Have you ever wondered how a translation company manages a large number of translation projects to give results in minimal time? Of course, the task of translation is far from easy. It requires a careful, measured, and precise effort to get the job done seamlessly and professionally. 

One thing that aids in translation, especially where a huge project is concerned, is CAT, or Computer-Aided Translation.

While the word CAT may stand for Computer Assisted Translation, it does not in any way imply that the computer is completing the translation for you. CAT tools contain a translation memory that performs the function of storing previous source and target translations. In addition, termbases, an integral part of this tool give the translators the ability to develop their glossaries in their subject areas as they like—a feature that makes CAT tools different from machine translation.

CAT tools have the added ability of functionality with different types of documents. This means that there is no need to convert the text to a different file format. While some CAT tools provide an access to online databases in order to help translators in the management of translation memories, others operate entirely in the cloud.
With a wide variety of CAT tools available in the market, it is only inevitable that a translator would have a hard time finding a perfect CAT tool. The truth is that there is no perfect CAT tool and your choice is likely to depend on many factors such as what CAT tools do your agency use? What features you prefer and how much budget you really have?
Here is a list of some free and paid CAT tools that would help you in narrowing down your choices. 

A Glimpse at Some Popular CAT Tools:

These are some of the most well-known and popular CAT tools:

1.    SDL Trados Studio
SDL Trados, developed by SDL, is undoubtedly the biggest player in the CAT tool market. A complete translation software solution, this tool not only translates but manages terminology and edits it. A number of versions of this tool are available for freelance translators with unlimited or annual licenses.

2.    MemoQ
Another major CAT tool, MemoQ offers many features such as a translation preview pane which allows a translator to view the segment he is translating in context. In addition, MemoQ accepts other translation tools, which means that translators can work together with other translation software. The tool has a free version suitable for personal use, while a lifetime license is available for the pro version. 

3.    Wordfast
Wordfast Classic is a macro that runs within Microsoft Word and can work with any format which Microsoft Word can handle, such as text files, PowerPoint, Excel, HTML, Rich Text Format (RTF), and tagged RTF. On the other hand, Wordfast Pro is a more complete solution including translation memory management as well as more project management features such as Java, InDesign, FrameMaker, InCopy, Cliff, and SDL Trados. Additionally, both versions are available in perpetual licenses, while a discount is even offered for use in developing nations. 

4.    Déjà Vu:
Offering a full host of terminologies as well as translation memory features, Déjà vu is another popular CAT tool that prides itself in delivering a user-friendly interface. The tool can handle a wide range of file formats including Trados and MemoQ. 

Here is the list of Top Free CAT Tools:

1.    CafeTran Espresso
A unique translation tool, CafeTran Espresso can be used on Mac, Windows, and Linux. Major file formats are supported by the tool and it is available for free until glossaries reach a maximum size. 

2.    Across
Offering a complete translation environment including terminology management, translation memory, quality assurance, and project management, Across is termed as a fully-featured CAT tool. While the basic edition is available for free, the premium version can be used on a monthly-charged basis.

3.    OmegaT
OmegaT is an open-source program, offering a full set of features with the added capability of being compatible with Trados file. It runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac, and is considered one of the most popular free CAT tools. 

4.    Similis
Similis provides its users with a translation memory and supports XML, HTML, MS Word, OpenOffice, as well as Trados files. It is easy to use and delivers a variety of functions that are unique from others. 

5.    Wordfast Anywhere

As the name suggests, Wordfast Anywhere offers a connection to public translation databases and is a fully-featured CAT tool. However, it must be used online but allows its users to create private TBs and TMs.

6.    MateCat

Well-known for offering a wide variety of features, MateCat is a free online CAT tool that is solely focused on giving its users access to machine translation databases in order to improve their working efficiency. The tool accepts a wide variety of file formats and produces a weighted word count when source documents are uploaded.

7.    SmartCAT
When one jots down the names of free CAT tools, SmartCAT comes at the top of the list. SmartCAT offers a platform for translators and clients to search for each other. It is an all-in-one platform connecting translators and global businesses and delivers a collaborative workflow solution, along with a network of translation professionals. Additionally, it is a free-to-use tool that allows any number of people to work together without worrying about the licenses. 

8.    Pootle
Specifically designed to translate apps rather than documents, Pootle is a free translation management tool that provides its users with an easy-to-use interface. Due to its easy use, Pootle is preferred by many translators and companies worldwide.

9.    Virtaal
Written in Python programming language, Virtaal is a free translation tool that is developed and maintained by Translate.org.za. Moreover, it includes a translation management tool and also gives access to machine translation. 

10.     Lokalize
A CAT tool that is focused on productivity and quality assurance, Lokalize is a CAT tool that is trusted by thousands of companies worldwide. It comes at adequate pricing and is a true multi-platform software, allowing agile teams to translate all their digital assets in one place. In addition, it is designed specifically for software translation and also integrates external tools for the translation of documents. It translated for a wide variety of formats, including XML, Xliff, JSon, and Strings., etc.

11.     GlobalSight

An open-source translation management tool, GlobalSight streamlines, automates, and manages localization processes of firms and can be used by translators, project managers, and editors alike. 

12.     Gtranslator
Gtranslator is a specialized translation tool that translates software and is programmed for use on GNOME desktop environment. With its ability to translate software, this tool delivers translation benefits for its translators worldwide. 

Here is the list of Top Paid CAT Tools:

1.    Wezen Translate
Wezen Translate provides a single environment for companies to host and offer their localization projects. Developed with an aim to make the localization process easier, Wezen Translate is a software business unit of Datawords Group and delivers semantic technologies that empower brands through ownership of semantic content. The tool focuses on innovation through technology which drives the language-translation quality so that the companies can get data-oriented solutions for their projects.

2.    XTM Cloud
With the ability to process the most common file formats, this tool converts them to XML before adding them to the translation memory. XTM is available as two models of licensing, one a traditional software termed as XTM Suite and the other one as SaaS solution through an online subscription called XTM Cloud.

3.    Poedit
Specially designed to translate interfaces and strings, Poedit provides a variety of quality control as well as translation tools. Moreover, it is available to work fully on WordPress too. This makes it a useful tool for translators worldwide.

4.    StarTransit
Delivering a unique translation solution, StarTransit retains the source document’s overall structure which means that a translator can display and check the original context of a reference segment anytime he wants to. Available on a monthly and yearly subscription, StarTransit ensures an easy-to-understand translation in addition to avoiding a collection of context-free text segments. 

5.    MetaTexis
Another translation tool available for free and in various paid versions with different features, MetaTexis is a powerful translation tool that is available in the most advanced version. It had many functions and options that are not available in other CAT tools. This makes it a unique one and is, therefore, preferred by many translators worldwide.

6.    Pairapharase
A web-based translation system that combines machine and human translation, Pairapharase features a unique voice-over translation capability. Various paid versions of the tool are available online. Other than that, it emphasizes ease-of-use in combination with powerful functionality, while delivering the best security available. The unique thing about this tool is that the translation team of an agency can work on this web-based CAT tool without any prior training. Paraphrase can be used anywhere as it is accessible from a web browser, and is available through PC, Mac, or Desktop. 

The Last Word:

The translation is an extremely important and vital part of a company’s globalization plan. In order to achieve success in the global market, however, it is imperative that a translator uses tools that would make the translation task an easy one. With a variety of CAT tools available in the market, choosing the right one may seem like a tough task. On the contrary, there are a host of benefits offered by the CAT tools such as affordable pricing and efficiency. While the price of the CAT tool depends on the volume of words, features, and customization, it is easily managed by most firms. Nevertheless, it improves translation productivity, delivers significant cost savings, reduces the amount of time and effort in the production of translations. With the rise in more number of CAT tools, it is evident that the future is bright for translation tools worldwide