Abstract: We compare human translation performance in Lilt to SDL Trados, a widely used computer-aided translation tool. Lilt generates suggestions via an adaptive machine translation system, whereas SDL Trados relies primarily on translation memory. Five in-house English–French translators worked with each tool for an hour. Client data for two genres was translated. For user interface data, subjects in Lilt translated 21.9% faster. The top throughput in Lilt was 39.5% higher than the top rate in Trados. This subject also achieved the highest throughput in the experiment: 1,367 source words per hour. For a hotel chain data set, subjects in Lilt were 13.6% faster on average. Final translation quality is comparable in the two tools.
As a translator in a time when technology is constantly evolving, it would be easy to think that the industry is constantly evolving and changing too. However, you would be hard-pressed to find a more stationary industry. We still use dictionaries, but those dictionaries have moved from bent and stuffed shelves to online databases or applications. We still translate without smart programs, but rather than an empty piece of paper, we look at an empty Word document. And then, we have what is likely the biggest advantage of the modern technological world of translation: CAT tools. Historically, these have been divided into the Big 3, and as is standard for their time, they are desktop applications made for just one type of OS. Windows, specifically, so if you have a Mac, tough luck.