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Textbook, 2016, 122 Pages
“I don’t translate, I create!” – This is the slogan of a translation agency called “Sternkopf Communications” located in Flöha, Germany. The translators at this translation agency are specialized in the field of marketing and perceive creativeness their daily bread. But what does this actually mean – I don’t translate, I create? Undoubtedly, the translation of a text from one language into another is not an easy and straightforward process. On the contrary, the translator needs to invest much time and one or the other headache before a target text (TT) finally sounds natural, fluent, coherent and logical for the target audience. Different possible translation solutions will have to be considered, language as well as culture-related equivalents often are not easily at hand etc. Would it not be pleasant if machine translation (MT) was there to help with this process?
Yet, despite the enormous importance of creativity in translating, computer-aided translation (CAT) tools are being used frequently by professional translators, not to replace but to support the translator in their daily business. CAT tools enable their users to translate in a more consistent way, since they search source texts for words, phrases or sentences that have already been translated before and stored in the TM so that the translator does not need to translate this text unit again ‘from scratch’.
Considering that this process brings about what could be called ‘semi-mechanical’ TTs, the use of CAT tools seems to stand in stark contrast to the importance of creativity mentioned above. Thus, the question arises whether CAT tools influence the creative energy of translators and, if this is the case, whether translators regard this influence as rather positive or negative. In this context, it is also important to consider which fields of expertise generally demand a high degree of uniformity/consistency in translations and which subject fields generally allow for a high degree of creative freedom.
Accordingly, this paper pursues two related purposes. The first is to compare five CAT tools in their degree of usability. The second purpose is to identify translators’ perspectives on uniformity and creativity in translations with the goal to shedding light on the question whether CAT tools generally tend to positively or negatively influence the translation process on a rather linguistic than technological basis.
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