Top 10 Paid and Free CAT Tools
Many people think that the only tool translators need for translations is Microsoft Word. The truth is numerous translation software is used during the translation process to improve the productivity as well as the quality of translations. One of the most popular tools is the Computer-Assisted Translation Tool (CAT Tool). Whether it’s a translation agency or freelancer, being able to support CAT Tools is a must.
In this post, we introduce to you the basic concept of CAT Tools and a list of the top best paid and free CAT Tools you should use (or at least try once).
Table of Contents
1. What is CAT Tools?
Computer-Assisted Translation Tool (CAT tool) is a tool specifically designed to support translators in boosting productivity as well as translation quality and consistency. With CAT Tools, translators can edit, store previous translations, and use them for future projects.
CAT tools contain four core features that make them a powerful tool: (1) Translation Memory, (2) Termbase, (3) The ability to work on almost any format, and (4) Bilingual format.
Sometimes, Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) Tools are thought to be similar to Machine Translation (MT) since they have the words machine and computer. The truth is, they are two distinct tools used in translation. To put it simply, Translation Machine automatically translates a document from one language to another without the involvement of human linguists. Meanwhile, CAT is a supporting tool for translators and most of the translation works are performed by human translators.
2. Top Free CAT Tools
Offering numerous powerful features such as MT integration, one-click replacement of suggested text, smart autocompletion as well as a customizable interface, CafeTran Espresso is a unique CAT Tool that you can get for free. With the free copy of CafeTran Espresso, you can access the tool forever. It allows you to work with TM files under 1000 TU’s in size and glossaries under 500 terms.
CafeTran Espresso can be used on Mac, Windows, and Linux.
Across is a CAT tool that offers various functions that can meet all your translation requirements. In Across, translation memory, terminology, and project data are stored centrally for consistent translations. It also offers a project management feature where you can easily define the source texts, due dates, target languages, and quality criteria.
The basic plan for Across is free with limitations to some functions. The premium plan costs you €24.50/month. However, if you are a student, you can access all premium features free of charge.
OmegaT is an open-source, free CAT Tool that provides you with the basic features (fuzzy matching, TMs, glossary, multiple-file projects, etc.) you need for a translation project. It can work on Windows, Linux, and macOS and is compatible with Trados files. Although the display of OmegaT seems a little bit dated, it runs much more strongly than any other free tool you can find out there. That’s why it has always been one of the most popular CAT Tools ever since its first launch in 2000.
Wordfast Anywhere is the online version of Wordfast Classic and Pro. As it runs on a web browser, different users can easily collaborate and work together on a translation project. However, the biggest drawback of this free CAT tool is its slow operation and bug proneness.
SmartCAT has great advantages of being free, user-friendly, and comprehensive. It’s an open-source solution that offers CAT Tool, collaborative space, and freelance marketplace – all features in one tool.
3. Top Paid CAT Tools
SDL Trados Studio
SDL Trados Studio is the most widely used CAT Tool among both translation agencies and freelance translators. The tool is comprehensive and feature-rich, allowing you to create, manage, and edit terminology easily. One downside of SDL Trados is that it only runs on Windows.
The price starts at €695 for freelance translators and €2.495 for translation teams with a free 30-day trial.
MemoQ is also a big player in the CAT Tool market. It’s a direct competitor of SDL Trados, with many similar functions and features. One special feature of MemoQ is its ability to accept other translation tools which make it easy for translators to work on different translation platforms.
You can start with a 30-day trial before deciding to buy the lifetime license at €620 or $700.
With a monthly subscription fee of $61, two users can translate up to 20k words/month using XTM – a full-function web-based CAT Tool. For unlimited access, you can choose the Enterprise plan which starts at $359 per month. XMT Cloud also offers a free trial in 30 days.
Another popular choice of paid CAT Tools is Déjà Vu which you can purchase from €420 to access unlimited resources and functions. Déjà Vu allows users to share TM, TB, and translations in real-time, saving a great deal of time and increasing the consistency of the outcomes.
StarTransit is created by the STAR Group with over 30 years of success and experience. It integrates all necessary tools for an effective translation project such as translation memory, translation editor, subtitling tool, quality controls, terminology, and project manager. An annual or monthly subscription is needed after the 30-day trial.
4. Which CAT Tools are favoured by translators?
Recently GTE Localize conducted a small survey on our LinkedIn page to see which CAT Tools our connections in the localization industry love to use the most. Out of 107 translators who voted, 57 chose Trados to be their favourite CAT Tool. MemoQ and Memsource are also flavoured by many translators.
Besides the four mentioned tools in the survey, our translators also showed their love for MateCat and Wordfast.
How about you? Which CAT tools do you like to work with on every project and why? Share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.