Available translation software and onsite translation tools have hyperbolically increased since the turn of the millennium, and obtaining them is simple with the world wide web. While this is a good thing the amount of tools that you can choose from can be confusing and trying them all to find the right one can be time-consuming. So here’s the short-list of everyone’s recommendations. Please note, those are automated tools so use them only for personal reasons or to quickly understand some text and take the translations with a grain of salt as they may not be as accurate as professional translation services are.
Translation tools that could prove useful
The site is spare so it loads very quickly, and it can translate the text you give without the page even needing to reload itself. It also shows the phonetic spelling and provides an audio recording of the pronunciation, for those words who are not spoken as they are written. Though initially not perfect, it has grown and improved thanks to people all over the world contributing entries.
Linguee fills in what Google Translate’s functions lack. A translation of a certain phrase to another language may change depending on the situation. Linguee offers a plethora of sample sentences so you can choose the most appropriate equivalent for the situation that you have. This translation tool has a very loose search engine to give you every possible answer.
A major handicap of any digital tool is the inability to process anything that’s not encoded as characters. Words found in images would need an actual human translator to read it. However, Bing answers this need with its built-in OCR function. So any words in images can be immediately converted to encoded characters and thus translatable without having to pay for a human translator.
CAT tools or computer aided translation tools have features that the first three lack that are geared primarily for professional translators. Unlike the first 3 free translation tools above, some of the features of these CAT tools would require a fee before they can be unlocked.
Trados is the most well known of CAT tools among professional translators themselves. Mainly because most company clients make it a requirement. Just having this software makes you a more likely candidate for the job. But a lot have complained how difficult the interface is.
Another very popular CAT tool but hasn’t overtaken Trados yet. Users love it for its easy to use platform.
Another contender to replace Trados. Choosing this one over Wordfast is a matter of personal preference.
Translation tools are getting better and more available everyday. But it’s important to note that they are just that, tools, and not a substitute for the translators’ human brain and eyes.