Tools useful in the work of a translator – how to make your daily tasks easier
Working on translations is a dream of many people who are fascinated by languages and the broadly-defined linguistics. Being a part of this industry is associated with many opportunities contributing to your professional growth, but it also has quite a few limitations. You need to know how to make your daily work easier and what tools for translators will help you with this. We have selected several of the most important and best performance-boosting solutions applicable in this industry.
Translator tools that you may find useful
The development of modern technologies has caused thorough changes in many industries. This also applies in the translation services sector. As a result, many tools have been created for the translator that you can use and thus better organise your daily work. CAT tools are an example of the above. They significantly speed up the entire translation process.
What are CAT tools and how to use them?
CAT is an abbreviation of “Computer-Aided Translation”. Tools using this technology are based on translation memory, which is collected in a database and on machine translation. In practice, the user of such software uploads a file for translation into it, which is then processed, and as a result, the translator gets ready suggestions for the translation of specific words, sentences or separate segments of the text. The translator’s task is to verify that the given translation makes sense, and if it doesn’t, the translator needs to adjust the selected parts accordingly. When you complete work in your CAT software, it is worth downloading the target file and checking if the entire text is correct with regard to logical, substantive and syntactic terms.
Although the use of CAT tools is associated with many benefits, primarily the optimisation of working time, it is worth remembering that they will not replace human work, at least for now. Manual verification is still required. It frequently happens that the suggestions are not correct in terms of language or given context, therefore proofreading is a must. This is perfectly visible with the example of DeepL or Google Translate, which are also based on translation memory. Although the quality of translations made using such tools is getting better, the action of an actual human translator is still required.
Tools for video conferencing
You certainly feel that CAT tools are not the only support you need in everyday work. The right tools for the translator also include programmes that allow you to communicate over the Internet with your clients, colleagues or supervisors. This is particularly important in the context of the fact that the work of a translator is essentially remote work. Increasingly, people in this industry are freelancers who need to communicate with others living in different places. That is why solutions such as Jitsi, Google Hangouts or Skype can save you a lot of time.
You will get huge communication possibilities using the Jitsi platform. It will allow you not only to conduct a conversation using audio and video, but you can also share your screen and make a presentation. The great advantage of this tool is the fact that even several dozen people can participate in conferences. In addition, Jitsi developers have created a lot of add-ons, thanks to which you can record all meetings, etc.
How to use Jitsi? There are basically two ways, and one is to use external servers. Creating a chat room requires a simple step – accessing the meet.jit.si website, entering a room name in the form, and sending the generated link to all participants. However, remember that the created link will disappear after some time and if you wish to organise another meeting, you will have to generate it again. The second solution is to install the tool on your own server. Although this requires some IT knowledge, in return you gain, among others, permanent links to meetings organised periodically.
Google Hangouts is a very similar solution to Jitsi. It also makes it possible to create chat rooms where you talk using audio and video. You also have the option to share your screen. The advantage of Hangouts is the fact of integration with your Google account so you can save contacts, make phone calls to people who use Google Hangouts on their mobile devices, and send emails. What’s more, both Jitsi and Google Hangouts are completely free.
Some free features are also available in Skype. Interestingly, its authors have followed the trend and also created the ability to generate a video conference link without having to download the software. Just go to www.skype.com/pl/free-conference-call and click “Create a free meeting”. That’s all! From now on you can send a generated link to people you want to talk to.
However, this is not all, because Skype has become a multifunctional platform that will also work in larger organisations. For example, you can create and manage groups, and allocate subscription funds to them. If you run your vlog or blog, you can also integrate Skype with your channels, thanks to which you can, for instance, share conversations with someone in real time. Some of the advanced features unfortunately require payment, but the cost may be a perfectly successful investment.
Applications for document scanning
Working on translations requires not only facilitating processes with CAT tools or solutions that will allow you to start online conversations. Very often you may need to scan a specific document in order to extract text from image files using OCR technology or send a scan of a certified translation to your client. Scanning applications come in handy here.
What are the available OCR scanning applications?
Recognizing text in a closed image file is a challenge. Basically, you have two options: you can rewrite everything manually or use OCR technology software. If you want to use free OCR tools, it’s worth considering OCR.Space, i2OCR, Fine Reader, Adobe Reader or FreeOCR.net. OCR mobile applications are also available and here you can choose from TextGrabber, CamScanner or Office Lens. It’s entirely up to you which of these solutions you will choose.
What are the available mobile scanning applications?
If you don’t want the OCR feature and only need the document scanning option, you have even more to choose from. The best free mobile applications of this type include, among others Adobe Scan, CamScanner, Fast Scanner, Smart Doc Scanner or Office Lens. As in the case of OCR software, also in this case the choice should be based mainly on your expectations and needs.
How to manage a freelancer’s work time?
An extremely important element of any translator’s work is the proper management of their tasks. Especially when you work for several clients and you have to decide which activities are the priority and which ones can wait to be done later. There are several interesting solutions that will help you organise your work time better. Platforms and applications typically for task management include Asana, HubSpot, Trello and Bitrix24. In the latter app you will find other additional features, such as financial management or an internal messenger.
Translator tools that you may find useful in optimising your working time also include RescueTime. This is an application that collects information about how you use your smartphone. Thanks to this you can check how much time you spend on Facebook and how often you read industry-specific articles, etc. In your daily duties Evernote will help you manage notes, Flipboard will collect information or HeadSpace will make it possible to enter the world of meditation.
Translator tools to help you in your daily work
Translation work is often done as freelance work. Hence, before you decide to join this industry, you should consider whether it meets your expectations and whether you possess the appropriate predispositions. You will also need the right tools to help you work easier, faster and more efficiently.