Every translator worth their salt has a whole box crammed full of tools that they’d be pretty stuck without.
Whilst the uninitiated might think that translation is as simple as opening a Word document and swapping one language for another, there are actually quite a few tools involved in keeping a translator’s show on the road.
Every translator has their preferences of specific applications and programs, so here I’ll just explain the basic groups of tools that most translators use with a few examples for each one, so you can get an idea of what a translator’s desktop looks like.
- Project management tools
Project management tools are very important for helping freelancers keep multiple balls in the air. Chances are that at any one time a freelance translator will have several translation projects on the go, all with different deadlines, requirements, invoicing procedures and payment terms.
Purpose-designed project management tools, if used properly, can make a translator’s life an awful lot easier, and make sure all deadlines are kept to and all invoices are paid.
I personally use Quahill to help me keep all my ducks in a row.
- Translation tools
CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools are the key weapon in any professional translator’s arsenal.
They divide texts up into segments to make translation easier, and you can easily navigate through the text to locate certain segments. These tools save translation of segments into translation memories (TM), so they can be used later in the same text, or for another text, great for time saving and consistency.
They can be a little tricky to get your head around to begin with, but once you get the hang of using them they make the translation process far quicker and more accurate.
The most popular desktop translation tools out there are probably SDL Studio and memoQ, but online CAT tools are also growing in popularity, with many agencies relying on tools like Memsource Cloud to send jobs out to freelance translators.
- Quality assurance tools
A Quality Assurance (QA) tool helps you pick up on any errors that you might have missed in a translation before you send it off to your client. They’re great for picking up on any inconsistencies in key term use, numbers or spelling mistakes that might have slipped through the translation tool’s filters.
It’s important to have a tool to help with this as, when you’ve come to the end of a long translation project, you’ll have been looking it at for so long you just stop seeing it, and basic errors just don’t register anymore. Think of a QA tool as a fresh pair of eagle eyes to prevent any silly mistakes from slipping through the net.
Popular QA tools amongst translators and translation agencies include Xbench and Verifika.
Grammarly is one I’d recommend to any professional in pretty much any industry, as accuracy always matters. There’s a Google Chrome extension you can download which picks up mistakes in online texts and emails which you might otherwise have easily missed.
Last but not least, I’d be lost without Google Keep to store my reference files and research results, and generally, keep me organised and my business running smoothly.
Have you ever wondered so much was involved in the translation proccess? Do you ever wonder what happens to your content after you hand it off to a translator? Find out in this article.