What are the most popular CAT tools used or required by translation agencies?
Thread poster: Dolores Math (X)

Dolores Math (X)
Local time: 15:08
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Nov 24, 2015

Hello All,

I've never used any CAT tools before. What are the most popular ones used/required by translation agencies? Appreciate your help. Thank you.

[Subject edited by staff or moderator 2015-11-24 18:57 GMT]


Serena Basili  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:08
English to Italian
+ ...
Hello Dolores! Nov 24, 2015

I guess that the most used are Trados Studio (2011/2014/2015) and MemoQ, but there is plenty of CAT tools available: MateCat, Cafetran, Fluency, etc....

Anyway working with a CAT tool is not compulsory, I don't use them for exampleicon_smile.gif


Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:08
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Spend some time learning about them Nov 24, 2015

A lot of translators hate CAT tools when they first try them. I certainly did. There is a steep learning curve at first, but it is worth making an effort, in my opinion, to get used to a CAT. I use my CAT for almost everything now, and you cut yourself off from a lot of work opportunities if you really can't use one.

Many CAT-users have a favourite and dislike using others.
The commonly used CAT tools are more or less compatible, and there are ways of transferring translation memories and glossaries between them. It takes a little effort, but it is definitely preferable to spending hours working with a CAT that irritates you.

They ARE complicated, but you can learn the basic functions at least so that you simply operate your CAT automatically, and can concentrate on translating.
Having to think about the 'mechanics' all the time will slow you down rather than help, but you can get past that stage.

It is a bit like driving a car, or any other task you do more or less automatically. It may be terrifying at first, but once you master it, you enjoy it.

Some are 'lean and mean' - they are comparatively simple and less expensive, and if you are the kind of translator who never uses the advanced features anyway, then you can reap a lot of advantages simply from the translation memory function.

Others are more complicated, such as MemoQ and Trados Studio, which have a lot of advanced features.

With Trados Studio I like the glossary function and the way AutoSuggest and AutoCorrect make up for the fact that I am a poor typist. You can enter long strings in the glossary, which the CAT will then enter for you, saving typing. Most of my clients use Studio, but I might have liked MemoQ if I had come to it earlier.

Try the free demo versions, and see what you prefer.
Try the 'lighter' CATs too - Wordfast Classic, for instance, might be a good one to start with.

Get someone to help you, at least the first few times you try out a CAT, so that you can see what they do and what you are aiming at. Then choose the CAT that you find most comfortable, and go for it!

Simply knowing what is meant by 'concordance searches' and 'fuzzy matches' and all the other strange terms can be a challenge at first.

When you understand the basics like that, you can start reading blogs such as Emma Goldsmith's


Studio and MemoQ are compared here

There are masses of webinars and workshops...

Good luck!


Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:08
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
A calculated answer Nov 24, 2015

Dolores Matheus wrote:
What are the most popular CAT tools used/required by translation agencies?

Long answer:

There must be many ways to find the answer to your question, but what I did is to examine which CAT tools are preferred, required and/or mentioned in the 1200 job posts of the past month.

When posting a job, a client can select "preferred" or "required" tools from a dropdown list. Unfortunately the dropdown list presented by ProZ.com is outdated (e.g. it does not distinguish between Trados 2007 and Trados 2015 at all).

Of the 1200 job posts of the past month, 54 had "required" software and 227 had "preferred" software.

In addition to selecting required or preferred tools from a dropdown list, clients can also specifically mention CAT tools in the job post descriptions. This is where things get interesting.

I suspect that some clients simply select or mention "Trados" if they want to indicate that a CAT tool is preferred, since "Trados" is synonymous with "CAT tool" in some parts of the industry.


Only four CAT tools made it to the "required" list:
Trados = 42
Wordfast = 4
Memoq = 2
SDLX = 1


Ten tools made it to the "preferred" list:
Trados = 97
MemoQ = 27
Wordfast = 16
DejaVu = 12
SDLX = 9
MemSource = 3
Transit = 2
MateCat = 2
Idiom = 1
Across = 1


Trados total (version specified) = 38
Trados total (version unspecified) = 155
Trados grand total = 193

At least Trados TagEditor = 1
At least Trados 2007 = 4
At least Trados 2009 = 1
At least Trados 2011 = 6
At least Studio 2011 = 12
At least Trados 2014 = 7
At least Studio 2014 = 7
At least Studio 2015 = 1
(if a client said e.g. "Trados 2011/2014/2015", I counted it only as "Trados 2011")

MemoQ = 46
Wordfast = 14 (no versions or editions mentioned at all)
SDLX = 13
Transit = 10
Memsource = 6
DejaVu = 5
XTM = 5
OmegaT = 3
Matecat = 1

Short answer: Trados 1st, MemoQ 2nd, Wordfast 3rd.


[Edited at 2015-11-24 21:47 GMT]


Oliver Walter  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:08
Member (2005)
German to English
+ ...
Their own CATs Nov 24, 2015

Remember (or be informed if you didn't already know): some translation companies ask their translators to use the company's own CAT tool (presumably developed in-house) and translators in general seem to dislike this idea. See previous discussions here:



I wonder why they do this. Possible reasons I can think of include:
  • They want to make it difficult for the translators to work for other companies;
  • They want to prevent the translators from having their own copies of the associated translation memories or glossaries;
  • They think they are so brilliant and have produced a CAT tool that is really better than the others.
  • They want to be in control of the CAT tool's development and possible compatibility issues.


Miseon Lee
South Korea
Local time: 23:08
Member (2016)
English to Korean
+ ...
I'm considering whether to buy an additional CAT tool. Nov 6, 2017

Thanks for many comments. It helps a lot.
I already have a Trados 2014 and I'm considering whether to buy a memo Q or not.
I think I'm gonna buy memo Q.

[Edited at 2017-11-06 07:20 GMT]

[Edited at 2017-11-06 07:21 GMT]


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