CAT Software: SDL TRADOS

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With the advent of technology, translators don’t have to fully rely on their intellect and skills anymore. The rich pool of resources on the internet has given birth to the helping hand of translators: the computer-assisted translation software – this enables the translator to speedily and precisely convert information into a multitude of languages. Are you surprised to know that it translates both written and verbal texts? Initially, translators used this software to learn and take note of technical words and phrases but over time, it also allowed them to support uniformity in their documents.


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How do CAT-tools work?

The software breaks down the source document into segments for translation. It also memorizes the translated segments for the translator’s future use and reference. When asked about CAT software, most people would probably say that Google Translate is a good example, however, Google Translate is NOT a CAT software. Although it claims to offer 109 languages, cater to over 500 million users, and translate 100 billion words on a daily basis, it’s definitely not as accurate as human/professional translation. It can produce mistranslations and grammatical errors hence, it’s often not used for business by professional translators who want to deliver quality documents to their clients (and only used as a resource).

If you’re a novice to translations, or a professional looking for a new program, or a person simply curious about translation, you have come to the right place because this is the first post for the interesting series called – CAT: Computer Assisted Translation. Not only will you learn about the different CAT software programs on the internet, the series will also discuss how they function and why they are worth your money. By keeping tuned to this series, you will be able to know what CAT software works for you and what your other options are. Let’s begin with a market-leading tool developed in Germany with more than 270,000 users across the world – SDL Trados.


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How does SDL Trados work?

SDL Trados provides language translation solutions to a wide market from freelance translators to corporate language departments and education institutions. It started in 1984 and now has more than 250,000 product licenses with the ability to translate billions of words through their cutting-edge machine translation engine. SDL Trados has five core technologies:

  1. Translation memory – it can store your most frequently translated sentences for future use. Handy, isn’t it?
  2. Machine translation – a quick solution for consistent translation with precise technical terms, almost a self-taught feature that takes in large amounts of data. 
  3. Technical management – a list of terms that are organized according to the rules of their usage. You won’t have to worry about confusing and competing terms, how convenient?
  4. Software localization – enables you to overcome cultural barriers to cater to a large audience, it adapts your documents to the background of your target market.
  5. Translation management – an automated process of translation that minimizes the time-consuming manual tasks while giving room for the translator’s judgment and greater efficiency.

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How do I use SDL Trados?

Overall, the SDL Trados is a CAT tool for beginners and professional translators alike who want to increase productivity. Now that you know about what the SDL Trados offers, you might want to try it out, so, how can you access this CAT tool on your computer? Unfortunately, it isn’t officially supported on an Apple Mac device but it works well on Microsoft Windows. If you want to access it on your Mac computer, you can do so through Apple’s Boot Camp utility which will allow you to use Microsoft applications. Another option is that you can install virtual machine applications such as Parallels and VMware that will enable you to use two operating systems at the same time.

How much does SDL Trados cost?

SDL Trados has a 30-day free trial program but if you want to use it on a long-term basis we suggest checking their website for the current prices: https://www.sdltrados.com.

Is SDL Trados worth it?

According to reviews from Trustradius.com, SDL Trados Studio is suitable for medium-large size translation agencies and self-employed translators. And from Capterra.com, the overall rating from users is 4.4 out of 5 with some suggestions for improvements, especially on pricing and ease of use. In other reviews, users have shared that there were struggles in some areas such as fonts, freeze screens, and bugs. On the other hand, other users were able to appreciate its features in translating and reviewing documents and its powerful capabilities in both big and small projects that helped them produce more quality output with a little less work than usual.

So, now that you have been introduced to the SDL Trados, what do you think about it so far? Leave us a comment below and share your insight about this CAT tool. If you are a user of SDL Trados, feel free to tell us your experience with it and suggestions you might have for potential customers. In the next blog posts, we will discuss four other CAT tools for translators who are looking into getting the extra help. Stay tuned!

DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information about CAT software provided above by the Dutch Translation Agency is for information dissemination purposes only. Our agency is not, in any way, affiliated with the provider of this software. This blog’s sole purpose is to shed light on the different CAT tools available for consumers across the world.

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