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Must-have smartphone applications and computer software for translators

The work of a translator is a journey full of new challenges, while providing satisfaction. You have mastered the language to perfection but that’s not all you need in this profession. It is a good idea to support yourself with the latest technologies. This way, you will relieve the mind and organise your working time and its efficiency better. You’ll also work much faster. Can a phone application or computer software assist you with translations? Certainly! There are many applications available on the market, e.g. for organising your work time, contacts with clients or for scanning (especially useful for sworn translators). Explore the 3 solutions that are definitely worth paying attention to in your profession!


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CAT tool – a must-have for (almost) every translator

The work of a translator primarily involves an open text editor or an audio (or audiovisual) file and time-consuming typing, letter by letter. There isn’t anything wrong with that as long as there is little text. However, if there are larger sections of text to translate, it is certainly not the easiest thing to rewrite them by hand. We’d say it’s even a bit pointless.

In order to significantly improve your work, CAT tools (CAT stands for Computer Assisted Translation) were created. CAT is basically a generic name for a software group, which utilises a translation memory stored in a database. From the Translator’s point of view, such software should be used to speed up the translation process but it certainly cannot replace the entire process.

Trados and Trados alternatives

CAT tools are an invaluable aid in the work of a Translator, specifically if there are many pages of text to be translated. How do CAT tools work? A translation file is uploaded and processed by the tool. As a result, you obtain automatically translated text: single words, sentences or paragraphs. This is how the popular Google Translate works as well. However, for the needs of professional translations, it is worth reaching for slightly more advanced software, rather than online translators. They include Wordfast, SDL Trados and OmegaT, which are very popular.

The role of the translator in this case is limited to reading the text and reviewing that the translation is stylistically, substantively and syntactically correct. You have to keep in mind that CAT tools are not perfect and each text must always be carefully checked and corrected. However, it is an invaluable support that reduces the working time incomparably.

OCR tools for converting graphics into text

The second category of tools that you should definitely take a look at are OCR (Optical Character Recognition) programs. They were designed to convert graphical files originally prepared in .jpg or .pdf format to an editable file so that such a file can be uploaded to a CAT tool and the text can be translated within moments.

It’s a great solution and also saves a lot of time. Rewriting content from an image and then translating it is very time-consuming. Therefore, converting it to an editable text file is an invaluable help. Similarly to CAT tools, the term ‘OCR tools’ is the general name for a group of software. Among the OCR tools, you can choose between desktop and mobile applications.

The best OCR solutions for Translators

What OCR tools are the most popular ones? You’re probably familiar with Adobe Reader. Translators are also happy to use Fine Reader or i2OCR. CamScanner and Office Lens are very popular when it comes to mobile applications. Before choosing a solution that will suit you best, test a few of them. Each has its advantages and disadvantages. Additionally, it may turn out that one of the free solutions will meet your needs fully.

ASANA and Trello – a few words about work organisation

The speed and quality of work depend primarily on the efficient organisation of remote work, which is particularly important for a freelance Translator. If you are working on one or two projects at the same time, theoretically, it shouldn’t be a problem. You don’t have to divide your attention too much.

How to properly organise freelance work?

However, if you have more tasks to do simultaneously, you will undoubtedly need a tool that will help you organise everything. Theoretically, you can use Excel for this purpose to create a table or a to-do list and check off those that are already done. However, it is definitely worth taking a look at some specific tools, created precisely with the efficient organisation of work in mind.

Task organising apps

Asana and Trello are two of the most popular applications that make managing multiple tasks easier. Clear division into days, assigning and moving tasks easily as well as intuitive use are the most important advantages of these solutions. In addition, e-mail notifications help in meeting deadlines and organising work-related duties (e.g. Asana sends a message every morning, notifying its user about the upcoming task completion date and the list of tasks for that day).

Software and smartphone apps useful for Translators

The development of modern technologies is associated with many simplifications. This is also evident in the translation industry. There are quite a few programs and applications that you may need on a daily basis when working as a Translator. Of course this is only if you want to increase the performance and effectiveness of your own work. You will surely appreciate CAT tools that speed up the translation process in a measurable way.

You will also appreciate OCR solutions, especially when you get a scan or photo of a selected document to be translated. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to try out one of the available applications for task organisation. The most important thing is to choose the best solution that will suit you from all the available ones. Certainly, you will find desktop and computer applications that will be useful in your work as a Translator on a daily basis.


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