GTT? Google Translator Toolkit

What is GTT? Well, it is just the acronym of Google Translator Toolkit, a feature of Google that is especially designed to help you translate texts and that is actually VERY different from our old friend (or enemy?) Google Translate.

Of course I do not want to advertise Google products and denigrate other softwares, but I think GTT provides an easy way to get a brief insight into the world of CAT tools (Computer Aided Translation… maybe it rings a bell as Valerio wrote about them a while ago) and how they work.

All you need to do is sign in with a Gmail account and then have fun! I found the interface very interesting because it is actually quite similar to those of the most widely used translation programmes such as SDL Trados and Atril DéjàVu.

You have the source text – the text you have to translate – in a column on the left, whereas the target text – the proper translation that you will deliver – is on the right of the screen.

The text is divided into segments, usually according to full stops. Of course sometimes it is necessary to merge or split them, since not all languages like short sentences. For example, Italian sentences are generally longer than English ones.

It is also possible to use a TM, simply another acronym of Translation Memory. Basically, this is a database of past translations and parallel texts that can be helpful when you translate.

In this way, you do not have to remember every single sentence you translated by heart, but can rely on the computer to help you by providing relevant past entries.

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However, do you see the difference?

YOU are in charge and decide on what is to be kept and what suggestions to discard. In addition, you can have a glossary, which is another database of single words that are always translated in the same way. You can also add an explanation for that word. In more advanced software, you can even have termbases with several languages and features such as examples, usage and images.

I think it would be quite hard to be a translator with only this software, but I think it is worth giving it a go, if only to gain insight on the difference between Google Translate, that is a machine translation, and proper human input, which I for one trust a lot more!