Best Practices

Red Flags in CAT Tools to Consider During Evaluation

Discover key red flags in CAT tool assessment, from limited file support to poor TM management. Elevate your translation process by evaluating compatibility, integration, and customer support. Stay tuned for insights on parsing, TM setup, collaboration, glossary management, and machine translation quality. Make informed choices, optimize workflows, and enhance translation quality with CAT tools!
Lucky Eze
24 min

Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools have revolutionized the translation process, aiding translators in increasing productivity and maintaining consistency of translated content across projects. These software solutions, computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, rely on translation memory (TM) databases to store previously translated segments for future reference. However, not all CAT tools are created equal, and it is crucial to evaluate them carefully before selecting them.

During the evaluation process, it is important to look for red flags indicating potential issues with a CAT tool. These red flags can range from functionality limitations to compatibility issues, significantly impacting the computer-aided translation tools' workflow. By being aware of these warning signs, translators and translation agencies can make informed decisions and choose the most suitable computer-assisted translation tool for their needs.

Some common red flags include limited file format support, poor TM management capabilities, inadequate user interface, limited integration options with other translation software, and unreliable customer support. Evaluating these aspects will help identify potential pitfalls and ensure a smooth and efficient translation.

This blog post will delve into these red flags and provide valuable insights to guide you in evaluating CAT tools effectively. Stay tuned for our upcoming posts that delve deeper into each red flag, providing actionable tips and recommendations for a successful CAT tool selection.

Importance of Evaluating CAT Tools

Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools have become indispensable assets for translators and language service providers in translation and localization. These powerful software solutions, computer-aided translation (CAT) tools, enhance the translation process by leveraging translation memory (TM) and external language databases integrated and other features to increase efficiency and maintain consistency. However, the significance of evaluating CAT software tools before incorporating them into your workflow cannot be overstated.

The evaluation process allows translators, translation project managers and translation agencies to assess the capabilities and limitations of various CAT tools, ensuring that the selected tool aligns with their specific requirements. By carefully evaluating CAT tools, users can avoid pitfalls and make informed decisions that positively impact their translation process.

Evaluating CAT tools helps identify any red flags that may arise during use. As our previous blog post mentioned, red flags can encompass issues such as limited file formats and format support, inadequate TM management capabilities, and poor user interface design. By being aware of these potential problems, users can choose a CAT tool that minimizes disruptions and enhances their productivity.

Also, CAT tools evaluation enables users to assess the tool's compatibility with their existing translation process. Different CAT tools offer varying degrees of integration with other software applications, such as terminology management systems, project and content management systems and tools, or machine translation engines. Evaluating these integration capabilities is crucial to ensure seamless collaboration and streamlined translation workflows throughout.

Additionally, evaluating CAT tools helps users gauge the level of support the tool's developers provide. Robust customer support is essential in addressing any technical issues or questions that may arise during the tool's usage. Prompt and reliable customer support ensures that users can maximize the potential of the CAT tool and overcome any obstacles they may encounter.

Moreover, the evaluation process allows users to analyze the scalability and adaptability of CAT tools. As translation volumes and project complexities can vary over time, choosing a CAT tool that can accommodate future growth and adapt to evolving requirements is crucial. Evaluating the scalability and adaptability of CAT tools ensures a long-term investment that can grow alongside your translation projects and business.

Issues Around the CAT Tools

The CAT tool can be likened to a versatile saw used in woodworking. However, if placed in the hands of an inexperienced individual, the results may not yield the desired outcome of creating beautiful furniture. Accidents or injuries could probably occur. Therefore, examining and delving into several key concerns surrounding the CAT tool work and tools becomes crucial. By doing so, we can better understand their potential pitfalls and ensure their effective utilization in various contexts.

Poor Parsing/Segmentation

One of the significant challenges with most CAT tools is poor parsing and segmentation. When inputting a file into a CAT tool, it goes through a processing phase where it removes encoding and prepares the text for translation. The general process remains the same whether the file is in XML, XLIFF, DOCX, YAML, or any other format. However, certain files are structured in a way that leads to messy outputs for translators, making them extremely difficult to handle effectively. The formatting can result in multiple tags that require careful attention. Variables and code may be presented as plain text, and line breaks can inaccurately indicate sentence breaks, putting translators in an untenable situation. This issue occurs more frequently in localization than people realize, debunking the first misconception that CAT tools can fix everything. Employing a CAT tool without proper localization engineering can exacerbate segmentation and parsing problems, which would otherwise be negligible outside the CAT tool environment. Despite the potential for increased productivity, the CAT tool can introduce even more complex challenges to the localization workflow. Thus, it is essential to address these issues and implement appropriate measures to mitigate their impact.

Translation Memory Setup

A well-structured knowledge base is crucial for a successful computer-assisted translation (CAT) or translation tool experience. In the context of Translation Memory (TM), the "less is more" principle holds. Often, clients and translators attempt to maximize the utilization of TMs by merging multiple TMs, aiming to leverage as much content as possible during the translation process. However, this approach poses challenges, as users freelance translators are often uncertain about the quality of a particular TM.

In some cases, professional translators also may recognize that the quality of a TM is questionable and apply penalties to it. These penalties downgrade the matches by a certain degree, prompting a review of the segments, while fuzzy matches are downgraded to a lower range. Although this approach seems reasonable in theory, it introduces a cumbersome and error-prone process for translators in practice.

Translation memories serve the purpose of establishing a reliable linguistic corpus, acting as a guiding reference. If a translator naturally chooses certain words, but the TM suggests a third-word documents a different language used for the same concept, the TM should prevail. Working with unreliable TMs introduces doubt and confusion into the translation process, undermining its quality.

While it is theoretically possible to leverage larger TMs to save time and money, practical experience has shown that TMs are an all-or-nothing proposition. They either serve as crystalline benchmarks, enhancing the translation process, or detract from its quality.

Therefore, it is essential to prioritize the quality and reliability of the TMs used in target translations. Instead of accumulating multiple TMs, investing effort in building and maintaining a smaller number of high-quality TMs is advisable. This approach ensures that translators can confidently rely on the TM as an accurate linguistic reference, reducing ambiguity and improving the overall quality assurance of the translation output.

By focusing on high-quality translations rather than the quantity of TMs, translators and clients can establish a more efficient and effective translation workflow, resulting in higher-quality translations and enhanced productivity.

Collaboration Between Linguists

In computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools, collaboration among translators working concurrently on a given set of files is often neglected. Traditional CAT tools fail to address the need for effective communication and coordination between translators. When translators operate within a local environment using exported free software localization kits, they lack visibility into the linguistic choices made by their peers. This lack of transparency can result in inconsistencies and a shortage of knowledge sharing, ultimately burdening the review process with the responsibility of standardizing translations.

The review process ensures quality by thoroughly examining previous translations and identifying and rectifying errors. However, as the scope of review expands to encompass re-writing and review translations, the chances of introducing new mistakes instead of catching existing ones escalate. To tackle these challenges, CAT tools that facilitate real-time translation memory sharing among translators in different locations have emerged as vital contributors to effective knowledge management practices and overall quality at scale.

These advanced CAT tools foster collaboration, enhance translation consistency, and promote efficient knowledge exchange by enabling translators to access and contribute to a shared translation memory. As a result, the review process becomes more streamlined, errors are minimized, and the quality of translations improves significantly.

Management of Glossaries or Terminology Lists

Terminology management is a crucial aspect of translation and knowledge management, but it is important to understand that, in this case, less is often more effective. Through extensive observation of various use cases, we have encountered extensive glossaries comprising tens of thousands of terms and more concise glossaries containing only a few hundred terms. Smaller glossaries contribute significantly to improving the overall quality of translation programs.

For a knowledge translation management system to function optimally, it must be verifiable. Running a terminology check can result in many false-positive alerts when dealing with a vast terminology list. This occurs when a term listed in its singular form is translated into its plural form due to contextual considerations. The more extensive the glossary, the more noise it generates, making the verification process increasingly challenging. It is, therefore, imperative to trim glossaries to essential components, focusing on brand-specific concepts, product names that should remain untranslated, niche-specific concepts requiring standardization, and SEO-sensitive terminology. The glossary should not include terms that are merely nice to have. By exclusively incorporating must-have terms, the glossary serves as an effective guide for managing the overall translation process.

To ensure accuracy, quality checks and efficiency in translation, a smaller, well-curated glossary proves superior to a bloated one. It enables translators to focus on the most critical and pertinent terminology, reducing false-positive alerts and mitigating potential errors. By prioritizing relevance and significance, terminology management becomes a streamlined and valuable component of the translation workflow, less translation costs and yielding higher-quality results.

The Quality of Machine Translation

Machine translation has long been a topic of debate in translation. Some consider it a groundbreaking solution, while others criticize its impact on translation quality. However, our research indicates that leading machine translation engines, such as Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and Deepl, consistently deliver more reliable translations than a 50-74% translation match from a professional translator or a Translation Memory. Over time, these machine translation engines tend to improve, requiring fewer edits to achieve professional human translation quality. Moreover, machine translation plays a pivotal role in increasing the productivity of computer-assisted translation (CAT).

Translators who utilize a hybrid knowledge management feed that combines both translation memory and machine translation can experience significant productivity gains of over 30% compared to those who solely rely on translation memory. While it is true that machine computer assisted translation software may excel in technical documents but struggle with marketing or copywriting content, we argue that even when machine translation produces grossly mistranslated sentences or concepts, it can still contribute to overall translation quality. It fosters a dialogue between the machine and the human translator. The machine translation output can serve as an idea springboard for human translators or, at the very least, amuse the translator.

Despite the advantages of machine translation, it is important to acknowledge its limitations. Contextual nuances target language, cultural references, and idiomatic expressions often challenge machine translation algorithms. Therefore, human involvement remains essential to ensure accurate and culturally appropriate translations. The role of the human translator should not be diminished; rather, it should be seen as a complementary partnership with machine translation technology.

To optimize the benefits of the machine translation capabilities, continuous improvement and refinement of the algorithms are necessary. Researchers and developers constantly enhance machine translation models by incorporating advanced techniques such as neural machine translation. This ongoing progress contributes to the continuous growth of machine translation's reliability and effectiveness.


Evaluating CAT tools is critical in ensuring efficient and effective translation processes. The evaluation process should consider red flags such as limited file format support, poor TM management capabilities, inadequate user interface, limited integration options, and unreliable customer support. By addressing these issues, translators and translation agencies can make informed decisions and select CAT tools that align with their needs. Examining concerns surrounding poor parsing/segmentation, translation memory management and setup, collaboration between linguists, management of glossaries/terminology lists, and machine translation quality further enhances the understanding of potential pitfalls. It enables the optimization of CAT tool utilization. Through comprehensive evaluations and awareness of these red flags, translators and language service providers can streamline their workflows, improve translation quality, and increase productivity.

Collaborative translation is a powerful tool for your business if you’re looking to expand to new global markets. By coordinating a team of professionals who work together in real-time, you can quickly deliver high quality translations that resonate with local audiences.

But what if you don't know how to synchronize a large team's efforts? Or are you‌ struggling to find the right software for a well-coordinated translation process? Well, look no further! In this guide, you'll learn all the know-how's of collaborative translation to bring your brand to global audiences.


  1. What is collaborative translation?
  2. Why seamless translation collaboration is important
  3. Best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

What is collaborative translation?

Collaborative translation is when multiple people simultaneously work together to translate content. A collaborative translation process often makes use of specialized tools and software to make sure the translation is quick, accurate, and consistent.

  • Example: Let's say you're a B2B SaaS company looking to translate your marketing materials into a new language to connect with potential clients abroad. Use collaborative translation to bring together translators, developers, and other specialists to translate content into many languages at once.

Your team can use a collaborative translation platform like Redokun to work on projects simultaneously. A coordinated workflow will make sure that your translations use the same terminology and style, improving the quality of the translated product for your target audiences.

Collaborative Translation vs. Crowdsourcing

People often confuse collaborative translation with crowdsourcing and think the two are the same. However, these approaches to translation are different.

Crowdsourcing is when a large group of people contributes translations, often through an open call or invitation by a company or author. Brands can turn to crowdsourcing, community translation, or volunteer translation when they are looking to reduce costs and accelerate the process, especially for large multi-language projects.

In crowdsourced translations, the contributors can be volunteer translators, subject matter experts, or just anonymous individuals online. In other words, you may not know who's worked on the translation and what their qualifications are. It makes crowdsourcing distinct from collaborative translation, where the team would be an established group of professionals you've selected

Why seamless translation collaboration is important

As a busy B2B/B2C marketing manager or project manager, you might ask yourself: Isn't the "divide and conquer" a better strategy when working on a translation or localization project? It seems logical that each project team member, including translators, designers, and editors, works on their tasks separately and step by step.

However, collaborative translation can help your team reap many benefits compared to a traditional approach to translation projects:

Reasons why seamless translation collaboration is important
  • Produce high-quality translations consistently. When your whole team works on a translation project simultaneously on one platform, it's easier to stay in context and keep track of the translation accuracy for every target language. On top of that, your team can conduct agile QA throughout the project cycle.
  • Faster turnaround times. By working together, your team can complete projects faster and more efficiently. Centralization saves a lot of time at every stage of translation. And since your team can work on more than one translation at a time, you can publish your translated content in several new markets at once.
  • Reduced costs. You get to improve efficiency while working with a smaller team of translators. The smaller and more coordinated the team, the less the risk of costly translation errors. It means reduced translation costs and better project budget compliance.
  • Increased flexibility. Collaborative translation allows your team to produce translations into many languages at once and easily make changes to any project document. You can conveniently engage in a feedback loop and guarantee a continuous localization process.
  • Better communication. Collaborative translation effectively brings all members of your localization team together on one platform. It helps you make sure that everyone is working toward the same goals ‌and simplifies overall localization management.

Six best practices for collaborative translation and global market success

To be great at collaborative translation, you need to approach it strategically. Even if you've never used this approach before, you can follow the six steps below to build an efficient collaborative translation workflow. And if you're already familiar with this method, these practices will help you improve the way you collaborate on any translation projects.

Six best practices for collaborative translation for your global business success

1. Work out a detailed project plan

Before you start working on translations together, you need a clear-cut project plan. You should first identify the following items.

  • Project timeline: Define crucial deadlines, project milestones, and the overall project duration.
  • Translation volume and key deliverables: Calculate the general word count, and determine the workload for every language pair if you translate into multiple languages.
  • Project budget: Keep in mind possible added and hidden translation costs.
  • Project team: Define what kind of specialists you need: translators, editors, proofreaders, etc. Will you need to find external translators? Consider all your HR needs in advance.
  • Your approach to the translation process: How much do you want to rely on machine translation? At what point will you edit translated strings? Answer all these questions before you go on.
  • Quality assurance protocol: Establish an efficient QA procedure for all the language pairs you're working on.

It may sound like a handful but the more detailed the plan, the more streamlined the translations will be down the road. Besides, you can already use Redokun to boost this stage of the localization process!

Redokun is a translation management system you can use to automate, coordinate, and optimize your translation processes from content creation to publication.

Redokun simplifies your project planning. In particular, you can use the tool to:

  • Monitor your ongoing translations easily. Keep track of all of your translation files and projects across multiple languages in one space, and check their progress at a glance.
Redokun Document Detail Page
  • Meet deadlines with digest emails. Redokun will send you daily or weekly email digests to update you on the progress of translations. From there, you can initiate one-click reminders to your translators who are potentially falling behind schedule.
  • Making budget planning easier. Redokun has a transparent, scalable pricing structure that will cover exactly the volume of work your project needs.
Redokun is an easy-to-use tool that requires no onboarding. Your team can start using all the system’s features right away. During your project planning stage, you won’t need to factor in a lengthy training period to introduce team members to the tool.

2. Divide tasks and assign responsibilities the smart way

Good collaboration is impossible without a well-planned distribution and organization of roles and tasks. Ensure that every team member is on the same page and understands their respective responsibilities.

For example, the project managers should divide ‌translation tasks among translation team members according to their language proficiency, area of expertise, or subject matter knowledge.
  • On Redokun, you can invite translators to work on different language pairs and content types depending on their skills. All you need to do is enter the translator's email. The software will send them an email invitation and let you know once they've started translating the file.
  • You can also invite several translators to work on one document.
How to invite translators to Redokun

To maximize the efficiency of project management and task division, establish a clear structure of your workflow. Make sure all your pages, files, and folders are well organized and team members know where to find necessary resources for their respective tasks. A centralized, cloud-based storage for all your documents is a must.

  • Redokun is a cloud-based software that makes file management easy. You can create folders and customize permission settings for multiple users for better organization. No more need to look for spreadsheets and lost documents scattered around different digital locations.
  • Don't forget to make the most of the Reporting Dashboard. It shows you the status of the translation project and helps you see how users distribute tasks (for example, what methods they use to translate different content segments).
Redokun Dashboard with translation statistics

3. Enhance the collaborative translation process with clear communication

It's important to have open communication channels among all team members in your translation project, including internal and external translators. For a successful collaboration effort, you need a shared communication space to:

  • Conduct regular check-ins.
  • Discuss translation options and other aspects of the working process.
  • Update and adjust requirements and guidelines.
  • Maintain feedback loops.
It's up to you to choose between email, messengers, or tools like Google Drive or Slack to keep your collboarative operations flowing. However, using multiple channels for different aspects of the project can get messy. It's harder to manage your team and make sure all collaborators are up to date on the ongoing translation tasks.

You can avoid these potential problems by centralizing all your communications and project management. With translation software like Redokun, you can manage, translate, communicate, and collaborate — all in one place.

  • Translate content in context. Your translators or editors can use page previews in Web Editor to understand the context of the text while working on it.
  • Work together in real-time. Use Redokun as a full-scale collaborative translation platform. It enables real-time cooperation among your team members, improving efficiency and reducing communication errors.
  • Use comments, mentions, and notifications to exchange feedback quickly. Redokun's Web Editor is a convenient place to stay in touch and discuss your translation progress every step of the way.
Collaboration feature in Redokun
  • Create a hybrid workflow. Work with your in-house teams or external translators to suit different localization project formats and scalability needs.

4. Use machine translation and translation memory tools

Computer-assisted translation tools are a great addition to human translation. Machine translation (MT) helps your collaborators speed up the localization process by automating translation. Of course, it doesn't have the quality of a human professional translation — it’s more like a helping hand that's always there to facilitate the translation of complex phrases or new terms.

  • Redokun is integrated with two Machine Translation tools: Google Translate and DeepL. Translation suggestions by these two tools pop up right below where the translator should key in the translation, as shown here.

To enhance collaboration even further, consider using translation memory tools. They ensure consistency and save translation software users a lot of time.

Translation memory (TM) is a translation technology that stores previously translated sentences or phrases as segments and creates a unique database for your localization projects. You can reuse your translation to increase efficiency and consistency in ongoing and future translations.

With Redokun as your collaborative translation platform, you can leverage TM to:

  • Consistently translate any repeated word, phrase, or sentence across different language pairs and documents. It's especially important for translating technical terms, marketing slogans, CTAs, and other catchphrases. Translation memory helps you stay consistent in your marketing messaging.
  • Pre-translate your entire documents. Combine TM matches from your previous translations with Machine Translation to get a fully pre-translated document even before your team gets to work.
  • Manage your translation memory database. Import and customize your TM database to further improve translation quality and consistency.
”The speed of translation is quite impressive in that it doesn’t take [much time], maybe a couple of minutes when you translate from English to eight markets. I think that’s what I’m most impressed by.”

Read more about how Kenni and the marketing team at Rockfon increased their translation productivity by 70% using translation memories and other Redokun features

5. Use glossaries and style guides

Glossaries and style guides are valuable resources your team can use for reliable reference.

A glossary is a list of terms and their corresponding translations that are specific to a company or industry.

A style guide outlines the preferred tone, voice, and style for a company's marketing materials across markets and languages.

Your collaborators can refer to these resources when they’re not sure about a translation. For example is when they're deciding how to translate a company abbreviation, whether to the Oxford comma, or choosing the right tone to address customers, etc. No more ambiguity about linguistic, stylistic, and cultural aspects of your translations.

  • Use Redokun's glossary feature to create a glossary and style guide that outlines rules for spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, and tone specific to your project.
Redokun glossary feature preview

6. Continuously review and revise

A key benefit of a collaborative translation platform is the ability to review and revise translations in an agile and efficient manner. By involving multiple specialists in the process of editing and QA, you can guarantee accuracy and consistency in the translated content at every stage of the project.

To implement effective review and revision procedures in your collaborative translation projects, it is important to:

  • Plan for review and revision in advance. Identify who will be responsible, set the timeline, and use specific tools.
  • Consider involving in-country reviewers who are familiar with the local market and culture to ensure that the translations are accurate and appropriate for the target audience.
  • Perform regular QA checks. They should include consistency in terminology and formatting, and verify that the translations are free from grammatical errors and typos.
Pro-tip: Ever experienced the headache of having to update a translation that’s already 70% done when there is a last-minute change to the source document?

With Redokun’s revision feature, you don’t have to spend hours poring over Excel sheets and comparing files to spot the places where new words have been added or sentences have been changed. Just upload the latest document version and the system will identify new text that needs translating — saving your team’s time and effort while keeping previous translations intact.


Collaborative translation is an excellent approach if you want to improve the consistency of your translations, reduce costs, and establish a strong presence in global markets.

The key to seamless collaboration is a combination of careful planning, role distribution, agile QA, and smart use of translation software.

Make Redokun part of your collaborative translation efforts and enhance the pace of your global business growth‌. Start your 14-day free trial today and benefit from a quicker and more streamlined translation workflow.

Till next time,


Lucky Eze
Lucky Ezeihuaku is an SEO expert and specialist Translation content writer with Bureau Works. He has a master’s degree in English and Literature, and has been writing professionally for at least 7 years. He has gone on to specialize in the Translation and Localization niche, churning out multiple quality, informative, and optimized articles for Bureau Works over the past year. He claims writing and developing SEO strategies keeps him going, and he’s also interested in Data Analytics.
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