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CAT Tools: Introducing Fluency

 

In this post, I will introduce the CAT tool I use: Fluency. It’s been almost 5 years now since I started using Fluency, and there are still a lot of things that I am dissatisfied with. But I like the company’s work ethic and integrity. If problems arise or if I have questions, I can use their ‘Help’ function to contact them. They even assist me on weekends. For these reasons, I want to recommend this product to others, and I hope the company can gain more market share. Here is a screenshot of the software.

 

A Horizontal View of Fluency
A Horizontal View of Fluency
A Vertical View of Fluency
A Vertical View of Fluency

 
I use Fluency for the following reasons:

 

1. A combined user interface

I’ve mentioned this a bit previously, but all the resources are included on one screen in Fluency. You’ll understand the powerful effects of a combined online resource on the interface when you use it. There’s no point in me explaining it to you—you’ll have to try it for yourself.

 

2. Flexible adjustment based on the translator’s needs

The translator has a lot of freedom with this program. First, you can adjust the arrangements on the screen as you like (horizontal, vertical), and the size of each pane can be adjusted based on the type of project or the condition of the source file. Just click on the borders of the panes to drag them. You can also select what to include in the online resources. For example, if you work on a lot of medical projects, you can register a dictionary or website that specializes in the medical field. A Korean spell checker, and other checkers, can also be added.

 

3. Effectiveness

I’ve already dealt with some of these points above, but Fluency allows you to drag the word, phrase, or sentence you have to look up and input them on many online resources including Concordance, dictionaries (I use Naver dictionary), Google, etc. all at the same time by pressing ‘Ctrl + D.’ This function is quite powerful—it saves you about 10 clicks and typing motions. (Those of you who’ve translated for a long time will say, “Really??” and those of you who’ve not will be indifferent and say, “So what?”. 😀

 

There are some things I dislike about Fluency as well:
 
1. I feel that Fluency’s understanding of Asian languages, including Korean, is still not sufficient. This is an issue not just with Fluency, but all CAT tools. No matter how much we explain postpositional particles (in Korean or Japanese) and that the pronunciation of postpositional particles change depending on the pronunciation of the previous word, they do not understand. Perhaps it’s too much to ask of software developers, but it’s frustrating. They have all been developed in Europe or the United States, so they only use principles that apply to Indo-European languages. But what can we do? We still use it, despite feeling dissatisfied. (This is another topic, but I wonder what it would be like if Korean software developers created a CAT tool….)
 
2. There are times when the software is unstable because it’s still developing. An average of 3 or 4 updates are delivered automatically each week. They always aim to improve something, but sometimes they can mess with very basic functions (for example search + change). That can be very annoying. They do fix it right away when I contact them, though.
 
This is the CAT tool of my choice. It’s up to you to decide your own. I don’t want you to resent me after you select Fluency because you only know of this CAT tool and feel it’s not good enough after using it a while. In truth, I’m not satisfied with any CAT tool. I’m using it because I think the pros outweigh the cons, and I take responsibility for my choice. You must judge for yourselves and take responsibility as well. I’d like to see more software entering the market that combines online resources within the interface. This will generate competition between software with this function and ultimately produce a better, more advanced product.
 
Lastly, I want to say that there is no need to put all your eggs in one basket. All the TMs you have accumulated can be imported (opened) in another software should you decide to change your CAT tools. It’s like changing your clothes once you’ve outgrown them. Ultimately, what’s important is the translator and the TM that he or she accumulates, not some CAT tool of some agency. Ultimately, what's important is the translator and her TM, not some CAT tool of some agency. Click To Tweet
 
(Added later: I can provide a discount code for Fluency. The link is on the right side of the screen.)

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