What is GTT? Actually, it is just the acronym of Google Translator Toolkit, a feature of Google that is especially designed to help you translate texts and that is actually VERY different from our old friend (or enemy?!?) Google Translate. Of course I do not want to advertise Google products and denigrate other softwares, but I think that GTT is an easy way to give you a brief insight into the world of CAT tool (Computer Aided Translation) and how they work.
All you need to do is signing in with a Gmail account and then you can have fun! I find the interface very interesting because it is actually quite similar to those of the most used translation softwares such as SDL Trados and Atril DéjàVu. You have the source text – the text you have to translate – in a column on the left, whereas the target text – the proper translation that you will deliver – is on the right of the screen. The text is divided into segments, usually according to full stops. Of course sometimes it is necessary to merge or split them, since not all languages like short sentences. For example, Italian sentences are generally longer than English ones.
You also have the possibility of using a TM, simply another acronym of Translation Memory. Basically, this is a database of past translations and parallel texts that it can be helpful while you translate. In this way, you do not have to remember every single sentence you translated by heart, but you can rely on the computer to help you with providing relevant past entries. However, do you see the difference? YOU are in charge and decide on what is to be kept and what suggestions to discard. In addition, you can have a glossary, which is another database of single words that are always translated in the same way. You can also add an explanation for that word. In more advanced softwares, you can even have termbases with several languages and features such as examples, usage and images.
Again, it would be quite hard to be a translator with only this software, but I think it is worth giving it a go, maybe feel very translator-ish while pressing on the keys and then think about the difference between Google Translate, that is a machine translation, and a proper human input, which I actually trust a lot more!
So, have a go and let us know your impressions!