As  you know, I also teach, and one of “my” subjects also involves translation tools or CAT tools. The main point of using them is to reuse already translated text (usually divided into segments). This serves not only to save time, but also helps consistency and supports quality.

This week, I was talking with another teacher (who does general translation with the students), and she told me that she just discovered the book “101 things a translator needs to know” by the WLF Think Tank (more information is available here). I have had the book for a while but hadn’t looked at it recently, so I paged through it again and came across #61:

Beware of recycling
Recycling materials is a great idea; recycling translations can be more problematic.
The idea of recycling translated blocks of texts – often referred to as segments – sounds promising at first. But demanding translators know there’s no such thing as a universal equivalent of even the simplest segment.
Be careful when tempted to recycle. There may be issues relating to style, register, meaning, or even all three. To be effective, a message must be tailored to the individual situation.

While I absolutely agree with checking everything (including matches, especially if the hits are not my own or from a different project, client, etc.) and tailoring the translation to each individual situation, I find this admonition a bit strong.
In my opinion, it totally depends on the translation task (same client? same project? same subject field? same type of text?) whether using a CAT tool is advisable or not, and if so, to what extent. And I am a firm believer of not doing things more than once, if it’s not absolutely necessary, so I tend to fall on the side of using it much more frequently than not.

But what do you think? CAT tools yes? No? Depends (and if so, on what)?
Please comment below!

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