There is a lot to say for CAT (computer-assisted translation) tools: they enable you to check for concordance, improving your efficience and decreasing the time and effort invested in translating; the more stuff you have previously stored in your Translation Memory, the more dramatic this effect will be. It allows you to maintain the original format, type and size of the font, etc., that is, you will also edit the text perfectly. But…, are CAT tools really that necessary? Well, I think the answer is no.
I happen to own one of the expensive ones, which I bought years ago. I had to invest a whole month of my salary in it: I bought my license to operate it, which was the most expensive part of the purchase, and then I bought the instructions manual and the disks, so that I ran no risks after spending that kind of money on something. Years after that, when translating has become my main source of income -scarce as it is, though- I find out that it has become absolutely obsolete and it can’t even be updated. Alarmed as I was, I had some words with the company, who said that all I can do is buying the new version for a special 50 % price, which is three times the price they used to charge for updating it. Well, selling one of my kidneys in the organ trade black market is out of the question, so what do I do now?
I’ve been participating in some translation forums lately and I was very happy to see that there are people who don’t use CAT tools and they are perfectly normal, functional, socially adapted and happy and they get work! Enough to make a living out of it! Also, it must be said that these CAT tools are advertised and sold in/by certain marketplaces for translators who get benefits from them, that is, they force us to buy their very expensive tool if we want to take part in their select club. This makes translators dependent in a long term, due to the aforementioned updatings, upgradings and latest of the latest versions of the tools. Besides, we are turned into text editors for the same price, not to mention this fuzzy terms application, which doesn’t take into financial consideration words and expresions reapeated throughout the text for the final price, impoverishing us as a result. So, in a nutshell, should we buy this money-shrinking device?
Loved this post. I think it is better not to buy nor use any of them, I just don’t “believe” in them, so I always try to translate things by my self, since I think it is the only way to deliver a translation remains faithful to the original, unless, of course, I have to translate a form or a questionnaire where the questions and fields to translate are always the same. After all, aren’t we tired of telling our clients that we do not only translate words, but culture?