This is a question that I am sure every translator has made to themselves. What is the right answer? Well, in my opinion the answer is NO.
If you are a translator with more than 15 or 25 years of experience you might be thrilled (or not) with all these new technologies and improvements in the translation field, however, you also need to be very proud of yourself because you succeeded during those though times and did a great job thanks to your competence and own skills. I can imagine how hard it might be to translate a document with your own handwriting or working on a typewriter. It is also hard to deliver the original translation by post mail and wait a long period of time to get paid and close the project. Looking at all of this evidence from the past, we can affirm that a Cat-tool is NOT absolutely necessary, however, it is very helpful and can bring many benefits.
I need to admit that until a couple of years ago I did not much like the idea of spending almost USD 700 on a Cat-tool and, at the same time, I was extremely satisfied with my regular PC software such as Word, Excel, Power Point etc. At that time only a few clients required a Cat-tool and even after saying that I did not have one they were still kind enough to send me a RTF bilingual file where I could translate and they could safely import back into their system. Now you may want to know: what made me change my mind?
In 2011 the number of translation agencies that used and required translators to use a Cat-tool increased substantially. I can even say that I lost more than 40% of my all my bids at that time because I did not have a Cat-tool. That situation made me think about it and I started changing my mind. I bought my first Cat-tool and started learning how to get the most benefits out of it quickly. The benefits that these tools can bring to your every day work flow are countless and depend on everyone´s particular needs. In my case, the benefits were:
- I noticed a better term consistency in translations
- The translation memory helped me translate faster and be more accurate with any new content regarding the same project
- Thanks to the Cat-tool my productivity has increased by almost 50%
- I was able to apply for more jobs on Proz and other websites
- The quality control feature really does a great job (I will make a new post very soon to talk about quality control)
- The side-by-side layout really helps during the translation process, and performs a great job on proofreading assignments
- I was able to cover my investment of USD 700 within a month of work
After seeing all these benefits and experiencing working on many projects using a Cat-tool, I confess that I simply love it and use it whenever possible.
Keep in mind that all benefits above mentioned are only a few examples, and I am sure that you may have many others to share with us.
Now it is your turn! Answer our poll below and let us know if you use a Cat-tool.