The Difference Between Machine Translation and Computer-Assisted Translation


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Kent State’s M.A in Translation prepares you for your future career, and when it comes to deciding on how to make use of machine translation vs. CAT, we are here to help.

Understanding the difference between machine translation and CAT will allow you to learn more about the tools that translators use on a daily basis. Even though they both are utilized as part of the process of translation, there are quite a few differences that distinguish machine translation and CAT.

Focusing on Computer-Assisted Translation

Computer-assisted translation, also known as CAT, relies on a translation memory to provide translators with suggestions from previous translations to help them work at a faster pace. CAT is crucial in the world of translating content. The technology aids the translation process by supplying the ability to edit, merge, and store translations. With the features of this computer-assisted technology, it facilitates a perfect mix of automation and human efforts.

When looking at the difference between machine translation and CAT, one of the major factors that differentiates the two is that CAT acts similar to a database, as these tools are not fully capable programs that can translate content themselves. Computer-assisted translation enhances user translation by giving assistance from a software tool. By using CAT, you are able to enhance and improve your natural abilities.

Other benefits of using computer-assisted translation tools include:

  • Time efficiency – Computer-assisted translation can result in a quick turnaround time. You also will save time on recurring challenges by correcting repetitive mistakes.
  • Quality – These programs are less prone to error due to the fact that they are effectively programmed. Computers are designed to watch for and store common patterns in translations.
  • Project management perks – By using CAT, you are able to combine all tasks into one single system, reducing time and costs. This will help you to maintain organization, and nothing will go unseen.

Defining Machine Translation vs. CAT

Machine translation is defined as technology that translates based off of a computer algorithm, requiring no human touch. Even though this process revolves around automated translation, the results can often be far from perfect. A translator is crucial because they help with post-editing and ensure accuracy of the translated text.

The difference between machine translation vs. computer-assisted translation is the amount in which the translator is involved. While the translator doesn’t interfere with the actual automated process in machine translation vs. CAT, they play a pivotal role in post-editing. The goal during this process is to remove any translation errors and create an accurate translation of the source text.

Over the years, machine translation has improved greatly, becoming more accurate than ever, at least in some domains and for some language pairs. Along with the improvements, one major additional benefit involves speed.

Machine translation allows thousands of words each minute to be generated. Even though editing may still be required, this is still incredibly useful. Also, if you are needing to sift through a large amount of content, you can quickly search for relevant terms and remember those for later application.

Deciding Between Machine Translation vs. CAT? Kent State Can Help

Just like these tools, Kent State provides resources for you to succeed. We offer six different language combinations to choose from in our M.A in Translation online program, delivering a firm foundation in Spanish, French, Russian, Arabic, German, or Japanese. Plus, by choosing Kent State, you can complete your degree from anywhere in the world, to a schedule that fits for you.

Throughout our curriculum, students expand their skillsets in critical thinking, research, writing, and problem solving, all of which are essential for success. Additional benefits include:

  • Excellent employment opportunities
  • Courses designed by experts in all aspects of translation
  • Access to a virtual multilingual computing laboratory with state-of-the-art software
  • Personal guidance by faculty

Contact Us for Questions on the Difference Between Machine Translation and CAT

We want to be there every step of the way of you discovering your special niche in translation. With the help of our translation tools and our supportive faculty, you will feel confident walking into your new career after you graduate.

Are you interested in working in the field of translation? Be sure to contact us today with any questions! We look forward to hearing from you.