On this page you’ll find some information about CAT tools, Dragon Naturally Speaking and machine translation (MT).


cat-697113_1280Many translators use CAT (Computer-Aided or -Assisted Translation) tools and some agencies and end clients not only require you to use one, but also specify which one as well.

For many years I used Wordfast Classic (there are other Wordfast versions available), whose TMs (Translation Memories) are compatible with Trados, which, judging by what you read in forums and job adverts, is the market leader. It’s also not cheap.

I switched to using memoQ in the summer of 2017 because I was having problems with Wordfast and have met many memoQ users who rave about its features and functionalities. It is also becoming increasingly popular with both freelancers and agencies. Kilgray offer free memoQ webinars to help you get to grips with the tool.

Other CATs are OmegaT, which is free, and Déjà Vu. There are also cloud-based CATs, such as MateCatLilt, Memsource and SmartCAT. The latter has provided a series of videos to help translators get to grips with the tool.

Please see the Software Comparison Tool on for a more complete list of CATs with details of their features, ratings and reviews.

You might find it useful to read the following posts on CATs: Percy Balemans’ article ‘The usefulness of CAT tools’; Claire Cox’s comparison of ‘Wordfast Classic and Trados Studio 2014′; Emma Goldsmith’s comparisons of SDL Trados Studio and Déjà Vu, and SDL Trados Studio and memoQ. Emma regularly writes about CAT tools, so please check her blog for more articles of interest.

Francesco Pugliano has also compared CAT tools in easy-to-understand tables. Lastly, Simon Akhrameev has reviewed the free online MateCat tool.

Rafa Lombardino has also produced some short videos that explain how CAT tools work.

For more articles on CAT tools, please see the section on them on the Interesting Articles for Translators & Interpreters page.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

Typing all day can be a hard slog, and it’s not very good for your posture and can lead to RSI (Repetitive Strain Injury, which I’ve suffered from on occasion, and it’s not pleasant). DNS will type everything you say allowing you to stand up, walk around and have a bit of a rest. Users also say it speeds up the translation process and can even improve style and flow.

You can read more about this tool in Claire Cox’s blog post ‘Taming the Dragon’ and Kevin Hendzel’s post ‘Professional-Quality Translation at Light Speed’. My post ‘Bite-sized Tips No. 20: Watch out for the Dragon’ highlights some of the points we need to include in our revision process after dictating our work.

Machine Translation

Please click on the above link for more details about machine translation (MT). You’ll find a short list of some MT apps on the Translation-related Tools & Links page (section 4 of Useful Links). Please note that most confidentiality agreements will prohibit the use of online translation tools.

Links are generally listed in alphabetical order in the sections and they are provided for information purposes only. Under no circumstances should they be understood as a personal recommendation.

The Links, Tips & Resources pages are constantly being improved, expanded and updated, so please come back another time. If you have any comments or recommendations, please contact me.

Image by Jacqueline Schmid from Pixabay

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