Cloud Translation Blog
15 Best Professional Translation Software Tools
Want the best translation software for professional translation in 2020? Access to the right 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 business translation software program or application.
With this post, you can spare yourself hours of sifting through popular translation app reviews.
Here are the 15 best professional translation software tools and features to help your business get high-quality translations while reducing your costs and conserving your time.
Top 15 Translation Software Tools & Features to Look for
1. Ample Language Pairs
The most important feature in a best-in-class 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 tool, 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).
2. File Translation Tool
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).
3. Automatic File Formatting
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.
**Please note automatic formatting isn’t perfect, but it will save you some time.**
4. Copy & Paste Translation
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.
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. 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 the 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 spellchecker to eliminate the need to proofread, so you can focus on the human translation component.
8. Translation Collaboration
The best software tool for translation professionals will support team collaboration. Why? 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. Voice-Over 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 output 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.
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.
The best professional translation system is one that comes with high standards for security. Why? Any company that uploads its data into software is at risk of a data breach.
Look for two-step authentication, 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), HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act), or SOX (Sarbanes Oxley).
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.
Recommendation for the 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.
Schedule a live demo today.
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