It takes a lot to be a professional linguist or translator: fluency in at least two languages; some level of expertise in at least one profession; experience in time and project management; excellent “people” skills that enable you to work effectively with a variety of clients; and a solid understanding of not only the language but the cultural morays of the groups who will be reading your translations. But that’s not all that’s required to be a high quality translator; you’ll also need to understand what tools and apps are available to make your job easier and the end result as professional as possible. Listed below are some of the most widely used translation tools and apps currently available.
• Linguee: A web service that combines a dictionary and a search engine, allowing the user to search for bilingual text, word usage, current popular jargon, and contextual translations.
• Glosbe: A free service providing dictionaries for virtually any language.
• Termcoord: A free service from the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, allowing access to glossaries, resources and articles about terminology.
• PerfectIt: A paid service that checks accuracy and consistency, with the ability to be style-guide specific.
• Verifka: A multilingual, paid software that identifies errors in translation, formatting, terminology, consistency, and spelling and grammar.
• Xbench: Available in both free and paid versions, ApSIC Xbench enables the user to load files in any of dozens of CAT formats, and provides quality assurance and terminology management functions.
Project Management/Collaboration Tools
• Trello: Available in both paid and free-of-charge versions, Trello is a multilingual collaboration tool that organizes projects on “boards,” as well as the activities of individuals and teams.
• Asana: Available in both paid and free-of-charge versions, Asana is an English-based web and mobile app that tracks the progress of projects and facilitates communication between team members.
• Portable Kanban: A free, English-based software, Portable Kanban is an excellent choice for freelancers who work independently. This personal task manager keeps track of progress on individual projects, as well as daily events and tasks.
Needless to say, this list is far from comprehensive. In fact, there are quite literally hundreds of tools and apps designed specifically for the use of professional translators and linguists. But don’t take our word for it. Often, the best recommendations come from other professionals in the field. Take an informal survey of other translators to find out what tools they find most useful. Reading online reviews is another way to gain valuable insight. Locating the right translation tools, and utilizing all the features they have to offer, will allow you to produce the highest quality translations possible.