5.5 Computers and translation
Translating requires knowledge of both language and culture, as well as problem-solving skills and creativity. A professional translator who has mastered these skills is always better suited to the job than a machine. However, there are aspects of translation that a computer can handle very well, so that human and computer together make an excellent team. In this section you will find out more about the role of computers in translation, and will consider the differences between machine translation and computer-aided translation.
Computer-assisted translation is where professional translators use computers to help them access, develop and search terminology databases, where words and phrases can be entered along with the users’ own translations, sometimes as well as additional contextual information. This method can be time-consuming in the beginning, but can save time in the long run, particularly for specialised translation. A legal translator, for example, may spend hours translating one short piece of text because it contains phrases that need checking against the respective legal systems. Professional translation software will help them to easily reapply this work where appropriate at a later stage.