CAT tools

Secrets of Translation

CAT tools: software to support the translation process

Did you know that translation support tools, known as CAT tools (Computer-Assisted Translation tools), are becoming a key support for business translation efficiency? In today’s globalized world, communication on an international scale is becoming an everyday reality. Translation bridges the gap between different cultures and languages, contributing to the effective exchange of information worldwide. In this context, translation support tools are entering the scene as a key solution for companies wishing to deliver translations of higher quality, more efficiently and more effectively. If you are curious about the specific benefits of CAT tools for your company and how you can implement them, then this post is for you!

What are CAT tools for assisting translations?

Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools are software that support translators at various stages of their work. They enable translators to manage projects more efficiently, store and use translations from previous projects and maintain terminological consistency across translations.

CAT tools

How do CAT tools work?

The basic element of how CAT tools work is the so-called Translation Memories (TMs). These are databases that store sentences or text fragments that have already been translated, along with their equivalents in another language. When a translator is working on a new project, CAT tools analyse the source text and compare it with the data in the translation memory. If it finds similar or identical passages, it automatically suggests a translation, which speeds up the process.

CAT tools

Why is it worth using CAT tools?

  1. Maintaining Terminological Consistency: CAT tools allow you to create and store translation memories, which contributes to terminological consistency between different projects and documents.
  2. Saving Time: Automating certain steps in the translation process, such as identifying repetitions, saves valuable time.
  3. Improving Quality: The tools’ translation suggestions help avoid errors and inaccuracies, resulting in higher quality translations.CAT tools
  4. Project Management Efficiency: CAT tools allow you to effectively manage translation projects, control deadlines and track progress.

Useful tools for beginners:

In the world of computer-assisted translation, there are different types of tools that meet the needs of translators with different experience and budgets. Here is a division into two categories: free tools and paid tools, which offer different subscription models, from paying by word count to time-based subscriptions.

Free CAT Tools: A Simple Option for Newcomers:

  1. OmegaT: This is an open source software that allows you to use its features for free. While it may be more basic than paid tools, it is suitable for translators or laymen with low budgets. OmegaT is available for a variety of platforms, including Windows, macOS and Linux. You can use it on the computer you prefer. As open source software, OmegaT is developed and supported by the community. This means that it is constantly being updated and improved, with user needs in mind.
  2. MemoQ Translator Free: This version of the MemoQ tool is an excellent choice for beginner translators and laymen. It offers support for multiple languages and a simple interface. It supports a wide range of languages and file formats. You can use it to work on a text document, a website or a mobile application. Thanks to its advanced translation memory mechanisms, MemoQ automatically proposes previously translated text passages, which speeds up your work and maintains consistency. It also allows you to work on a project in real time, which is extremely useful for team projects. This avoids delays and simplifies communication.
  3. MATECAT: MATECAT is an innovative online CAT tool that enables the translation of documents directly in a web browser. It is easy to use and the integrated translation memories allow for the effective use of previously translated phrases. The tool focuses on simplifying the translation process by providing an intuitive interface and advanced features. It is a popular tool among translators, translation agencies and companies that are looking for efficient solutions for working with text.

CAT Paid Tools: Personalised Effectiveness

  1. SDL Trados Studio Starter Edition: The popular tool offers a Starter Edition for beginners who need basic functions at an affordable price. More advanced versions offer different subscription models.

SDL Trados Studio offers various subscription plans that adapt to the needs of users. Offers may include:

  • Freelance Edition: Affordable for beginners.
  • Professional Edition: Enhanced features for individual translators and small businesses.
  • Bussiness Edition: Advanced features for professional translators and translation agencies. The system is complemented by customer and supplier databases, rates, pricing, billing, invoicing, etc.
  • Team Edition: Team collaboration and project management on a larger scale.

Prices may vary depending on location, subscription plan and additional options. It is always worth visiting the official SDL Trados Studio website for the latest offerings and pricing information.

  1. Smartcat: Smartcat offers a free CAT tool with full access to features for one user. It enables translation of various file formats and easy management of translation projects in a web browser. Thanks to advanced artificial intelligence mechanisms, the programme automatically suggests translations and fills in empty text segments, speeding up work and increasing consistency. It integrates with other tools such as text proofreaders and content management systems, enabling a more seamless workflow.

Offer and Subscription Models:

Smartcat offers various subscription models that adapt to users’ needs. Here are some of the options:

  • Free Version: Smartcat offers full access to features for one user in a free version. This is an excellent choice for individual translators who want to try the tool without paying. In the package, you will receive 15,000 Smartwords (words that save time and money thanks to Smartcat’s AI technology, are used for machine translation) for the first 14 days. The downside is the projects expire after 45 days. You have to remember to download files from the programme regularly.
  • Subscription plans: For larger projects and teams, Smartcat offers subscription plans that allow greater flexibility and access to advanced features.

For small businesses, Smartcat offers a Starter package, payable at $99 per year. In it, you’ll receive 150,000 Smartwords per year and a non-expiring project guarantee.

For larger companies, Smartcat offers:

  • Unite Package payable at $699 per year. In it, you will receive 1,200,000 Smartwords per year and a non-expiring project guarantee.
  • Enterprise Package is a customised package. Please contact the Smartcat team for package details and payment terms.

For each package, the company offers an additional purchase of Smartwords. The price is $7.50 for every 5,000 words.


  1. Lokalise: Focused on translating mobile and web applications, this tool facilitates collaboration between translators and developers. The tool integrates with project management tools, source code repositories and other platforms. This allows for a smooth workflow and automation of certain processes. The programme offers version control features to track changes to translations and roll back to earlier versions.

Offer and Subscription Models:

Lokalise offers various subscription models that adapt to users’ needs. Here are some of the options:

– Free Version: Lokalise offers a limited free version, which is ideal for small projects and trying out the tool.

– Subscription Plans: For larger projects and professional needs, Lokalise offers paid subscription plans that allow access to advanced features.

  • Start Package: This package is available in two payment options – $120/year or $14/month. It is designed for small teams and early-stage startups.
  • Essential Package: The package is available in two payment options – $230/year or $27/month. It is designed for small and medium-sized companies.
  • Pro Package: This package is available in two payment options – $825/year or $66/month. It is designed for those looking for advanced localisation tools.
  • Enterprise Package: This is designed for large companies or companies operating in highly regulated industries. In this case, please contact the Lokalise service desk to arrange payment terms and package details.

The offer details are current as of 28.08.2023. We encourage you to check the detailed offer on the websites of the individual companies or to contact the customer service office.

The choice between a free or paid CAT tool depends on your needs, expectations and available financial resources. If you are at the stage of exploring CAT tools or have a limited budget, OmegaT may be a good option. However, if you are looking for more advanced features, and support for teams and projects, and are prepared to invest in a tool, SDL Trados Studio may be a more suitable option. It is also worth considering other tools on the market and customise your choice according to your needs.

Note that translation support tools are not a substitute for the translator, but they provide invaluable support in the translation process, allowing you to work more efficiently and professionally.

Whether you are an experienced translator or just starting out, translation support tools have a lot to offer. With their help, you can create, refine and deliver translations on an international scale. The value these tools bring, putting the translator at the centre of efficiency and quality, is undeniable. If you have a translation problem, contact us! We have a large team of qualified linguists who can certainly handle the task. See also our other posts on how to translate handwritten notes, PDFs, xlsx, pptx, html files and websites.


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