Before you read this, please note that this is no sponsored content. I am publishing this article because the product presented has proven to be of value to me and for my projects. Now that we have talked about that part, I will let you in on my favorite CAT tool to date: SmartCAT.

Why SmartCAT?

There are many reasons why I love working with this online tool. And I won’t let anybody play the “cloud card”. Yes, it’s in the cloud. But if you look into state of the art tools, you will find that many of the best and most productivity-friendly tools are provided in the cloud. Just look at what IBM, Oracle, and Co. are doing. SaaS (Software as a Service), IoT (Internet of Things), SoD (Software on Demand)… Just a few buzzwords to help you google the topic. Security measures for cloud solutions have never been as effective as today. I’d even say that most cloud solutions are more secure than your email servers. That said, let me complete my list of reasons for using SmartCAT:

  • It’s intuitive and powerful
  • I can use it with my Mac
  • I can access projects on my phone
  • I own all my resources, including TMs and glossaries
  • It’s free
  • It comes with a great support team
  • It handles all my files
  • You don’t need to read a 300-page manual to start your first project
  • It lets me use machine translation when I find it appropriate (paid feature)
  • It makes my life easier, even as a marketing translator

There are many other cool features I could point out right now, but you’ll really learn all you need to know on their website:*.

For the longest time, I thought that using a CAT tool would not make any sense for me as a marketing translator and transcreator. About 3 years ago I started looking into different tools. And even though I wasn’t happy with how they worked nor with the user interfaces, I learned quite fast that they do add significant value. No later than when you translate an updated brochure for your client. It also makes project management and accounting a lot easier.

Usability is key

You can offer the most sophisticated tool or software, but if the usability proves to be below par, I won’t use it. Even if you’d pay me for it. Most CAT tools I’ve tested are way too complex for my needs or simply don’t work in a Mac environment. It’s not that I’m not tech-savvy, I just hate bloated interfaces. I hate restrictive software. I love easy-does-it solutions. And SmartCAT offers just that.

They listen, they care

With SmartCAT, you don’t have the feeling that you’re working with a tool that wasn’t made for you in the first place. They put effort into building a community around their product, which makes it a product that belongs to the community. At least it feels like it. That left a great impression on me, from day one. Even that one day, when clearly I was the problem and not the tool, they never made me feel like I was the stupid one (even though I was). I liked that a lot.

One downside

The only thing I do not like about SmartCAT is a part of a feature that isn’t necessarily related to the tool itself: Every user has a profile where they can enter their details. From source and target languages to specializations, free text and also rates. It’s the rates part that ticks me off. They are capped at €0.20 per word. I don’t even charge per word. And if so, that number would have to read something like €0.25 per word or probably more, depending on the job. So it’s not really rate-friendly for people who can’t standardize their pricing. If they took care of that and added the option of an hourly rate, then it would be a perfect CAT tool world for me. :)

Why you should use it

Easy: Because it’s probably the most user-friendly CAT tool out there. Whether you’re new to CAT tools in general or if you’ve got years of experience with them. I dare to say that SmartCAT will meet your needs. And what do you have to lose? Like I said, it’s free. But don’t worry! I know, usually, they say that if you’re not paying for a service, then it’s you (or your data) that is being sold. I looked into this matter and they have other ways of making money. In a sensible way.

They share their knowledge and their users’ knowledge with the community

Recently, SmartCAT introduced the SmartCAT Academy. I was honored when they asked me to do a webinar on transcreation*. That was a lot of fun and I think people enjoyed it. Every Thursday at 4 pm CET, they host a free webinar on their Crowdcast channel, covering different topics that aren’t even related to their tool. They really want to help freelancers and translapreneurs (as they call them) to build and grow their business professionally and sustainably. It just so happens that their tool comes in handy while doing so.

But this Thursday, they will be making a rare exception. In their webinar, they will show how translators can use SmartCAT to step up their game. From the webinar description:

Whether you are an established LSP, a boutique agency, or an aspiring translapreneur, this hands-on webinar will give you specific and practicable advice to step up your operations.

We will show in action how SmartCAT helps you build online presence, get new orders directly on your website, and outsource work to other agencies and freelancers.

As an outsourcing freelancer, I can tell you it will be well worth watching if you plan on expanding your business. Will I see you there? Sign up by clicking the image below.

As always, links marked with an * are affiliate links.

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