What’s a CAT tool? What’s a TM?

What is a TM_SDLIf you’re starting out as a translator, you might be wondering whether CAT tools and TMs can help you in your work. You might even be wondering what CATs and TMs are.

In a nutshell, Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools are standalone programs where you can translate any file format (e.g., doc, xls, html) and see the original and your translation side by side as you work.

The tool stores all your translated sentences in a database called a translation memory (TM).

The next time you translate a file, the software will “remind” you of any identical or similar sentences you translated from previous jobs and insert these suggestions in your new file, while you translate.

To learn more about translation memories, check out a free ebook* called “An Introduction to Translation Memory” that I’ve just written for SDL.

An Introduction to Translation Memory answers these questions:

  • What is a translation memory?
  • Why use a translation memory?
  • Is an empty translation memory any use at all?

It goes on to debunk three translation memory myths, gives some tips on how to start using a TM, and discusses TM best practices.

If you want to learn more about translation memories, download the ebook today!


*You’ll have to give SDL your email to download the ebook, so you may get the odd newsletter landing in your inbox.


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10 Responses to What’s a CAT tool? What’s a TM?

  1. sierramar says:

    You go, Emma! Just wanted to thank you for the thoughtful and very pertinent postings :-). Mar

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  3. Pedro says:

    Thanks for a good and important informatioin.

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  5. Maria Sanchez says:

    Thank you Emma! A very good source of information.

  6. Nora Díaz says:

    Emma, I really enjoyed reading your book. If only this had been available when I first started getting acquainted with CAT tools and TMs! A little late for me, but perfect to share with new generations of future translators. Just yesterday I was speaking to a group of translation students and I have recommended they read your book. Thank you for an excellent resource!

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  9. Sarah Miller says:

    Thanks for sharing such wonderful e-book. Hopes more things from you in future as well.

  10. cpslboston says:

    Thanks for update on this CAT tool. We will try and review this tool. Great effort.

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