Essential tools for translators

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Learn more about the key resources translators use

Document translators are one of the most important professionals in today’s globalized world. The work of translators is key to people and companies around the globe.

The importance of this professional is no secret, but many people don’t know that translators need software solutions, applications, books and other tools to effectively perform their translations, with the agility and efficiency customers need.

Let’s check the key resources translators use to improve their productivity and efficiency, without giving up on outstanding performance.

Key tools used by document translators

Just like any other professional that uses tools to help perform their jobs with excellence, the same happens with translators.

CAT tools

CAT means computer-assisted translation, also known as translation memory. CAT tools are intended to support the work of translators.

The dangers of automatic translation are widely known, and they make you think that automatic translation is not the best option for document translators, but the truth is that CAT tools operate quite differently.

Today’s online translators are not that literal and can understand slangs and special terminology, but that is not enough when a professional service is required.

CAT tools translate words in a certain text according to a previous translation made by the translator himself, i.e. not an automatic translation. This helps you understand why it is also known as translation memory.

In practice, consider that a text contains the English expression “to kill two birds with one stone”, which can be literally translated into Portuguese as “matar dois pássaros com uma pedra”, although in Brazil the commonly used expression is “matar dois coelhos com uma cajadada só”. This would be the translation chosen by the translator in the CAT tool.

So if he is working with a text that brings the same English expression again, the tool will provide him with the result “matar dois coelhos com uma cajadada só” in Portuguese. This is also applicable to all other expressions encountered by document translators and translators working with other contents.


Despite the fact they are professional translators, they don’t know all the words in a particular language. Just think about your own native language, you don’t know every word.

Generally, technical terminology is more difficult to translate because it isn’t commonly used in everyday language. Technical terminology can belong to different fields of expertise, such as engineering, medicine, chemistry, physics, biology, among others.

Dictionaries are one of the most traditional and efficient translation tools, since they do not only translate words, but also provide an explanation of their meaning. This helps translators understand whether a certain word is the best option for the context in question.

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This word can be even translated as “tesauro” in Portuguese and Spanish, although the term is not used that way. This is a very common tool for document translators whose application is different compared to that of a dictionary.

A thesaurus lists words in groups of synonyms and related concepts, which is really useful for finding terms that could fit better in the context being translated.

For example, a translator may use a dictionary to get the definition of a word, but that word may not be the right one for the text. The translator will then look for synonyms in a thesaurus, and try to get their definitions in order to choose the most appropriate terminology.

Word counter

Document translators and translators working with other contents charge their fees based on a standard page, a standard measure used to calculate the size of a translation service.

You have to understand that standard pages are used in order to understand how a translation job is quoted and charged. Generally, literary translation standard pages have 25 lines with 70 characters each (1,750 characters in total), for example.

For this reason, translators can also use word counters, found in most text editors, to know the length of the document they are working with and then estimate their translation fees.

Some websites and software also calculate the number of words in a text, although the option available in text editors is usually simpler.

Planning apps

Although its use is optional and not directly related to the translation job itself, it is recommended that document translators use planning apps to plan their daily, weekly, and monthly activities.

Options such as spreadsheets, calendar apps and others are available that are directly related to planning, such as Trello, Asana and, according to the preference of each professional.

In addition, translators can use physical options such as notebooks, planners, and calendars, which can be more effective depending on the profile of each document translator and their preferences.

Translation tools: essential for the provision of effective services

Technology can help us in virtually any segment, and this also applies to translators, who need the best tools to operate efficiently, simply, quickly and assertively.

By using effective tools, the chances of making mistakes are lower and productivity increases considerably. This is great when performing your job.

Fidelity is a translation agency where every translator working with documents, technical articles, software solutions and other content uses the best and most appropriate tools to provide high-quality services and exceed customer expectations.

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