Translators use a variety of different tools when translating text. These software products can be a huge benefit to the translator, helping to ensure consistency and high quality, as well as making the entire translation process much more efficient. There are many choices when it comes to choosing a software to aid in translating, including products such as:

• SDL Trados – CAT (computer-assisted translation) tool compatible with other popular CAT tools that are often used by translators’ clients
• Linguee – Web-based tool that combines a dictionary with a search engine
• Fluency Now – CAT tool that features project management capabilities and built-in proofreading software
• MemoQ – Translation software with memory and search functions that allows translators to reuse portions of previously translated texts

The list above includes only a few examples of the tools available to assist translators in their tasks. There are others as well. But no matter what tool you use, there are some helpful tips and shortcuts that can streamline the translating process. Here are some of those:

Choose the right style of keyboard

The low-profile keys that come with laptop keyboards may make it easier to type, but this type of integrated keyboard doesn’t give you the flexibility that an external keyboard does – one that allows you to set your monitor at a good height and move the keyboard to wherever you prefer it to be. Think about your own work habits, then choose a keyboard that best accommodates those habits.

Fine tune your typing skills

If you don’t already know the keyboard by heart, it’s time to learn! Having the ability to “touch type” (i.e., type without looking at the keyboard) is an absolute necessity for language professionals, including translators. Fortunately, there are a multitude of sites online that will help you to improve your typing skills.

Find keyboard shortcut information for your particular software

Most of us know that there are shortcuts for MSWord – such as using Ctrl+Z to undo an action, or Ctrl+S to save a document. These shortcuts are handy for just about anyone using Microsoft Word, whether you’re a translator or not. Fortunately, Microsoft provides complete information regarding these shortcuts for each release of Word via their website. But they’re not alone. No matter which software you use, there are always keyboard shortcuts that can speed up the process involved in using it. Check the website of the software manufacturer for a list of shortcuts. SDL, Linguee, Fluency Now and MemoQ, for example, all provide users access to keyboard shortcut information in one form or another. Some software includes a separate menu for keyboard shortcuts, while others provide a printable list of shortcuts. If the list of shortcuts for your translation tool is not obvious once you begin using the software, check the manufacturer’s website to find out how to obtain shortcut information.

Translating can be a complicated process. But the good news is that there are plenty of high quality tools available to help translators do a better job and do it faster than ever before. Now it’s up to you to find the right translation tool for you, and to take the time to learn it well enough so that you can optimize its efficiency.