Optimising your source data for CAT tools

We get files to translate in a variety of formats; MS Word, Excel, Powerpoint, pdf to name but a few. Using CAT tools (Computer-Assisted Translation) like Trados SDL or Across means that we can offer discounts to customers for repeated words or segments which occur in not only the source file, but have been translated in the past for that client.

There are, however, a few tips which make the leverage of these CAT tools much better. A few are listed below:

  • Separate numbers from SI units (e.g. 1 cm rather than 1cm)
  • Use hard carriage returns at the end of paragraphs; line breaks mess up segmentation in the CAT tool and mean that your repeated segments may not register as such. It also means that the final translation needs further manual editing to ensure that there are not short lines in the justified text.
  • For lists, use consistent formatting and word order throughout. (Again, remember to keep numbers separate from the text where at all possible!)
  • Where possible, send a machine readable file. Scanned pages in a pdf are not normally suitable for CAT tools. If you can get the original version of the file, so much the better.
  • Spell check the document! Spelling mistakes will mean that the segments are not recognised as being similar if they are repeated with the spelling correct.

These are just a few tips, if you would like to find out more, please contact us.

To get a free, no-obligation quotation for your translation needs – including any discounts for CAT tool leverage – please use our Get a quote form. Your data will be securely passed to our server and we will get back to you just as soon as we can.

Also available in: German