Translator Tech: The Top CAT Tools on the Market Today

Translator Tech: The Top CAT Tools on the Market Today

As localization and translation technology has advanced and improved over the past decade, the number of computer assisted translation (CAT) tools available for translators to use has increased significantly. The variety can be a little overwhelming for a new translator just entering the market and setting up a freelance translation business.

Some of the main CAT tools available today:

Across LogiTerm Pro MetaTexis Swordfish
Atril Déjà Vu MadCap Lingo MultiTrans Prism Transit NXT Professional+
CafeTran Espresso MateCat OmegaT WordBee
Fluency memoQ SDL Trados Studio Wordfast
Heartsome Translation Studio Memsource Cloud Smartling XTM Cloud

Some of these tools are open-source tools (meaning there is no download or license cost) and others are available based on a fixed purchase cost or subscription basis. Some are designed by specific language service providers and are generally used only by translators working on projects for that company.

Some of the more popular paid CAT tools and the (approximate) charge (from this site here):

CAT Tool Name License Cost
SDL Trados Studio 2014 Professional $2,895.00
SDL Trados Studio 2014 Freelance $825.00
Kilgray MemoQ Translator Pro $770.00
WordFast $530.00
Atril Déjà Vu $520.00
Swordfish $345.00
Memsource $140.00 per month

For some translators, especially those just starting out or those who have worked in the industry for many years without using CAT tools, it can be difficult to justify the expense of purchasing a CAT tool. However, using CAT tools is essential in today’s translation industry, since the programs include valuable features such as glossary and reference material integration, streamlined side-by-side translation viewing panes, and of course, translation memory management (which can save both time and expense as well as promote more consistent and accurate translations.) In some cases, translation companies will offer a free or discounted license to their CAT tool of choice to the translators they contract for their projects—but it is still essential to own and be comfortable working in one or more programs in order to stay relevant in the increasingly competitive translation industry.

For more information, ProZ.com provides a helpful software review and comparison tool for freelancers curious about their options.

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