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What Are CAT Tools? 6 Features Every Translator Needs

This article explores CAT tools in detail and highlights six critical features that every translator should consider when choosing the right tool for their needs. 

In the rapidly evolving field of translation, computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are indispensable for professional translators. These software applications help streamline and enhance the translation process, improving efficiency and ensuring consistency. 

However, with a wide range of CAT tools available on the market, it might be challenging to pick the right one. Translators should do their research and pinpoint the essential features that their CAT tool must have to significantly enhance their productivity. This article explores CAT tools in detail and highlights six critical features that every translator should consider when choosing the right tool for their needs. 

What are CAT tools? 

Computer-assisted translation tools are software applications specifically designed to assist professional translators in their work. These tools provide a range of features and functionalities that streamline and enhance the translation process. 

CAT tools typically incorporate a translation memory (TM) to store and reuse previously translated segments, improving efficiency and consistency. They also offer various style guide and collaboration features, as well as support for various file formats. 

By leveraging these tools, translators can work more effectively, save time, ensure accuracy, and promptly deliver high-quality translations. As a result, CAT tools have become indispensable in translation, revolutionizing how translators approach their work.

6 essential CAT tools features that every translator needs

Translation memory 

One of the fundamental features of CAT tools is translation memory (TM). TM stores previously translated segments, allowing translators to reuse them in future projects. This not only saves time but also promotes consistency in terminology across different translations. 

A good CAT tool should have a robust TM database that is easily searchable and editable, enabling translators to locate and modify previous translations quickly. This feature is particularly beneficial for translators working on large projects or those who frequently translate content in the same domain.


The termbase, alternatively referred to as a translation glossary, serves as a repository of definitions or specific guidelines for using pre-aproved, translated terms. They are similar to dictionaries employed with translation memories, allowing translators to search for significant terms for the organization they are translating for.

Termbases play a crucial role in upholding translation precision across various projects when utilizing a CAT tool by facilitating the consistent application of shared or specialized terminology pertinent to your project. They can ensure accuracy throughout your translations and contribute to maintaining linguistic consistency within your business context.

Style guide

Translation style guides encompass a collection of directives that serve as a handbook for faithfully translating your content into each target language while preserving its inherent meaning and purpose. Style guides are valuable in guaranteeing consistent communication of your brand’s distinct characteristics across different languages, cultures, and markets.

By outlining specific guidelines, a CAT tool with a translation style guide assists in upholding brand consistency throughout different languages. It ensures the precise translation of content while retaining its original essence, helping to maintain a cohesive brand identity across linguistic boundaries.

Collaboration and project management features

CAT tools with collaboration and project management features enable translators to work seamlessly with clients, project managers, and other translators. These tools often include real-time collaboration, version control, and task assignment. 

As a result, translators can easily share files, communicate with team members, and track project progress. In addition, effective collaboration and project management capabilities ensure efficient workflow, minimize errors, and promote effective communication between all stakeholders involved in the translation process.

File format support

Translators often work with various file formats, from standard text documents to complex design files. This is why a CAT tool should support multiple file formats, including Microsoft Office documents, PDFs, HTML, XML, and more. 

This ensures that translators can seamlessly import and export files without the need for manual formatting, preserving the original layout and structure. A CAT tool with comprehensive file format support simplifies the translation process and saves translators valuable time, enabling them to focus on the linguistic aspects rather than technical issues.

Linguistic QA capabilities

Translation quality assurance (QA), similar to the spellcheck and grammar check tools found in most text editing software, safeguards against errors infiltrating your translation endeavors while using the tool. These QA features can detect missing text or tags, deviations from authorized terminologies, numeric inconsistencies, and more.

The QA process can start before submitting a project for translation, persist throughout the translation and editing stages, and culminate in final checks even after completing the ultimate translation version.

By employing a CAT tool powered with linguistic quality assurance, you can foster confidence that your translated content is clear of errors and maintains the utmost quality on every occasion. 

A Proper CAT Tool Is a Translator’s Best Friend

CAT tools have revolutionized the translation industry by providing translators with powerful features that enhance their efficiency and quality of work. Translation memory, termbases, style guides, collaboration and project management, file format support, and quality assurance are essential features that every translator should consider when selecting a CAT tool. By leveraging these features, translators can streamline their workflow, maintain consistency, improve accuracy, and deliver high-quality, timely translations.

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Sahil Pawar
Sahil Pawar
I am a graduate with a bachelor's degree in statistics, mathematics, and physics. I have been working as a content writer for almost 3 years and have written for a plethora of domains. Besides, I have a vested interest in fashion and music.


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