CAT tools: a look at the current landscape

Session review

A new format for this season: part panel, part training session, this event came 14 years after MET’s first panel discussion on the benefits of computer-assisted translation (CAT). Much has changed since then. For many, CAT tools are now indispensable, but are we making the most of them? Our 2020 member survey certainly confirms that we’re increasingly savvy users: three-quarters of respondents said they were advanced or intermediate.

CAT tool panelThe workshop began with a wide-ranging panel discussion, tailored to our survey findings, with host Emma Goldsmith chatting to experienced CAT-tool users Tom Bell, Kari Koonin and John Rynne about strategies and best practices, pricing, machine-translation integration, online platforms, Mac options, open-source tools and teamwork. Panellists drew on their diverse professional lives (freelance, corporate and academic) and knowledge of different tools to give real-life accounts of how a mastery of CAT tools can help and how an amateurish approach can hinder. 

After the panel, it was time for three tool-specific training sessions: two sessions for advanced users (Trados Studio with Emma Goldsmith and memoQ with Kari Koonin and Hayley Smith) and a beginner session (OmegaT with Tom Bell). These focused sessions let attendees see “under the bonnet” and gave our presenters the space to demonstrate lesser-known features.

While CAT tools have potential downsides (a statistical approach that can seem to commoditize our work and a fragmented display that can stifle our creativity), MET members are increasingly keen to master the tech and get it working for them. Indeed, both the feedback from workshop attendees and the results from our 2020 CAT tool survey show clear demand for high-level training – watch this space.