CAT tools

Computer Assisted Translation or Computer Aided Translation (CAT) is a form of translation where the translator uses specific softwares (CAT tools) to simplify the translation process itself. It must not be confused with Machine Translation, which indicates softwares automatically translating from a language into another.

CAT tools offer a lot of advantages to translators, especially if they work with repetitive texts or with texts pertaining to the same field. First of all, CAT tools are based on Translation Memories (TM) that store Translation Units (TU): each source text is divided into segments and the translator provides his or her translation in the target segment. A Translation Unit is made of a source segment and a target segment, which are stored in the Translation Memory and can be accessed when working on a new translation with similar contents or whenever necessary. When the CAT tool finds a suitable match in the Translation Memory, the translator needs to confirm or modify it: this is particularly useful for recurring expressions and sentences and can save a considerable amount of time, which is of paramount importance in a business where time is of essence.

CAT tools also make different possibilities available to translators for spell and grammar checking, terminology management, text and concordance search, text alignment and project management.

Translators can choose between a lot of CAT tools available on the market: they all exploit the same concepts, declining them in different ways. However, they all aim at creating a translation environment capable of meeting the requirements of the industry, making different tools available to both freelance translators and translation agencies.

Personally, I chose SDL Trados Studio, not only because it is – according to what I have read – the most used CAT tool in the world, but also because I think it is really functional and efficient. I honestly believe that such a CAT tool can make my workflow faster and consistent, also solving issues like terminology consistency: after all, I don’t need to go looking for previously translated files to see how I translated a certain term or sentence for a certain client, my CAT tool does it for me!


BIT 2018

If you follow my Facebook page, you already know that yesterday I took part in BIT 2018.

BIT is the International Travel Exhibition organised every year in Milan. This year it could be accessed both by the general public (on the first day) and by industry professionals, tour operators and buyers (for the entirety of its duration). Reading the description of this exhibition, it is clear that its purpose is to promote “the meeting of decision makers, industry experts and carefully selected and profiled buyers from geographic areas with the highest rate of economic growth and from all sectors of the chain”. Furthermore, the event also featured conferences and seminars aimed at keeping the audience up to date with the latest industry trends.

I love travelling and I am really interested in the tourism industry, so I decided to grab the chance to visit this exhibition. In a professional capacity, I could gather information about new destinations, offers and packages: after all, an interpreter and translator needs to constantly update his or her knowledge, especially if he or she wants to work in a specific field. In addition, I could find new ideas for my next travels and journeys, which is certainly a plus.

In my opinion, exhibitions are also a good way to make new contacts and do a little bit of networking. BIT 2018 was no exception: talking with industry professionals was really inspiring and it gave me food for thought.

The exhibition was divided in two pavillions: the ground floor was dedicated to Italian regions, whereas the upper floor hosted international destinations. Food tourism was also featured, with the possibility to taste different products and recipes, both from Italy and foreign countries. A lot of stands also displayed the “I love wedding” sign to show their participation in a free promotional programme aiming at finding the perfect place to organise one’s wedding and honeymoon. Moreover, BIT 2018 featured an area dedicated to recuiting in the tourism industry, thus providing a chance to find competent staff and, at the same time, promote business: the possibility to forward online applications and to schedule interviews was a great way to make this exhibition even more appealing.

All in all, I must say I am very happy with my decision to visit the exhibition: I could gather new material, meet new people and − let’s be honest − start dreaming about my next holidays! The only downside? Now I can’t wait to take off and go somewhere I have never been before!


The information about BIT 2018 was taken from

The importance of translation for companies

Most companies today aim at reaching a global audience, but in order to offer their products and services they need to address their potential customers in a language they understand. This is where translation and localisation come into play: a good translation provides companies with an attractive business card.

Translating company websites means localising them as well, adjusting their structure and contents to a specific foreign market: once again, translating from a source language into a target language also entails building a bridge between two different cultures and providing potential customers with clear and consistent information.

A translator’s highest goal is to produce a text which sounds natural to the readers, so they don’t even realise they’re reading a translation: this is even of greater importance for company websites, product and service descriptions, communications addressing customers and potential customers and so on. In order to achieve this objective, a translator should “get a feel” for the company he or she is working for, be familiar with the company’s organisational culture and with the culture the company operates in and be knowledgeable about the target market and culture.

Each of us likes reading clear, well-written information when considering  purchasing a product or service: typos, grammar mistakes and expressions which don’t sound natural in the target language must be avoided, which is the reason why translation tasks should always be performed by professional translators. After all, a translator – just like any professional – needs to study and learn to do his or her job: knowing two or more languages doesn’t mean being able to translate simple or complex texts.

Companies should bear in mind that a “simple” translation can have a great impact – either positive or negative – on their image. This is why they should always choose the right professional, considering their needs and the results they want to achieve. Translation can help them accomplish their goals and should be regarded as a stepping stone to success: every investment in this sense should be considered as a potential gain rather than a potential loss.