Smartcat is a great tool for translators. Cloud-based, intuitive, and, best of all, free, Smartcat has firmly established itself as one of the top choices for freelance translators. Like any tool, Smartcat has a few features that are not directly obvious but can make a big difference in productivity.
In this blog post, we will explore some of these, and how they can help you work smarter, not harder.
Glossaries are an essential part of any translator’s toolkit. Many translators actually keep spreadsheets or other lists of terms that they need to remember for specific clients or projects. Smartcat has a built-in glossary feature that can save you time and hassle.
To create a glossary, go to Menu > My linguistic assets > Glossaries. You can also create a new glossary when you’re creating a new project.
If you’ve ever translated user manuals or other documents where there is a lot of repetition, you know how frustrating it can be to keep translating the same phrases over and over. A translation memory (TM) can help with that: it’s a database of previously translated phrases that you can access while working on a new translation.
You can create a new TM in Smartcat by going to Menu > My linguistic assets > Translation memories. You can also create a new TM when you’re creating a new project.
It’s one thing to have a sentence in a translation memory, but it’s another thing to need to insert it manually every time. This can be especially frustrating for documents that have the same text repeated over and over. Smartcat’s pretranslation feature can help with that: it automatically inserts sentences from your translation memories into your new document, so you don’t have to do it manually.
You can turn on pretranslation during project creation or at any time under [Project page] > Pretranslation tab.
Now that we’ve mentioned pretranslation, it’s worth mentioning that you can also use machine translation (MT) for this. This way, you can get a “rough draft” of your translation and make your edits on top of it. Smartcat supports a dozen machine translation engines, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs. Of course, we don’t recommend using MT for everything, but it can be a great time-saver in some cases.
You can turn on machine translation-based pretranslation in the same way as for translation memories but choose the respective insertion rule.
If you work with multiple clients, you know that sometimes different clients translate the same terms in different ways. To avoid “polluting” your translation memories and glossaries with multiple versions of the same term, you can group projects by the client in Smartcat. This way, you can be sure that your glossaries and TMs are always up-to-date with the latest client terminology.
To group projects by client, you need to first create one at Menu > Clients and then choose it when creating a new project.
We’ve all been there: You find a term you’re sure you’ve translated before, but you can’t remember how you translated it. A concordance search lets you search your translation memories for a specific term or phrase to see how you’ve handled it in the past.
To do a concordance search, go to [Document page] > CAT info > Concordance search tab and enter the term you want to search for. You can search both source and target languages.
Even if you’re well-versed in translation memories, things can get tricky if you have dozens (or hundreds) of them scattered across different projects. Smartcat’s global search feature lets you search all of your translation memories at once, so you can quickly find a term or phrase even if you can’t remember which project it was in.
To do a global search, go to Menu > Linguistic assets > Global Search tab and enter the term you want to search for. You can search both source and target languages.
This might sound like a no-brainer, but many people don’t realize how much time they can save by learning a few keyboard shortcuts. Smartcat has dozens of them, covering everything from basic navigation to advanced features like translation memories and glossaries.
Here are some of our favourites:
To see if there is a shortcut for a specific action, hover over the action in the editor interface and see if a shortcut is displayed.
If you find Smartcat’s default way of grouping and managing client-assigned projects a bit confusing (I know I do), there is a simple extension called Scroid. It lets you see all of your client-assigned tasks in one place, with deadlines, remaining word counts, and links to each of them.
The features listed below require you to have a company account. But don’t worry: Smartcat is free not just for individual translators but for companies as well, so you can create one for your “business” in just a few minutes.
Most translators like to do a self-review before sending their work off to a client or editor. This is a great way to catch errors and ensure that your translation is of the highest quality possible. Smartcat’s multi-stage workflows let you set up separate stages and confirm segments at each stage, making sure you don’t miss anything.
If you find yourself translating the same type of document over and over, Smartcat’s project templates can save you a lot of time. You can set up a template with your preferred settings (such as source and target languages, machine translation engines, and so on) and then use it for future projects.
If you’re like many of us, you might not exactly enjoy downloading and uploading files all the time — especially if they tend to get changed on the fly. Smartcat’s Google Docs integration lets you sync your documents directly with Google Docs, so you can work on them online without having to worry about file transfers.
If you’re a power user, Smartcat’s API can take your productivity to the next level. With it, you can automate many of the tasks that you would otherwise have to do manually, such as creating projects, adding documents, and so on. The possibilities are endless — it just takes a little bit of creativity (and coding knowledge) to get the most out of it.
So that’s it. These are just a few of the ways you can use Smartcat to work smarter, not harder.
What are your favourite Smartcat productivity hacks? Share them in the comments below!