The Difference Between Machine Translation and Translation with CAT Tools

                      Trados studio example

While Machine Translation and CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) both use software to help create a finely translated product, but both serve different purposes.

Machine Translation is an extremely rapid form of translation. Those who purchase machine translation are attempting to receive a useable translation in the smallest amount of time. Documents that are translated via machine translation are run through a software that automatically translates it in its entirety. Due to the limitations of machine translation at this current time, a document will certainly not be useable after this step. There will be grammar and syntax errors throughout, though the gist of the article can certainly be discovered at this time. To correct these errors, machine translated documents need to go through a process called “Post-Editing”. Post-editing involves a linguist reviewing the document and correcting these errors so that the text is completely legible. Since the document was translated via software and the linguist is only reviewing for grammar and syntax (not content), this method will not provide a 100% accurate translate. Machine translation is therefore more useful when attempting to discover the overall message of a document, but it is not a good method for those who need a critically accurate translation.

Translation with CAT Tools (Example: Trados Studio) is a very different method. CAT tools require a legitimate, knowledgeable linguist to operate them. This type of translation is a complete translation. The final product can be used whenever critically accurate translations are required. CAT Tools assist the translator by providing translations for those phrases and sentences that the linguist has previously translated. The translator still reviews every string of text in the document. This method allows the linguist to work and a faster pace while still maintaining the utmost accuracy throughout the document.

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