Question from a narrator about CAT tools
Thread poster: Narrator

Local time: 08:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Feb 23, 2010


This may sound like a stupid question, BUT - I'm a voice actor / narrator and I often translate as part of a narration job - in many cases the client wants the same voice in English and Spanish - sometimes they just want one language or the other. In any case, I may have a huge translation job coming my way and I was wondering about the tools full-time translators use. What is TRADOS? What does it do? And the others? What are the benefits and would they be useful for someone who is not a full-time translator?

Thank you for your help!


Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Check out this thread Feb 23, 2010

Trados and other similar tools do not translate for you (that's what automated machine translation does - try it out in Google). They actually build up a memory of sentences you translate (they call them segments) and so if that sentence crops up again, the tool will remember this and offer it to you. If you have a similar sentence it will also offer it to you , showing you how it has changed. You can combine this tool with termbases (in fact they come bundled), which store individual terms (one or several words) that you enter "manually" to make sure you always translate a certain term the same way every time.

In your case, I don't think a CAT tool would help you very much because in creative writing you don't get repetitions, unlike, say, translating a software manual, or instruction booklet for a machine.

However, this current thread may enlighten you further:


Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:30
Swedish to English
+ ...
The benefits of Trados (or similar) Feb 23, 2010

All CAT tools involve a steep learning curve, so if you have never used one, now is not the time to start.

However, if I were in your shoes, I would use Trados (or a similar product such as WordFast (older versions). This is because of one overwhelming advantage which has nothing to do with storing a database of sentences. It has everything to do with the actual display of your text.

To see the advantage, we need to step back and consider the actual mechanism of translation. The traditional approach is to load your source text into Microsoft Word, and then overwrite the source text with your translation, perhaps sentence by sentence or word by word. Either way, you have to be careful not to get in a muddle, forget some words, omit sentences.

What Trados does is to display the current sentence in duplicate, each in a separate coloured box. You do not overwrite the original -- you type in your translation in one box, leaving the original intact in the other. This means you are much less likely to omit words, and even less likely to accidentally leave out a sentence. It is also much easier to review your translation. I occasionally revert to overtyping, and hate it.

I find this duplicate display is such an enormous advantage that I use Trados even for literary translation. I also use speech recognition, which works particularly well with this duplicate display. The combination of the two provides a substantial boost both to the quantity and quality of your translation. But the learning curve is steep.


Local time: 08:30
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thank you Feb 26, 2010

Thanks! Interesting piece of software! I can see how it can be super useful. Even with the translations I do I often go back to a previous one for repetitive phrasing. But pricey for one who's not in the translation business full time.

I appreciate the responses - this is a great community. When I have to farm out some editing and proofing I'll come here.

Thanks again.


Michiel Leeuwenburgh  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:30
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
If you are not sure about using a CAT, Feb 26, 2010

then I would definitely recommend trying the free trial version of Wordfast Classic. It is light, easy to work with and it's a lot cheaper than Trados (should you decide to buy it).

[Bijgewerkt op 2010-02-26 08:57 GMT]


Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:30
+ ...
Metatexis Feb 26, 2010

There are many CAT tools out there and each has strengths and weaknesses. I don't recommend spending hundreds of dollars in something you might use once or occasionally. Like Emma said, CAT tools can be extremely useful and invaluable, but not all kinds of texts need to be translated with them. Specially if you don't need the extra features.

In your case, you might need something easy to use, and Metatexis Lite comes to mind. It's free and extremely easy to use. If you need more features, you can get one of the paid versions. You can download it here: Check the 'Why a CAT tool ?' for a simple explanation of CAT tootls.

Good luck,



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