Guide to Choosing CAT Tools: How to Survive the Excess Choice

December 14, 2022
Natalie Thorburn

Nowadays, you can choose from various translation tools that can help you be more productive and complete translation projects faster. Although they may not always be 100% precise, the amount of time you will save using them is immeasurable. Working with computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools is simple and fast: submit the original content, and the tool will help you translate it quickly and efficiently.

Whether you are translating website content or software interface elements, reliable CAT tools will help you automate the process of converting texts from one language to another. The increasingly complex requirements of business localization strategies have inspired the development of these great tools. They should be used whenever they can be useful to us, which will prove to be very often with big localization projects. Incorporating them into your regular work will speed things up, and increase your team's productivity and efficiency.

Things to consider when choosing a CAT tool

With so many CAT tools on the market, it can be challenging to choose the best one for your company. To help you make an educated decision, here are the most important aspects you should consider from the start:

Your translation needs

The right CAT tool can help your team navigate the complexities of translation and meet deadlines without sacrificing quality. When businesses are trying to conquer global markets, they must go through localization, because if the content the company uses to communicate with their audience feels foreign and artificial, it may harm their business. Aside from translation, localization requires an in-depth understanding of the cultural context of the new market.

While conventional collaboration tools are a good place to start, purpose-built, integrated platforms tailored to the requirements of localization teams, which deliver real-time, complex, and continuous software assets are what can help establish trust and transparency across an organization, as well as quality and consistency.

Your industry

Business jargon abounds in nearly every industry, and sometimes you may even use it without realizing it. However, it can be confusing to people who are not familiar with your field. Luckily, CAT tools come with a glossary feature.

A glossary is a list of specialized terms used in a certain field or organization. Thanks to this feature, translators can learn the meaning of the terms, how to translate them, and even decide if they need to translate them, since terms like the brand name or the feature names may stay the same in the target language. Furthermore, this shared terminology database will guarantee that even if various translators have participated in the project, the translation will be consistent.

Quality, accuracy, and consistency

A translation memory (TM) used by CAT tools is a file (or a set of files) in which there are at least two language versions of a given text. To make it clearer, let's put it this way: every word or phrase translated by the tool is saved in the database. Thanks to the TM, the tool remembers the given sequence. Therefore, the more translations completed in a CAT tool, the larger the database will become

The ability to search through completed translation projects is an essential component of any TM function. To verify how a term interacts with bigger parts of already translated material, translators can use concordance search to examine how many occurrences of that term already exist in the translation database.


To ensure that no errors were introduced into the translation process, quality assurance (QA) features can help check automatically for double words, excessive spaces between words, or typos. Furthermore, QA will help you improve accuracy with built-in grammar and spelling checkers that highlight issues like missing or incorrect punctuation and spaces between words, inconsistent HTML, etc.


Saving numerous hours of back-and-forth during a design or development cycle, in-context editing tools give you a sense of what translations will look like in real-time. It's far easier for a translator to produce a natural, correct translation of a phrase or sentence if they can see the context in which it's used. This feature can be a huge time-saver for project managers and teams working on translations in many languages with their nuances and their completely different characteristics.


With so many CAT tools available, you need to make sure that the one you choose is capable of providing you with the best results. Incorporating the right one into your translation project or localization strategy is a great way to guarantee quality and good results while saving time and money.


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