Are Cat Tools and TEnTs the same thing? If not, where is the difference?
Thread poster: Mirco Longo (X)

Mirco Longo (X)
Oct 23, 2015

Are Cat Tools and TEnTs (translation Environment Tools) the same thing? If not, where is the difference?
I do not really understand the difference between the two things.
Thank you


Kevin Dias  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:58
Member (2015)
Japanese to English
Basically the same Oct 24, 2015

TEnT (translation environment tool) was a name coined by Jost Zetzsche as the term CAT tool is very broad and covers "numerous families of software tools that translators use for their work", while what translators generally are referring to when they say CAT tool is something more specific, a "translation memory tool". However, Jost thought "translation memory tool" was short-changing what the tools were capable of, thus he coined the term TEnT.

Technically speaking a CAT tool is a more broad and imprecise term than a TEnT tool (i.e. a spell checker could be classified as a CAT tool), but in reality most in the translation industry when they say "CAT tool" they are talking about the more narrow definition (i.e. a TEnT tool). To be honest, "TEnT tool" was never really widely adopted and everyone just says "CAT tool".

For more details see these resources:

- Tool Kit * Playing the Name Game by Jost Zetzsche
- transdraft University Course #1 - CAT Tools
- Poll: Which term do you prefer: TEnTs or CAT tools?
- Wikipedia - Computer-assisted translation



2nl (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
Having a party! Oct 24, 2015

I think that Jost Zetzsche (as far as I know he is the creator of "TEnT") is having his very own private party in his TENT:

I am referring to translation environ- ment tools (TEnTs). As the name sug- gests, these TEnTs provide translators with an environment that allows them to work productively. This environ- ment includes a translation memory and a terminology database, but it also provides features for quality assurance, spell-checking, workflow manage- ment, project management, analysis, support for complex file formats, and so forth. Anyone who has even glanced into the market of commercially avail- able TEnTs will know about tools like Trados, Star Transit, Déjà Vu, and across


I think that the rest of the world is calling Trados, Star Transit, Déjà Vu and across CAT tools.


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:58
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
I think... Oct 24, 2015

m1k3 wrote:
Are Cat Tools and TEnTs (translation Environment Tools) the same thing?

Originally, I think the word TEnT was created in an attempt to include specialised non-translation tools that translators use in the group. Think of glossary software, for example -- it's not a CAT tool, but translators use it specifically for translation. However, these days, TEnT has become just a synonym for CAT tools. Sure, those who use "TEnT" may say that they mean something else, but do they?


Charlie Bavington (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:58
French to English
A fine example of the issue Oct 24, 2015

Kevin Dias wrote:

... a spell checker could be classified as a CAT tool),

Thing is, from where I'm standing, it's also in my translation environment, which makes it a TEnT as well.

If anything, I've long considered the actual meaning of the words in "translation environment tool" to cover a WIDER range of possibilities than the meaning of the words "computer-assisted translation" (tool), regardless of what Jost actually meant it to be restricted to when he plucked it out of thin air (e.g. a tool in my translation environment, such as a music streaming app, is thus a TEnT but not a CAT).

As such, it does have shortcomings however well intentioned it might have been.


Dominique Pivard  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:58
Finnish to French
CAT it is Oct 24, 2015

I’ve established (or at least tried to) a reputation as CAT guru and there’s no way I’d want to be known as "TEnt guru" instead icon_wink.gif


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