16 online translation tools recommended by translators

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated in October 2019.

The translation process can often be somewhat tedious—sometimes covering a multitude of topics, requiring extensive research and contextual knowledge. Fortunately, the digital revolution triggered the creation of tools, software and resources that helps ease the burden of translation and improve efficiency, consistency and quality. Below is a list of translation tools that are recommended by translators, for translators.

1. Linguee

A crowd favorite, this unique translation tool combines a dictionary with a search engine, so you can search for bilinguals texts, words and expressions in different languages to check meanings and contextual translations. Linguee also searches the web for relevant translated documents and shows you how a word is being translated throughout the internet. It is often used in conjunction with Google Images to help translators and language learners alike.

2. SDL Trados Studio

The most recommended computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool by Gengo Wordsmiths, SDL Trados is a wise investment for full-time translators. This software features TM, terminology, machine translation and software localization. Most large agencies require translators to work with one of the established CAT tools, so using SDL Trados could also increase your client base and broaden your horizons. If you need time to decide before purchase, try a free demo version for 30 days.

translation tools

3. The Free Dictionary

Available in a wide variety of languages, this comprehensive site is a dictionary, thesaurus and encyclopedia in one. Get free access to medical, financial and legal dictionaries, an extensive collection of idioms, acronyms, quotes, and several languages besides English, such as Spanish, French, Portuguese and Japanese. The encyclopedia also has sections updated regularly, providing users a word or article of the day. The free mobile application is compatible with iOS and Android devices.

4. Fluency Now

Fluency Now Professional is a premium CAT tool and translation memory software created for individual freelancers. Available for $9.95 per month, it’s compatible with Mac, Windows and Linux operating systems. For organizations, Fluency Now Enterprise gives access to extra features like Fluency Flow, a project management solution. It also provides a built-in proofreading software and project and document statistics.

5. ProZ

If you prefer interaction and crowdsourcing, then ProZ should be your go-to resource. Home to the world’s largest translation network, ProZ is a portal for professional translators who wish to collaborate on terms translation, dictionaries, training as well as receive access to discounts on translation tools. Translators can ask questions and join forum discussions, too.

6. MemoQ

A translation software designed for freelance translators, MemoQ offers a number of powerful functions that enable you to reuse previous translations. It also has features to help improve quality, check consistency and ensure the use of correct terminology. The 2015 version also has a faster spell-checking feature. See if it works for you by trying the free demo version for 45 days.

translation tools

7. Memsource

A TM database integrated with Gengo to improve efficiency, Memsource is a cloud-based translation environment that provides an effective and efficient project-management tool. Users can further optimize their translation productivity using features like TM, editing and terminology management all within the platform.

8. Translators Café

An online community and forum where you can ask questions and advice from experienced translators. Registration is free for both professional and amateur translators, and members of Translators Café can bid and acquire jobs at no extra cost. Employers may contact the freelancers based on their bids or they can provide their information to translators. Payments are paid directly to freelancers with no escrow accounts.

9. Zanata

A web-based system for translators, content creators and developers to manage localization projects, Zanata handles the entire translation workflow and allows translators to focus on translations, not tools and formats. Its TM also finds and suggests the best translation matches in the entire system. Zanata’s Editor works on any web browser with no installation necessary. Multiple translators can also work on the Editor, with a chat room for real-time communication.

10. WordFast Pro

Wordfast Pro is a standalone, multi-platform TM tool designed to improve the translation process, for anyone from project managers to freelance translators. Unlike other CAT tools, translators can import and export TMs even with the demo version and can be used for an unlimited time. The only limitation is the size of the translation memory (500 units). There’s no need to pay extra for tutorials and support and they provide excellent customer support.

11. SmartCAT

A collaborative CAT tool, SmartCAT streamlines the translation process by allowing the translator, editor, and other contributors to work and collaborate in real time. This cloud-based software leverages the concept of translation memories (TM) and allows translators to create glossaries for consistent translations. In addition, SmartCAT now supports multilingual translation memories, which makes creating and managing TMs easier than with some desktop applications. This feature can also be beneficial for translators working in mixed language pairs.

translation tools

12. Magic Search

For quicker terminology searches, Magic Search is a multilingual search engine that provides one-page search results of multiple dictionaries and other sources for different language pairs. It searches multiple sources such as Word Reference, TAUS, IETA, EUdict, and more. Users may also install a Google Chrome extension in their browser and customize the list of dictionaries and sources they’d like to search.

13. IATE (Interactive Terminology for Europe)

Launched in 1999, IATE, which stands for Interactive Terminology for Europe, is the European Union’s inter-institutional terminology database. This useful resource ensures the consistency and quality of all EU-related written communication. It plays a vital role for translators and language professionals as it covers all 23 official European languages, with 8.4 million terms EU-specific terms, 540,000 abbreviations and 130,000 phrases. Users can rate the reliability of the terms, which are fed into the database by EU terminologists and translators.

14. Microsoft Language Portal

For translators specializing in IT and software, the Microsoft Language Portal lets users search translations of key Microsoft terms and general IT terminology. The term base contains approximately 25,000 defined terms, including English definitions, translated in up to 100 languages. Users can also download the Microsoft Terminology Collection featuring standard terminology terms used across Microsoft products, as well as UI translations, Microsoft Style Guides, and the Microsoft Terminology Service API.

15. OmegaT

A free translation memory tool, OmegaT is an open-source software that allows translators to work more efficiently through fuzzy matching (computer-assisted translation) and automatic match propagation. This tool also uses multiple translation memories simultaneously and allows users to process multiple file projects at the same time. Its powerful tools include the Unicode (UTF-8) support that can be used with non-Latin alphabets; an integral spell checker, and compatibility with other translation memory applications.

16. Website Word Count

This is a free online tool that you can use to calculate repetitions and new words on the websites which are built on WordPress platform. From the developer of Website Word Count herself, Hanna Sles: “I receive many requests daily for English to Russian translation, mostly for website localization. To make it easier to count repetitions and new words on my website, I developed this tool to help translators and customers save their time and efforts. At the end of this year, I am planning to upgrade my tool so that it can also get word counts for websites on other platforms.”

Do you use some of these online tools? Share your thoughts and other recommendations with us!

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Jenie Gabriel

The author

Jenie Gabriel

Jenie creates and coordinates content for Gengo's marketing team. Originally from the Philippines, she was an advertising creative in Singapore before moving to Tokyo. In her spare time, you’ll find her wandering around the city or planning her next escapade.

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