14 Must Use Tools for Translators

(Last Updated On: September 8, 2015)

Useful tools for translators

Once upon a time translators had to use pen, paper and hard copy dictionaries in order to do their tasks thus a short translation was taking quite a bit of time to have it done. Translation was expensive back then and deadlines were a lot longer.

Due to amazing advances in technology in the latest years, translation has become faster and more affordable. Translators work faster due to use of computers and software tools for translators. Still, productivity can be further increased if the following tips and tools are being used.

Desktop tools for translators:

    • Text processors. Such tools are the basic ones each computer should have. Anything you do on your computer implies typing text. Most common used word processors are Microsoft Word and Open Office. The second one is free to use and includes everything you need. Both tools have built in features that can help in tracking and correcting typos, misspellings or grammar mistakes.
    • PDF processors. Source files can be in PDF format therefore PDF editors are great tools for translators.
    • DTP tools. A freelance translator needs to have at least a basic understanding of how Desktop Publishing Tools are working. A translator working for a translation agency will not use such tools as the agency will probably have DTP specialists.
    • Image editors. If a customer has images with text, a translator must use an image editor in order to translate the text contained within the image. Most used image editor software to date is Photoshop, but there are a plethora of free alternatives on the internet.
    • Electronic dictionaries and terminologies. Any translator no matter how seasoned has to do some research regarding some words or terminologies being used in the source files. Electronic dictionaries are easy to use and can save a lot of time.
    • CAT tools. The so-called Computer Assisted Translation tools could be of great help for translators. A translation memory tool can use your past translations into your job at hand thus making your job a lot easier.
    • Time management tools. If you know you are easily distracted from your work, these time management tips could help you concentrate on your job.
    • Common computer tools like anti-virus, anti-malware, anti-spyware, back-up, file compression or decompression software.

Communication tools for translators:

    • Internet browsers. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, Opera are the most used internet browsers. Other less known browsers like TOR Browser are also being used.
    • Email software. Google’s version of browser based email software is Gmail and it has everything you need. There are numerous other options when it comes to email such as Yahoo which are also great to use. Most usually use Gmail as there are other useful Google tools for translators that can be managed / used under the same account.
    • Google Drive. There are so many ways you can use Google Drive, the main one being for safe storage. Drive is of great use as a collaboration tool as it allows you to share documents with others, thus making your life easier when it comes to sharing or working with others on the same project.
    • Chat tools for translators. While there are a bunch of such tools online, the most used one is Skype. You can also use Gmail chat or Google Hangouts (which are easily accessible form your Gmail account).
    • Password managers. Do you forget your passwords often and have to go through recovering them (which might not be easy for some)? A password manager such as LastPass will be of great help for you as you can quickly login to any online account you have.
    • Social media managers. As a freelance translator, you need to have a strong presence online if you want to get more jobs. Social media is of great use for marketing yourself but it can be a great time consumer. Software like HootSuite or Buffer are great tools for translators as they allow one to manage all social media accounts from one central location.

Let us know in the comments if we missed anything!