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Unit information: CAT Tools in 2016/17

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Unit name CAT Tools
Unit code MODLM0013
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Carol O'Sullivan
Open unit status Not open




School/department School of Modern Languages
Faculty Faculty of Arts


Students will acquire an understanding of and familiarity with translation software applications including SDL Trados and develop a practical competence in the range of functionalities offered. They will use a range of translations (their own and/or already existing texts) in order to build up a bank (data-base) of materials. This will form the basis of a critical evaluation of the software, requiring analysis of its strengths and limitations in relation to different translation contexts.

Aims: The unit aims to introduce students to translation software applications so as to enable them to analyse and evaluate their functionalities from the perspective of the practising translator. The unit will require students to appreciate and reflect critically on the strengths and limitations of such software applications in different professional contexts, and to assess their impact on the translator.

Intended learning outcomes

At the end of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • demonstrate a practical knowledge of a basic translation software package and an understanding of different translation software applications currently used in the translation industry
  • assess and critically evaluate the strengths and weakness of computer-assisted translation in a range of different contexts within the translation industry
  • reflect critically on the impact of computer applications on the role of the professional translator.

Teaching details

Delivered through a series of laboratory-based workshops led by the tutor. These will enable the students to learn to use an industry-standard translation software package. Students will seek appropriate translation materials to build up a terminology bank and translation memory and discuss the strengths and weaknesses through a series of discussion forums. They will also be required to research the use of computer-assisted tools in the translation industry and reflect critically on the impact they have on the role of the translator.

Assessment Details

The student will be required to present a reflective log (3,500–4,000 words) based on the creation of a terminology bank and corpus of texts. They will evaluate their experience and the impact of computer-assisted translation on the role of the translator in different contexts within the translation industry.

Reading and References

Lynn Bowker, Computer-Assisted Translation Technology: A Practical Introduction (University of Ottawa, 2002)

Proceedings of 6th Portsmouth Translation Conference: "Translation Technologies and Culture" (University of Portsmouth, 2006)

C.K. Quah, Translation and technology (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2006)

Harold Somers, ed., Computers and Translation: A Translator's Guide (John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2003).