What is Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT)?

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Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) has revolutionized the field of translation by harnessing the power of technology to assist human translators in their work. This innovative approach combines specialized software with human expertise to improve the efficiency, accuracy, and consistency of translations. In this comprehensive article, we will delve into the intricacies of CAT, exploring its benefits, applications, and future prospects.

Understanding CAT

CAT refers to the use of computer software to aid human translators during the translation process. These specialized tools leverage a range of advanced features to facilitate translation, including:

  • Translation Memory (TM): A database that stores previously translated segments of text. When a new source text is received, the CAT tool matches it against the TM, identifying any segments that have already been translated.
  • Term Bases: Bilingual glossaries that contain specialized terminology and industry-specific phrases, ensuring consistency across translations.
  • Machine Translation (MT): An automated system that provides an initial draft translation, which can then be post-edited by a human translator.

Benefits of CAT

The adoption of CAT has brought about numerous benefits for translators and clients alike:

  • Increased Productivity: CAT tools automate repetitive tasks, such as searching for previous translations and maintaining terminology consistency, freeing up translators to focus on the more complex aspects of translation.
  • Improved Accuracy: The use of translation memories helps to eliminate errors and ensure accuracy, as translators can reuse previously verified translations.
  • Enhanced Consistency: Term bases and TM ensure that similar terms are translated consistently throughout the entire document, preserving the integrity of the original text.
  • Reduced Costs: By automating certain tasks and reducing the time required for translation, CAT can significantly reduce translation costs for clients.

Applications of CAT

CAT tools are widely used across a diverse range of industries and translation scenarios:

  • Technical Translation: For scientific, medical, and IT documentation, CAT tools are essential for maintaining accuracy and consistency in complex technical terminology.
  • Legal Translation: In the legal realm, CAT tools ensure the precise and consistent translation of contracts, legal agreements, and court documents.
  • Marketing and Advertising Translation: For marketing and advertising materials, CAT tools help to convey the message in the target language while preserving the original intent and tone.
  • Website and Localization: CAT tools facilitate the translation and localization of websites and software, ensuring accessibility to a global audience.

Future Prospects of CAT

The field of CAT is constantly evolving, driven by advancements in technology and artificial intelligence (AI):

  • Neural Machine Translation (NMT): A more sophisticated form of MT that produces more accurate and human-like translations.
  • Cognitive Translation: Systems that leverage AI to understand the context and intent of the source text, enabling more nuanced and accurate translations.
  • Cloud-Based CAT Tools: SaaS (Software as a Service) offerings that provide access to CAT tools over the internet, allowing for remote collaboration and real-time updates.


Computer-Assisted Translation has become an indispensable tool in the modern translation industry, enabling translators to work more efficiently, accurately, and consistently. By harnessing the power of technology, CAT tools have revolutionized the way we translate, reducing costs, improving quality, and facilitating communication across linguistic barriers. As technology continues to advance, the future of CAT promises even greater innovation and transformative capabilities.

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