15 Best Translation Software Tools (Professional Use)
Want the best translation software in 2022 for professional translation? Access to the right language translation software tools is a top factor in translating efficiently and accurately.
While language translation application needs might vary by company or translator, there are some necessities that you should always look for when choosing a good translation software program for business. Therefore, this post will spare you hours of sifting through popular translator app reviews and comparisons.
Here are the 15 best professional language translation software tools and features to help your business get high-quality translations while reducing translation costs and conserving your time. Learn which software has all these features at the end of this post.
15 Best Translation Software Tools & Features to Look for
1. Ample Language Pairs (a basic translation software requirement)
An obvious-yet-necessary feature in the best translation software tool is compatibility with the language pairs your team needs translated (or will eventually require). Before you invest in what you consider to be your top option for a translation software program, you should map out the languages you need to translate to and from. These are referred to as language pairs.
For example, you might work with French, English and Chinese. Just because a professional translation software system states it will translate French might mean it translates from French to English, but it doesn’t mean it will translate from French to Chinese (and vice versa).
If you’re uncertain what those are, here are just a few popular commercial language pairs (particularly for English-speaking companies):
2. File Translator Tool (top file types are important)
The best professional translation software programs you’ll find will include tools for file translation. If you come across a translation system without these, stay away.
The program you choose should be compatible with all the file types your company definitely needs to translate. You should also think ahead. This means keeping in mind the additional types of files your company might need to translate in the future.
What’s more, ideally the application won’t only be able to translate files, but it will translate multiple files simultaneously with speed (batch file translation). Since Microsoft Office file translation and PDF translation are popular among enterprises, here are the bare minimum file formats your best file translator choice will include:
3. Automatic Formatting (best translator tool for publishable documents)
If you plan on translating digital files, you want to search for a system that will automatically format *much* of your files for you.
This is hands down one of the best translation software features you can find. This is because it will encode your image placement, font properties, spacing and paragraph breaks and attempt to retain most of the original format as possible.
Otherwise, you will spend more than just minutes reformatting your output file to match the original.
Automatic formatting is particularly useful for the following file types (these commonly require publishable quality):
**Please note automatic formatting isn’t perfect, but it will save you some time.**
4. Copy & Paste Translating
In some instances you won’t need to perform high-volume translations. The ability to gist an email, instant message, or paragraph of text from another website will be your task at hand. This is where a copy-and-paste translation tool will come in handy.
When shopping for professional translation software tools, make sure the program you choose not only includes a file translator, but also the ability to gist translations of small snippets of text via pasting.
5. Translation Memory
Translation Memory is the core component of any scalable translation process. It’s used by every major translation company in the world to lower costs, deliver ongoing quality improvements and reduce the resources it takes to translate. It’s one of the top translation software tools available to businesses focused on their bottom line.
Why Translation Memory is Integral to the Best Translation Software Systems
Translation Memory learns your words and phrases as you translate. As you edit translations within the system, Translation Memory works in the background. It stores your translations as segments in a bilingual repository.
These segments are then used for future translation projects so that you never need to translate the same word or phrase twice. This is particularly useful for organizations using specific technical jargon—especially within content that needs to be updated on a regular basis. Some examples of such materials include owners manuals, organizational code of conduct and HR training materials. Essentially, any content with a long shelf life.
**It’s important to note that human translation is required for you to reap the benefits of Translation Memory.**
6. Professional Translation Editing Tools
Your top translation software option will include the ability to edit translations. This is vital to achieving accurate translations.
This is because any top translator software will typically produce a first draft translation for you using machine translation in combination with Translation Memory. Take note of our calling it a “first draft.” In most cases, the software will give you a file that is predominantly machine translation. This is never going to be as perfect as human translation.
The more obscure or technical the text is that you need to translate, the more human post-editing will be required in order to achieve high-quality translations. Think translating an automobile service repair manual for mechanics from Japanese to English. You’ll need human translation because the translation requires human expertise in that specific subject matter area and for those languages. Machine translation is nowhere near being adequate for this task.
That being said, good professional translation software tools are able to improve the initial draft translations with users’ translation edits. These systems can improve draft translation quality quickly.
Always remember that when it comes to effectively using software for translation, best practices include collaborating with a human translator.
No need for elaboration here. Look for an integrated dynamic spellchecker to eliminate the need to proofread. This way, you can focus on the human translation component.
8. Language Translation Collaboration
The best software tool for translation professionals will support team collaboration. Why? Well, because there is rarely ever just one person completing a translation request.
Bilingual employees are often used to produce translations in global organizations. This means that you’ll need to be able to easily share translations and request editing from within the app interface. Choose cloud-based professional translation software so that you can collaborate with international colleagues.
This way, they don’t need to install software on their computers, and everything related to your translation projects will be accessible in one central hub.
9. Translation Tracking
Speaking of collaboration, it’s important to be able to track the translations that your colleagues contribute on a translation project.
The best translation software tools will include translation edit history. You’ll want to be able to see the details tied to each segment of edited text, including date and timestamp, the editor’s name and what was changed.
10. Speech Translation
Does your organization produce audio and video for internal purposes such as employee training? A translation software system that allows you to get text-to-speech translations as audio files will come in handy for global training initiatives.
It’s handy to receive an audio file for an uploaded script, in the target language. You’ll save money because you won’t need to hire voice talent. If voice-over translation is important to your organization, make sure you define which languages you need voiceovers for. Additionally, look for mobile speech translation and transcription capabilities for 1:1 conversations.
You’ll want to be sure that the most common commercial languages are available in any CAT tools you use.
11. Live Human Support
Top-notch professional translation software applications will provide you with 24/7 live human support. After all, your new investment should save you time in all respects.
Don’t buy a program from a company that won’t give you the chance to get live support when you need help. CAT tools can require technical assistance, so this is an important consideration.
12. Robust API Access
Does your company like to integrate its software systems with each other? If so, translation API access is important–but it should include the features listed above. Before you purchase professional translation software, make sure it not only gives you the option to access its API, but make sure it allows you to make API calls that don’t just deliver raw machine translation.
13. Enterprise Security
The best professional translation system is one that comes with high standards for security. Reason being, any company that uploads its data into software is at risk of a data breach. Prevent this by looking for enterprise security in your translator application.
Look for multifactor authentication, single sign-on, encrypted file storage, SSL certification, PCI-compliant payment processing.
14. Compliance with Specific Mandates
If your organization needs to adhere to strict data compliance laws due to the industry in which it operates, compliance with specific mandates is important to look for in business translation software. This may include GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation) and HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).
If this is important to your organization, make sure this is available as an option so that you choose the best professional translation software possible.
With any software that you use, you need to check the Terms of Service to make sure they don’t reserve the right to use your data in ways that your company disapproves of. You don’t want the translation software company to repurpose your data in any way that could compromise the confidentiality of your data. This includes sharing, indexing or publishing it.
Recommended Best Professional Translation Software Tool
At Pairaphrase, we developed the all-around best professional translation software tool available on the market today. This is because we’re hyper-focused on ease-of-use combined with the powerful technology you need to get smart, safe and fast translation.
With multiple options available to support your organization’s specific needs, we’re here to support you as your organization grows. Not to mention Pairaphrase includes all of the 15 features we list above, plus more.
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