Computer-assisted translation, computer-aided translation, or CAT is a form of language translation in which a human translator uses computer software to support and facilitate the translation process.Computer-assisted translation is sometimes called machine-assisted, or machine-aided, translation (not to be confused with machine translation).
Computer-assisted translation is a broad and imprecise term covering a range of tools, from the fairly simple to the complicated.
These can include:
- Spell checkers, either built into word processing software, or add-on programs
- Grammar checkers, again either built into word processing software, or add-on programs
- Terminology managers, which allow the translator to manage his own terminology bank in an electronic form. This can range from a simple table created in the translator’s word processing software or spreadsheet, a database created in a program such as FileMaker Pro or, for more robust (and more expensive) solutions, specialized software packages such as SDL MultiTerm, LogiTerm, Termex, etc
- Terminology databases, either on the host computer or accessible through the Internet, such as TERMIUM Plus or Grand dictionnaire terminologique from the Office québécois de la langue française
- Full-text search tools (or indexers), which allow the user to query already translated texts or reference documents of various kinds. Some such indexers are ISYS Search Software, dtSearch Desktop and Naturel
- Concordancers, which are programs that retrieve instances of a word or an expression and their respective context in a monolingual, bilingual or multilingual corpus, such as a bitext or a translation memory
- Bitext aligners: tools that align a source text and its translation which can then be analyzed using a full-text search tool or a concordancer
- Project management software that allows linguists to structure complex translation projects, assign the various tasks to different people, and track the progress of each of these tasks
- Translation memory tools (TM tools), consisting of a database of text segments in a source language and their translations in one or more target languages.