We’re all very happy to see that migration to WPML 2.0 went OK (in 99% of the cases) and we’re continuing to WPML 2.1. The major new feature for this release will be seamless integration with CAT tools.

People who are not familiar with CAT tools deserve a short intro. You can skip it.

We’re not talking about the cats that chase mice, but about Computer Assisted Translation tools. These are programs that help translate better. Better means:

  • More accurately
  • More consistently
  • Free from technical errors
  • More efficiently

CAT tools include translation memories, taxonomy management and neat editors. They let translators concentrate on translating, without having to deal with technical issues.

For example, when translating HTML, translators will not have to deal with markup. They would translate just the texts and the tool will build the valid HTML.

When translators see sentences that they already translated, the tool will remind them what the previous translation was and offer to apply it quickly. It will also remind the translator how important terminology is translated.

Most professional translators have their own CAT tools (e.g., which they purchased) and they use them to in order to be more efficient and earn their living easier.

CAT Tools, WordPress and WPML

As we all know, WordPress holds pages that contain HTML. WPML helps translate those pages by typing in translations to new pages.

To work efficiently, translators need to use CAT tools. These tools will speed up the work and make it better. Translations done using CAT tools will be more accurate than those done by manually typing in text.

Today, in order to use CAT tools, translators need to go to HTML mode, copy the text and paste to their CAT program. They need to manually handle other fields such as title, categories, SEO fields and tags. For larger sites, it proves to be a lot of work.

WPML 2.1 will include an interface to CAT tools via XLIFF files. XLIFF is a universal format for translation. An XLIFF file includes all fields for translation, the text and existing translations.

When translators get XLIFF files, they open them in their CAT tools, work in their favorite environment and save.

Then, they will upload the XLIFF file to WordPress and be done with it. No manual copy/paste, no room for technical error and everything taken care of. Translators only translate and waste no time on anything else.

Which CAT Tools Are You Using?

Seems like we’re back where we started. Now that we know why CAT tools are such a great thing, help us by telling which CAT tools you, or your translators are using.

If you’re using a translation service, send them an email and ask them to comment here. The more people answer, the better we know which tools to support.

Leave your comment with the type of CAT tool and the version you’re using.

8 Responses to “Which CAT Tools Are You Using?”

  1. Well, all that you said about CAT tools is quite right… in theory. In practice, I’ve been forced by some clients to use Trados in order to “speed up” the translation process. However, that piece of… “software” is such an unsightly mess that every time I’ve used it I spent more time battling its interface or bugs than actually translating. Even when it works right, using it adds a 10% time overhead with very few usable advantages, such as the very rare 100% phrase hit. So in answer to your question, none if I can help it. CAT tools are far from a mature technology, unlike WPML. Their makers could learn a thing or two from you.

    • Interesting. Let me tell you our story.

      We’ve written our own CAT tool, called Translation Assistant. It’s available to all the translators in ICanLocalize.

      Our translators keep asking us to allow them to export work to Trados. They say they can do the work x2 faster on Trados than by other means.

      I don’t know which version you’ve used, but the recent Trados versions I saw were pretty good.

      The Translation Memory is often not a big deal, but it’s pretty good for larger projects. What I like the most is the ability to search for phrases across the entire translation history. This way, when you reach something that you don’t remember who you translated 3 months ago, you just search. It immediately shows you the originals and translations. I think that it’s a good thing.

      Besides that, the taxonomy management is pretty important, especially when more than one translator is working on a project.

      • Well I’ve worked with both the old and new version, and had an equal share of troubles with both, though I can understand that it works well for translating interfaces and such, where 100% hits are frequent. When it works, the new Trados is an enormous improvement over the older versions (well, except for the bloat… I don’t think I’ve ever seen so much unnecessary bloat in any one package – last time it installed *two* JREs on top of the one already on the computer). The problems arise when it doesn’t work, and these instances happen unexpectedly. After two days hunting throuh 300+ pages of a document where *one* tag got corrupted, preventing a final export, I’m far from being a happy camper and would need to be *very* hungry to accept a Trados-based assignment.

    • Thanks for the details.

      You probably saw my post about adding CAT support for ICanLocalize too. Well, what you’re seeing here is the work in progress. It’s already working on our development server.

      Now, we’re polishing the interface and will be adding it to WPML.

      • I realise I’m late to the party, but here goes:

        I use Omega-T and Virtaal (mostly for translating language files) and, more rarely, Wordfast Classic for translating Word documents.

        However, I’d prefer to be able to use my translation memory and machine translation services directly from within WordPress. Hey, I can dream! 😉

        This is great news nonetheless 🙂

  2. I use Wordfast: Classic, Pro and Anywhere.
    It’s really brilliant that you take the time to cater for us translators, thanks!