CAT Tools: Features, Benefits & Functionality

Kristina Temelkova

I am born and raised in Bulgaria, but I'm currently living in Vienna, Austria. Besides content writing, I work as a translator, video editor, and caption writer. At present, I’m also finishing my master’s degree in applied linguistics at the University of Vienna. I speak four languages: Bulgarian, English, German, and Russian.

Computer-Assisted Translation tools or CAT tools are software applications primarily used by professional translators and LSPs.

Their purpose is to simplify and speed up the process of translation for linguists. For LSPs, CAT tools make translation project management easier and cheaper.

CAT tools are designed to keep translation in mind. This means that they not only improve the work process but also the quality and language consistency

Translation speed is the main impact of CAT tools.

And also ensures that the translation process gets completed as fast and efficiently as possible without having to sacrifice quality.

In this article, we’ll talk about the features of CAT tools and how this software aids translation work.

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Translation Memory

CAT tools contain no bilingual dictionary, but rather have a translation memory (TM) which allows individual segments (phrases or sentences) and their corresponding translations get stored.

Translation Memory

These segments are defined by tags – fixed codes, denoting the beginning and the end of the translated unit. This in turn offers several benefits:

  • TM allows previously translated segments to be automatically used in new translations, which makes the translation job quicker, better and cheaper
  • As more translations are produced and stored in TM, less work will be required on future projects.
  • Based on TM CAT tools can analyze files and estimate how much translation is required
  • For app strings and highly formatted documents, the segment tagging feature ensures that translated text retains formatting and string codes
  • TM allows for so-called termbases for a given language combination (also called glossaries), a specific project or a client as well as multiple memories for specific domains (e.g. finance, law, science, etc.)
  • These termbases (or glossaries) provide consistency of the terminology across the whole text

It is important to point out that term lists are extremely common in the translation of technical documentation as well as other text types, characterized by a high degree of consistency.

Moreover, for highly repetitive texts TM is the most effective tool, such as user guides, patent applications, and service repair information.

cat tool - translation memory

Also read: Translation Memory: Everything You Need To Know

Repetition Leverage

CAT tools are capable of detecting so-called matches – segments from the translation memory which are similar to the segment currently translated.

Moreover, this type of software can also estimate how closely the two segments are matching.

Depending on the CAT tool used to leverage changes.
Here are some examples:

  • 100% match when the segments are completely identical.
  • 101% match when the segments as well as their contexts are completely identical.
  • When a segment repeats in the same file, repetitions occur.
  • Fuzzy matches occur when the segments are not entirely identical. The higher the percentage of the fuzzy match is, the more closely the segments get matched.
  • Concordance matches occur when the CAT tool detects only a partial match between two segments.


Also read: Reduce Localization Costs: 6 Simple Tried & Tested Ways


Quality Assurance

Quality Assurance (QA) is capable of detecting human errors that are usually easily overlooked which in turn improves the general quality of the translation without increasing its price.

Once the translator has completed the translation, the CAT tool automatically runs a quality assurance on the file.

The QA can check the text on many criteria such as:

  • Pre-defined requirements such as punctuation, spaces, numbers, and tags
  • consistent terminology
  • concordance between values and numbers in the source and target text
  • whether identical segments gets translated in the same way

cat tool - quality assurance

Also read: Top Qualities Of A Good Translation

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Benefits Of CAT tools

CAT tools allow for better translation quality and significantly shorter turnaround times which in turn makes the translations considerably cheaper.

But there is more to it:


  • TM speeds up and simplifies the process of translation, especially the translation process of large volumes
  • The reuse of translated segments ensures consistent terminology and language
  • The cloud-based solution allows several translators to collaborate on a project
  • Security features don’t allow the translator to download the file, which is essential for projects containing confidential documents
  • All workflows such as file analysis, translation, proof-reading and quality assurance, and even automatic price calculation are performed in one system.
  • No limitations in terms of file formats (InDesign, HTML, XML, etc.)

A big project should always be executed on a CAT tool.


In a nut-shell, Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools are transformative aids that revolutionize translation. These tools turbocharge the process by recycling past translations, ensuring not just speed but also precision.

Moreover, their collaborative features, powered by cloud-based solutions, dissolve geographical barriers, allowing linguists to work seamlessly together. In a world where communication knows no bounds, CAT tools stand as the linchpin of effective and accurate language solutions, promising enhanced efficiency and collaboration.

Get in touch with us for your next language project.

Are you looking for a reliable language service provider?

Milestone helps you seamlessly translate content & localize your website, products, and services for more reach, better conversions, and greater sales.