Is There A Difference Between Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) And Machine Translation (MT)?

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Is There A Difference Between Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) And Machine Translation (MT)?

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Yes, there is the difference between Computer Assisted Translation and Machine Translation. Although both terms seem to be similar, there is a very clear difference. The difference is seen in who exactly is responsible for the end translation.
Machine Assisted Translation is a modern translation tool designed to assist translators to translate any document with a lot of ease and faster. Before the intervention of these CAT tools, there was a lot of hassle in translation of documents. This could make it difficult for translators to finish the assignments on time. However, with CAT tools, translation has been made easy and too friendly for translators. Therefore, CAT tools put the human translator in to full control of the translation. The tool will be just assisting the human translator in one way or other when actually everything is done by the human translator. The CAT tool may simply assist to handle already existingTranslations, translate terms and idioms among others.
Machine Translation (MT) refers to the computer software that translates text from one language to another without involvement of the human translator. It means that all the translation process is handled by the machine. The human being may only get involved in checking the results. Examples of MT include Google Translate, Face book Translate, Microsoft Translator, Skype Translate and others. In this the machine fully auto translates the text in to the target language.
Why should one choose CAT over MT?
Quality work. CAT tools produce top quality work. This is because CAT tools are linked to auto correct, grammar checkers, and other tools that help to eliminate missing translation and poor editing. But MT tools produce work as it’s with no checkers and other tools. This makes the quality of the work to be poor although this kind of arrangement can lead to mistranslation of the context.
Localized Translation. CAT tools help translators to produce well localized translation. This is because the translation relies on human Translators who can much the text with their cultural terminology thus reducing translation blunders. On the other hand, MT tools know no culture. Therefore, localizing the text is a big challenge. At the end of the day, it may lead to translation blunders leading to rejection of the work.
Cost effective. Using CAT tools is cheaper than MT tools. CAT tools auto translate already existing translation of the same kind in case of any, which is not the case with MT tools. Also using MT tools may lead to double payment. Note that after MT has produced results, you’ve to employ the human checker. So, in case the translation is poor, the checker may disqualify the work leading to fresh translation budget for entire document. This will cause massive waste of resources.
Saves time. Having once and for all translation is better than risking the document. That is to say, using CAT tools produces once and for all results for that particular document thus saving time. This is because the human translator will be involved in every stage. However, using MT tools may delay the production process in case poor quality work is produced.
Consistency. CAT tools are viable in maintaining the consistency of the translation. Its easy to handle terminologies using CAT tools. This is because CAT tools are connected to terminology database and glossaries. On the other hand, producing the consistent translation is just a big problem.
Examples of CAT tools
There are many CAT tools in existence and this article tries to discuss it in details
Translation memory software
This is a renowned CAT tool. This tool separates the translation text in to two segments. As the translation goes on, the software stores the text of the already existing translated segments. Examples include: Trados, Workbench, Word fast, Star Transit, MultiTrans, Meta Texis and others.
Language search engine software.
This looks like traditional search engines except they get their results from language data base of the translation memory not internal like traditional search engines. This helps to match the parts of the previously translated text with the matches of the new translation text.
Terminology management software
This tool helps the translator to search for new terms in document in the database. Examples include: SDL MultiTerm, LogiTerm, and Termex.
Alignment software
Here the software divides the document in to two segments and attempts to determine the segments that agree with each other. The result of this operation can be imported in to translation memory software for future translation. Examples include: Bitext2, Tmx Bligner, YouAlign and LF Aligner.
Conclusively, everyone should clearly understand that CAT tools and not the same MT tools even if the two-sound similar. Also, it’s better for everyone to embrace CAT tool translation to avoid the risks mentioned above and many others.

Author’s Bio: 

Henry Ogwang is an Account Manager at Global Gate Translations an agency in Uganda. He also writes articles in various translation topics languages.

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