using memory, or TM (Translation Memory). If you have saved data from previously translated files, you can save valuable time and be pleasantly surprised by finishing the translation much faster. This is due to the assignment of overlapping current segments with those in the memory.

However, it is important to remember that it is still only a tool in our hands, which brings with it the need to verify the selected vocabulary, to find more accurate equivalents when we have the opportunity, and to translate the missing pieces of our puzzle.

It is also worth noting that these programs were not created for literary translation, so it is better not to count on magic and do not to test the results of a Harry Potter translation performed by any of the CAT tools. Let’s leave texts characterised by literary language as a challenge for professional translators.

SLD Trados Studio

It would take many pages to go through all the programs classified as CAT tools, so we will focus on one of the most popular programs – SDL Trados Studio.

The advantage of this program is the number of supported formats such as TTX, ITD, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, Excel, HTML, SGML, XML or some versions of PowerPoint and MFI.

Enough theory … now a short practical tutorial, which is only an outline of the various stages.

To begin, we must have something to work with; for this purpose we open a document, which is the object of our interest, in the program.

Having our file, we mark the current language and the one into which we plan to translate.

At this step, in case it is not our first attempt and we have a memory saved, we can use it. Otherwise, there is nothing to worry about. We can easily make it by clicking ‘Create’ in order to create a local memory or save it to the server. This step requires us to fill in data such as the name, description, and language. If this step is ready, you can finish. Then, after transferring to the document, by pressing ok, we resume the continuation of the work.

After following the previous instructions, you should see a field with the text to be translated on the left, and a field for translation on the right. The content of the document is displayed in the form of divided segments which, after being translated, require approval.

It is sufficient to save the finished translation. You can choose between the SLD Trados system format or any other format available in the menu.

At first glance, SLD Trados might raise some doubts. However, a thorough reading of the manuals or precise posts will help us easily understand the mechanism of the program. The number of sources we can find on the Internet itself is definitely enough to start the adventure with aided translation.

(translation M.Z.)

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