Translating can be stressful; the meeting of two worlds, two cultures, and two languages. What did that person really mean? What is the correct word in the target language? The principal responsibility of a translator is to create transparency between people who need to communicate but speak different languages. And the job has to be done quickly and efficiently.
Equally important, translators are sometimes required to send sensitive and private information online. In this age of technology, hackers, identity fraud, and cyber extortion are on the rise. How do you protect your privacy and that of your client? Technology has made translating easier, but cybersecurity harder.
The following are five useful apps to increase productivity, improve security, and make your life easier.
CAT (computer-assisted translation)
Machine translators are not known for being accurate. Instead, they have been good at providing a laugh. Unfortunately, some translating apps are more of a hindrance than a help. Yet, they’ve come a long way since their invention.
Linguee not only has an excellent dictionary, but it also gives you the option of seeing how the word has already been translated in different contexts, giving you a more accurate understanding of the word and the ways it is used. This feature offers you the opportunity to choose which use best fits the translation you’re working on. Other CAT apps are SDL Trados and Smartcat.
A Bilingual Dictionary
A good dictionary is a must-have for any translator, and WordReference is more than just a dictionary. It supports several major languages and even has a forum where you can ask questions about unfamiliar expressions. If you can’t find what you’re looking for in their expansive dictionaries, they have a Q&A forum you can search. If no one has asked the question you’re looking for, you can post it on the forum. They make it very clear in the forum rules that they are not there to give language lessons. They expect the questions to be specific that a translator would ask, not a language learner.
Editing and Proofreading
Your final translation needs to be perfect. Perfection is not easy when translating ideas. It’s even harder when the words sound natural in one language, therefore sounding natural in the target language (even though it’s not). It takes great concentration to catch those mistakes. Grammarly flags inconsistencies and helps make sure you have the right word, even giving you synonym suggestions. At this time, Grammarly only supports English. However, you can choose which English you want to use to check your grammar and spelling. Are you translating for someone in England, the United States, Canada, or Australia? You have the option to switch to the grammar and spelling rules of that country’s style of English. Hemingway is another exceptional app that lets you know when you overuse a word or have passed the limit on passive verb usage.
Have you ever had a client send you a document you couldn’t edit? That can be frustrating, and it’s usually a PDF. PDFescape reduces the frustration by allowing you to import the document directly online or to the app. In fact, you can drop the PDF right into their website on the landing page, definitely making your life easier.
A Good VPN
What is a VPN? It is a virtual private network. That definition didn’t help, you say? When working online, your information is not completely secure. It’s like walking on a crowded street in the middle of New York City. Do you want to display your client’s sensitive information so that everyone who happens to pass by can see it? No? Then you need a VPN. It protects both your privacy and your client’s sensitive information. It provides an encrypted connection and uses a remote server that hides your identity and location. It’s like leaving that busy New York City street and ducking into a bank vault.
A VPN is especially useful if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network. This world is full of hackers, computer viruses, malware, and phishing, so don’t take chances with your security. Get a good VPN. It’s the easiest way to protect sensitive information.
A translator’s job is not easy. Correctly transmitting ideas from one language to another is just the beginning. Now cybersecurity and privacy issues are becoming a major concern. However, the challenge of accurately and securely transmitting ideas and documents will now be easier with these five apps.