If you are from the field of translation then you must be aware of CAT tools. However, for those from a non-translation background, CAT tools are not to be confused with cute feline fur babies.
CAT tools, commonly known as computer assisted translation, are an innovative tool for translators. It has proven to be an excellent asset for translators. Similarly, it helps in improving the flow and accuracy of the translation projects.
These tools are somewhat similar to Google Docs or the infamous Grammarly extension. It assists the translators in speeding up the process of translation by showcasing prompts.
However, CAT tools are different from machine based translations. Machine translations actually do the hard work of translating content whereas CAT tools offer suggestions and prompts along with translation memory.
CAT systems have become essential in most enterprises, with significant benefits such as increased productivity, standardized terminology, and reduced translation costs.
Nonetheless, Arabic translation services seem to be one field that CAT tools have failed to crack so far. Many Arabic translators complain about messy formatting and lack of sense in the suggestions generated by the tool. The complexities of language make these instruments unsuitable for use by Arab translators. Or they require in-depth editing.
The Gap Between Arabic Semantics and CAT Tools Abilities
Arabic is a rich language with dense vocabulary and complex symbols. Unlike most European languages, the text also is written right to left instead of the other way around. Likewise, it has a unique grammatical structure making it difficult for CAT tools to be of any help.
Since Arabic is a widely spoken language, every region has its own specific dialects that can complicate matters further. It’s similar to how English dialects are different in the USA, UK, Australia, etc.
Another reason for the language gap is the unique grammatical structure of the Arabic language. It has no capital letters and it makes matters more confusing for the most seasoned translators. However, having cultural understanding is of utmost help in Arabic translation services but CAT tools lack the required expertise.
In cases like these, availing of professional translation services can help you in overcoming the language barriers. With professionally trained and experienced staff, they have SOPs in place that can fulfill your project requirements in a speedy manner.
Lack of Online Learning Resources
Although Arabic has been around for several centuries and is a popular language around the world, there is still a lack of online learning resources. There are several factors that contribute to this such as:
- Diglossia: It is a language phenomenon that occurs when the written text varies from the spoken content. This means that there is a lot of variation between written Arabic and spoken Arabic.
- Ambiguity in Understanding Context: Interestingly enough, Arabic has approximately 12 million letters and sounds that do not exist in other languages. This can make the context vague and complicated to comprehend.
- No Literal Translations: The Arabic language can be quite poetic and often the meaning gets lost in translation. In such circumstances, literal translations are an absolute no-go.
With issues like these, CAT tools fail to grasp the appropriate meaning and suggest relevant prompts. Similarly, it makes the field of Arabic translation services a particularly daunting task.
How to Overcome These Challenges?
As discussed above, it is pretty evident that CAT tools can be incompetent on multiple levels. To get the best results, you need to find a translator who has a deep understanding and contextual knowledge of the Arabic language. Since the translation aspect revolves around various factors such as the target market’s jargon, metaphors, slang, and other linguistic/cultural variances. An expert translator would be able to make the best use of CAT tools.
Ideally translators who have spent time in Arabic-speaking regions are more adept at translating the language in both directions. The top language experts usually have a network of subject matter experts and mentors who assist each other in the various technicalities of the project.
Another strategy is to take aid from the process of transcreation. Transcreation is usually defined as the process of using creativity to tweak the source text to make it appropriate for the target audience. By involving this solution while translating into Arabic language, translators can overcome some of the challenges.
With rapid updates and advancements in the field of technology, CAT tools are constantly improving. Until then the key is to identify the shortcomings of the tool and to be aware of them. As this will help the translators in recognizing the mistakes at the early stages.
Similarly, with the help of experience, subject matter experts, and an intuitive understanding of the language, the CAT tool can be used for basic support. As there is no denying the fact that it saves time and enhances the quality of content along with improving the accuracy rate.