About cats, or what CAT we have chosen for synchro podcasts

    Cats are not simple animals, and although the Cheshire cat is considered the most advanced speaker among them, our Vaska from Lukomorye tales speaks no worse than the British. In this post we will tell you about how we chose CAT (Computer-Aided Translation - an automated translation system) for sync Podcasts, which one and why.


    No matter how hard you study English grammar or bite words, it will not help to understand English by ear. To learn how to catch the meaning of what has been said, you need to listen, listen and once again listen to English speech. That is why at the end of 2017 we released a new product - synchro podcasts - training videos with video, audio and synchronized text.

    Synchronous podcasts allow you to simultaneously listen to English speech (the text is read very legibly, at a slow pace), to see the corresponding events on the screen and read the translation of the current speech fragment.

    Creating synchro podcasts is a difficult process, but due to the fact that the material must meet the usual training form (typical timbres, clear articulation, pronunciation, close to the reference), here it is possible to apply automated translation technology. For those who are not in the subject: automated translation and machine translation are not the same thing. The term “machine translation” refers to an action when a text is translated from one natural language to another using special software. Automated translation is different in that the whole translation process is carried out by a person, the computer only helps him to produce a finished text either in less time or with better quality.

    Which CAT systems we analyzed when choosing

    Starting the creation of synchro podcasts, we, of course, surveyed a wide arsenal of CAT systems. If you try to search for such programs in Google or Yandex, one of the first in the list will be a CAT-system Deja Vu.

    Deja vu. This is a very simple program, without heaps and unnecessary functionality, developed by the Spanish company Atril Language Engineering, specializing in the development of computer systems for automating the work of translators and translation agencies. But there are not too many opportunities. Dignity - takes up little space on the computer.

    Deja vu xcan create projects and work with Microsoft Word, Rich Text Format, Windows Help, Microsoft Excel, Micosoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Access, OpenOffice / StarOffice, Adobe FrameMaker MIF, Adobe InDesign, Adobe PageMaker tagged text, QuarkXPress XTG, Interleaf ASCII, HTML, ASP / ASP.NET, PHP, JavaScript, VBScript, HTML Help, SGML, XML, RC, C / C ++ / Java, Java properties, Trados TagEditor TMX, Trados WorkBench documents, TradosTag TTX, Trados TagEditor TMX, GNU PO and POT files and ASCII files.

    Version Deja Vu X Standard is designed for freelance translators who want to have a simple and convenient tool for work. Allows you to create full-fledged projects, but it lacks some of the automated features that are in the Professional version.

    The target group of the professional version is the same freelance translators. But Déjà Vu Professional already has such automated functions as pretranslation, autosearch for databases, automatic substitution of translations for all similar segments on a project, autocompletion of databases, as well as autoassembly of translations from fragments stored in databases. Using the functions of the Lexicon allows you to create glossaries on the basis of translated projects, determine the frequency of use of terms and use the resulting glossaries for quality control.

    For agencies and translation departments released version Deja Vu Workgroup . This is quite a powerful tool that includes all the functions of the Professional version, and is supplemented with functionality for organizing teamwork, project management and integration.

    Deja Vu X TeaM Server is an even more advanced system that allows Deja Vu X2 Workgroup users to share real-time databases worldwide. Provides uniformity and performance, reduces project costs. Different licensing schemes can reduce or completely eliminate the manual administration of projects.

    MemoQ is another widely used CAT system. Localizers love it, because, unlike others, it is compatible with Excel files. In MemoQ, you can upload different types of files, and it is not choosy for their size and content. But it has an unusual functionality, and many users who have experience with other systems, at first have difficulty in setting up.

    Multiterm- the program that translators use to create a translation database is popular in highly specialized communities that translate texts on specific topics. One of the advantages of MultiTerm is the ability to create glossaries for use in CAT systems, which can later be manually connected to automated systems. But there are drawbacks. The program does not have a friendly interface, and it is quite difficult for beginners to understand the settings.

    Across is also a fairly popular system with a simple interface. But the attitude towards it is ambiguous. The whole thing in the "transparency": the project data are in the public domain. Such a system can be used if the issue of data protection is not relevant.

    Xtm- A complex system used by large companies for industrial purposes. Designed for large-scale projects and large amounts of data. The main thing is to be able to properly configure it. Then it will be convenient for users to work with it, they will save a lot of time. But translators, this program is unlikely to work.

    TRADOS.All of the above systems are inferior in one way or another to a bright leader among commercial systems - Trados. This product was developed by the German company Trados GmbH, and is one of the world leaders in this class. The system has a huge number of advantages. Among the key - at the moment Trados supports 93 languages ​​(more than all other systems). And in terms of the volume of the translation memory base, it is the best known to us. Among the shortcomings can be noted specific interface. However, the convenience of the interface is a matter of taste and habits. There are problems with the support of some formats. It is picky about the size and type of files (for example, it is inferior in this parameter to MemoQ). And Trados does not know how to extract text from pictures.

    SmartCAT.This is a free cloud-based browser environment that enables a team of translators to work together. Of course, SmartCAT is not the first in its class. But in many ways it is ahead of its peers, both paid and free. Why this happened, it becomes clear if we take an interest in the origin of this system. Initially, the developer of SmartCAT was ABBYY, and it was this that laid the broad functionality in the product. Today Smartcat is an independent company.

    Why we chose SmartCAT

    Let us consider the functionality of the system. Its main trump card is the numerous linguistic resources that facilitate the work of translators with similar texts containing standard phrases and sentences. As a rule, these are generally accepted terms - technical, legal, economic, scientific, etc., descriptions of goods and services, business documentation and much more. Here the key role is played by the Translation Memory bases - the translation memory bases. In them are stored once translated texts. It is clear that these databases are constantly updated with new translations.

    Another important resource is glossaries, which contain terms and concepts used in a particular industry or company. SmartCAT allows you to accumulate and maintain up-to-date corporate glossaries and provides performers with the correct data. And automatic checks guarantee quality control of the translation, detecting inconsistencies in terms and dates, and noting spelling, punctuation and other errors.

    Of course, SmartCAT can also perform machine translation.
    These system resources facilitate the work of a person using CAT. The system offers translation options for individual fragments, based on existing texts from translation memory databases and a glossary with corporate terminology. The translator can simply use the proposed option, either edit it, or, as a last resort, translate the text on his own.

    Special mention should be made of the file formats supported by the SmartCAT system. Their list is quite impressive: bmp, dcx, pcx, png, jp2, jpc, jpg, jpeg, jfif, tif, tiff, gif, pdf, djvu, djv, jb2, docx, doc, txt, rtf, odt, xlsx, xls , ppt, pptx, potx, pps, ppsx, odp, ttx, sdlxliff, xlf, xliff, srt. It is noteworthy that in the above list there are a lot of graphic formats. This is a nice legacy of ABBYY. Often translators have to work with documents not in the form of text, but in the form of images. To extract text, it must first be recognized. SmartCAT is integrated with ABBYY OCR technology: just upload a graphic file and the system will extract the text for translation. If you at least once had to manually enter the text, looking at the picture, you will appreciate the beauty of using OCR technology.

    Another compliment from ABBYY is the ability to use Lingvo dictionaries. Small, but still convenience, when everything you need to translate at your fingertips.

    When the words “cloudy environment” appear in the description of the system, many potential users reflexively tense up: “And what about security? Will my data be stolen? ”Let's be honest: you can hack anything. Just the expediency of hacking is determined by the ratio of time spent and effort, and the result. In the SmartCAT system, data is stored in a Tier 4 data center and transmitted over secure channels, and the level of access to materials is regulated using a rights distribution system.

    Concluding a brief description of SmartCAT, we add that the system interface is intuitive to anyone who has ever worked with CAT tools: you will see the original text and translation in the usual place, the window of matches with the translation memory and glossary. There is a separate window for searching in memory, glossaries and dictionaries, and another window for the results of quality checks, history of changes in the text fragment and comments.

    Well, a few more functions and features that can not be passed over in silence.

    1. The project management panel allows you to track current projects, deadlines, the volume of transfers and designated artists at any time. There are no restrictions on the number of projects or the volumes of translation memory bases and glossaries. Therefore, we can connect an unlimited number of artists to projects.
    2. Implemented integration with corporate systems. You can send materials to translate and receive ready-made texts directly on corporate portals or information management systems implemented in the enterprise.
    3. Chat function Translators, editors and managers working on the project can quickly discuss current issues. Messages are displayed in the comments window.
    4. Using the cloud provides independence from the operating system used by the translator.
    5. The system is presented in two versions: for corporate users and for freelance translators. The freelance version is free: to get started, just register on the site ru.smartcat.com .


    Having thoroughly analyzed the entire arsenal of noteworthy CAT systems, in the final we chose from two: Trados and SmartCAT. Comparison of their functionality has shown that approximately 95% (this is a subjective assessment of the author), these systems are identical. On the one hand, a greater number of supported languages ​​and a larger amount of Trados translation memory base, on the other hand, a friendly interface, support for graphic formats and the ability to extract text from images, less demands on file size, lots of useful additional features and free SmartCAT.

    In the end, we chose SmartCAT. And although the Briton Тrados (today the system belongs to the British company SDL International) is good and in fashion, the Russian CAT system surpasses the foreign analog in a number of parameters and is easy to use, convenient and not capricious.

    Konstantin Gerashchenko, editor of Puzzle Online, an online educational resource

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