In the technological era that we live in, more and more online tools are available to translators. The advantage of these tools is that they do not require the installation of a computer program since the data is stored on the Cloud most of the time. Moreover, they enable different people to work on a project simultaneously, regardless of the time or place. But how do these online options differ from their offline alternatives ?
There are several computer-assisted translation tools (CAT) that are fully available online. These tools, such as WordFast Anywhere or Memsource, are often free and more adequate than their free offline counterparts. Therefore, the features of an application like OmegaT can pale in comparison to the ones of their competitors. It is true that these tools possess a wide range of functionalities, but they often require in-depth knowledge and tedious manipulations.
On the other hand, major tools like MemoQ and SDL Trados are renowned for their power and, in terms of CAT, are celebrated worldwide. Some of their features, at first seen as accessories, have gradually become essential for the comfort they provide to translators. For instance, the autocomplete functionality might seem anecdotal, but it saves time and speed to translators who cannot work without it.
On their part, the CAT environments seem to be a decent compromise between accessibility and automated features. Being easier to use than Trados or MemoQ, but simpler than tools like OmegaT, online versions seem to be a good way for beginner translators to discover CAT tools. However, experienced translators might probably opt for alternatives that are more expensive yet more powerful.
Dictionaries and Termbases
The situation of dictionaries and termbases is far easier to identify. Regarding information, the Internet is a great and inexhaustible source. So yes, you can use it for your research, but you must remain watchful.
For translators, the internationalization caused by the Internet mostly affects the different varieties of languages. Thus, termbases such as TradooIT and Termium provide perfectly reliable information… for the people of Quebec. This issue can be found in many other languages : for example, differences between British English and American English, between Portuguese and Brazilian Portuguese or between Castilian Spanish and Rioplatense Spanish.
Thus, the main problem with online dictionaries and termbases is the source of information and its reliability. After all, choosing good sources is also one of the translators’ tasks.
Translated by Sarah Deville