IN a highly globalized world, there is a huge demand for highly efficient translation. While machine transition may fulfill some of the need, the rest of the work has to be done by efficient human translation. Therefore, for translators in today’s world, computer-assisted translation tools, or CAT tools, are necessary skills to boost efficiency. Among these tools, one of the most popular ones is SDL Trados. Here are some tips for translators who just begin to use this tool.

  1. Before translation: Always remember fun Pseudo Translation. It’s always better to let your clients identify your potential problems and solve them before you start the actual translation job. If something goes wrong after you have translated the whole thing, much more work will have to be done to fix them.
  2. Before translation: Make sure you have the translatable file type. The most common file types that Trados can deal with are doc files, .txt files and excel files. Typical untranslatable file types include pdf. and picture files like jpg. and png. When your client provides you with source texts in untranslatable file types, do contact them to ask for a file in the file type that the file is originally created. You can always right-click on the file, go to “properties” to see which software was the file created by and ask your client for that type of file.
  3. During translation: Translation memories and term bases are extremely useful tools when it comes to hard texts, make use of them! When you are working with fixed clients, TM is a good tool for you. It automatically calls out similar sentences you have translated before. So it saves an extremely large amount of time. The termbase tool that comes along with Trados, SDL multiterm, is a powerful terminology tool for your glossaries. Many of you may have been doing your glossaries using Microsoft Excel. The good news is you can directly import your excel file into multiterm, and then use them in Trados.
  4. After translation: Auto spell check comes in handy when you need to do quality assurance for your final deliverables. Review and QA automation in Trados are nice tools for that. Right-click on the file and open it for review, and find check spelling in the review navigation pane, then Trados will do all the work for you. You can also customize the QA checker. You can make it report an error when it finds unnatural repetition of words, or when the translated segment is way longer/shorter than the original one.

Like any other software, the rule of practice makes prefers also applies to Trados. The only way to master it is to continue using it. It might be frustrating at first, but after you master it, you will discover the power of it.