Computer Aided Translation CAT tools, SDL Trados Studio

What is Computer Aided Translation (CAT) & Why It Is Important?

Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software, like Trados or Transit, are systems based on a translation memory (TM).

Their role is to optimize the translation process resulting in reduced translation time, and less work for the translator.


Computer Aided Translation software analyses the text, dividing it into units called segments, according to pre-defined rules. Each segment usually represents a separate sentence or paragraph.

In the course of translation the system stores each translated segment in the translation memory in matched pairs: the source text and its translation.


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Text analysis shows how much text actually needs to be translated prior to starting the actual translation. During analysis, the text is divided into segments, which are then compared with both each other and segments stored in the translation memory. There are four main types of segments:

100% matches
No matches

No matches represent segments, which do not have a translation in the translation memory. Fuzzies represent segments similar to previously translated segments stored in the translation memory. 100% matches represent segments identical to previously translated segments already stored in the translation memory. Repetitions represent fragments which re-appear throughout the analyzed text. If a document contains five new but identical sentences for example, the analysis will show one no-match segment and four repetition segments.

Repetitions are recognized as 100% matches, because after the first instance of a sentence being translated, when it re-appears in the text, its translation is already saved in the translation memory. As a result, subsequent instances are automatically translated with the use of the translation from the first instance, which has been previously stored-up in the translation memory.

TRANSLATING WITH THE USE OF Computer Aided Translation Software

Throughout the course of the translation, the system checks if the same or similar segment has already been translated and saved in the translation memory.

If identical or similar segment co-exist in the translation memory, the software will automatically prompt the translator with the translation. Also, it provides information whether the stored segment is: identical (100% match) with, or similar (fuzzy match) to the segment being translated.


The greatest benefits from using Computer Aided Translation tools are gained during the translation of documents, which:

  • contain many recurring fragments of text,
  • are an update of previously translated documentation,
  • contain much identical information.

In both cases, a considerable percentage of the translation is derived from the translation memory. This means that the text can be translated very quickly (the system recognizes and translates them automatically) with minimum input by the translator, whose main task is to ensure the prompted translation fits the given segment.

Slavis has chosen: SDL Trados 2014 and Star Transit XV

The principle of operation of Computer-Assisted Translation tools (in short – CAT tools) is similar: during translation the system compares the current segment with already translated segments, the efficiency of this mechanism being similar across many current CAT tools. What are the differences then? These include:

  • range of additional features,
  • supported file formats,
  • convenience of use.

Additional features

The current versions of SDL Trados 2011 and Star Transit XV are really advanced tools. Apart from mechanisms assisting the translation process they offer many additional features. The most important of them relate to: management of the translated segments base (Translation Memory), terminology base, and status of segments currently being translated at the moment. Vital is also the possibility of precise definition of the method and conditions under which translation bases are to assist the translation process, allowing the user to precisely adjust the CAT tool in use to match current needs.

Supported formats

SDL Trados 2007 / SDL Trados 2011 and Star Transit XV have also been chosen by Slavis due to their supported formats: Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint office documents, and DTP formats for BroadVision QuickSilver (Interleaf), QuarkXpress, and Adobe PageMaker, InDesign, and FrameMaker. Both CAT tools also effectively cover XML and HTML formats.

Usage convenience

The most up-to-date SDL Trados 2011, as well as Star Transit XV versions are powerful tools for complex management of translation projects. They assist the translation process, managing translation (Translation Memory) and terminology bases, and information related to translation status. They also store data about clients, translated documents and translation suppliers. Both CAT tools provide translation-related statistics. Access to all information is easy and convenient, as is execution of any actions with regard to translation process and management of translated projects. For these reasons Slavis has chosen two CAT tools to attend to all projects: SDL Trados 2011 and Star Transit XV.


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