CAT tools became truly useable about 20 years ago and they have been improving every since.
The abbreviation stands for
computer-assisted translation and, in my opinion, is the perfect marriage between humans and machines.
Linguists work directly within these tools which capture their work, segment it and store it as a translation memory (TM).
During the next work session the software recognizes previously translated text and suggests the same translation. The linguist is always in control and can accept, reject or modify the computer's suggestions. It takes the drudgery out of translation, speeds delivery and
dramatically reduces cost.
Machine translation (MT) is a related, though different, animal and it's receiving a lot of press these days.
At least once a week someone announces their new solution for automatic, computer-generated translation services in hundreds of languages. Yes, MT is making great strides but some of those announcements should be taken with a grain of salt.
Click here for more information:
The most exciting development is the integration of the two technologies, CAT tools plus MT. The TMs mentioned above, all the creation of the translators' work, can be used to train a specific piece of software called an MT engine.
The linguist can not only use translation management software to open the TM which contains edited/revised/accepted segments in the working language but can also connect to the MT engine.
This engine analyzes the source text and suggests translations starting with the segments of the TM but also using statistical analysis and rules-based processes. The best MT engines, created using upwards of 100,000 approved segments, can produce work that needs no editing for 25% to 45% of the text.
All MT translations have to be reviewed, of course, but the remainder of the segments over and above the 25-45% will require post-editing.
This requires a trained translator/reviser with the additional skill of knowing which segments need simple revision and which should be discarded.
Within the translation/localization industry, the pairing of CAT tools and MT promises faster, more consistent work and also leaves open the option for low quality where appropriate.
Tembua's primary operational objective is quality and we are excited to follow improvements in any technology that will help our linguists!