Smartcat getting started guide

Explore Smartcat

CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tools are great for both those looking to translate a simple text or image and those who manage large translation projects, like localizing websites or apps, and need to work quickly and efficiently.

Smartcat is a translation and localization platform that offers vast functionality, from translating files in almost any language and format using tech and human input, to partial or full project management automation.  

In our series of overview articles, we’ll show you how you can make the most of Smartcat and your chosen role on the platform.

Smartcat for Individuals

If you’re here mostly to do small translations, we recommend you start with machine translation. Why? Because it’s quick and almost unlimited - you can translate hundreds of pages in a matter of seconds.

Translations in the blink of an eye

Smartcat extracts the text from almost any source file, finds the best engine, and automatically translates it for you. It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3.

  1. Log in to your Smartcat account and create a new translation.

2. Choose your language pair, upload or drag-and-drop the file*, and hit the ‘Translate files’ button.

*Smartcat supports 281+ languages and language codes and 40+ file formats, from Microsoft Office and hypertext to subtitles and images.

3. Download the translation or proceed to edit it.

Sneak peek under the hood

  • Smartcat extracts the text from your file using optical character recognition or other technology. The text is split up into segments (usually sentences) for quicker processing;

  • Our AI selects the best translation engine for your translation needs and checks to see if you have any similar translations you can reuse;

  • The translation is produced using previously translated segments stored in the Smartcat database (Translation Memory) and automated translation.

  • Data about the translation (translation pack), including the date, source and target languages, and number of files, segments, and words translated, are also displayed for your reference. You can choose to download, edit, or delete the translation.

What’s great about automated translation

  • Smartcat uses a form of credit called Smartwords to cover the usage of the technology. Each time you hit ‘Translate files’, the number of words translated is automatically deducted from your Smartwords balance. Depending on your subscription, you get a certain number Smartwords for free upon registration, which means you can produce translations at no cost.

  • Smartcat keeps the layout of your files intact, so a translated PDF file, for example, will look the same as your original PDF file in the source language.

  • Smartcat can autometically extract text from an image, a piece of code, etc.

More on how it works

Improving translation quality

Even with the best translator or translation engine, no translation is perfect. That’s why your next steps are reviewing your translation and making any necessary edits. To improve your translation, hit the corresponding button in your translation pack.

You’ll be shown the available editing options: editing the translation yourself or with your colleagues, or hiring a professional from the Smartcat Marketplace*.

*Please note that you need to create a translation project to work with freelancers and agencies. Click the ‘Improve’ button to switch to the ‘Manager view’ described below.

With Smartcat Editor it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3, again!

  1. Open your translation in the Editor.

  2. Edit the translation, sentence by sentence, and confirm the final version by either entering the Ctrl+Enter combination, hitting the Confirm button on the toolbar, or clicking the Confirm segment checkbox to the right.

3. Click ‘Done’ in the upper right corner of the screen and go back to your list of translation packs, or download the translation right from the Editor.

Sneak peek under the hood

  • Smartcat separates your translation into segments to match the way your source text is split up. You can join or split these segments further if you want;

  • The resources used to create your translation – machine translation or translation memory – are always visible;

  • When you edit a segment, the same changes are applied to all identical segments across the file. The segment is also saved to the translation memory, so you won’t have to correct this particular segment ever again in the future;

  • All confirmed segments are saved in the translation memory, so you can reuse them when working on similar texts.

What’s great about the Smartcat Editor

  • The Editor autochecks the translation quality and flags any potential errors in segments with a warning sign;

  • You can easily search for specific words, phrases, or sentences in both the source and target texts;

  • You can easily collaborate with teammates. To invite a teammate click the ‘Share’ button in the left-hand menu.

  • Choose your team members' roles and the invitation link will be generated automatically.

  • Send this link to anyone you want to add to your account.

More on how it works

Smartcat for Managers

Smartcat is much more than a machine translation tool, so if your needs go beyond dragging and dropping files for translation and uploading the translation results, we offer a whole range of localization management functionalities*. With these, you can run large-scale projects like the localization of a website or a mobile app, and comfortably manage your human and linguistic resources.

*If you want to continue your journey with more complex scenarios just switch your role from ‘Individual’ to ‘Manager’ in the upper-right corner of the screen.

After this you’ll have not just translations but projects with a variety of characteristics and connected tasks.

Building and managing your team

The more complicated your projects get, the stronger and more flexible your team needs to be, and Smartcat can help you with that. We create convenient workspaces and virtual environments where you can share projects, linguistic assets, and other resources with your teammates.

When creating your Smartcat account, we give you the option to request to join an existing workspace in your organisation or create a new one and invite your teammates via email. However, you can invite colleagues or contractors, or anyone else, to work with you in Smartcat at any moment. You can easily do this by sharing a link.

  • Go to the 'Team' tab.

  • Click 'Team members' and then 'Invite'.

  • Choose your team members' roles and the invitation link will be generated automatically.

  • Send this link to anyone you want to add to your workspace.

Workspace users can:

  • Create, view, and edit translations and projects,

  • Create and manage translation memories and glossaries,

  • Use the Smartwords in the workspace to get machine translations for free

  • Approve, download, and share translations,

  • Find and assign language service providers to do the translations and post-editing,

  • Test the translators and check translation quality manually or via Smartcat.

Workspace administrators can (in addition to the user permissions):

  • View all projects in the workspace and get information about their owners,

  • Manage Smartcat subscription and top up Smartwords for the workspace,

  • Invite new vendors and team members to projects.

What’s great about Smartcat workspaces

  • You can invite anyone: a member of your team, a colleague from a different department, a freelancer hired outside Smartcat, a vendor from the Smartcat Marketplace;

  • The workspace administrator can see all project details including task-by-task progress on one page, which makes estimating workloads and assigning tasks much easier.

Finding additional help in a few clicks

If you don’t have a localization team yet or are looking to get a little extra help for an unexpectedly large project, you can hire skilled linguists to assist you without right from your project page.

Leveraging linguistic assets

Critical localization projects, especially the more technical, require extra attention to terminology and phrasing. And who doesn’t want all their translations to be accurate and consistent, anyway?. That’s why we let our users create and use translation memories and glossaries.

Translation memories (TMs) are databases of previously translated sentences, usually in CAT tools, and glossaries are databases of set terms.

You can use them as translation references for your projects and save time and money on editing and keep translation quality standards high.

Sneak peek under the hood

The system combines the translation memory and the most suitable translation engine selected by Smartcat AI for automated translation.

As Smartcat processes your text, each segment is compared to those stored in the translation memory, and if it finds an exact match  or very similar segment, the tool reuses it in the translation.

What’s great about Smartcat’s linguistic assets

  • When a new translation project is created, Smartcat sets up translation memories automatically, so you don’t have to worry about creating a new one;

  • The tool automatically selects the right translation memory based on your project settings;

  • Translation memory matches are displayed in the Editor, so you can still decide whether to accept or discard these.

More on how it works

Automating A-Z

Even with all these great translation automation capabilities, you might still be looking for a solution to cut down on the number of tasks associated with your translation projects. And here’s where Smartcat Automated Project Management and Integrations come into play.

Sneak peek under the hood

Smartcat puts AI in control of your project, and takes care of

  • Finding and hiring linguists from the Marketplace database based on your project timeline and budget;

  • Monitoring tasks progress;

  • Contacting human support when issues arise.

What’s great about Smartcat Automated Project Management

  • Less time spent on searching and negotiating with vendors;

  • No need to worry about splitting tasks evenly between suppliers;

  • Smart notifications on tasks progress and completion;

  • Single invoice payments.

And Integrations let you automate content exchange between the CMS or any developer tools you use. This means you don’t have to juggle dozens of source files and strings, and you avoid costly mistakes.

Sneak peek under the hood

Smartcat connects to your tool, automatically downloads the texts to be translated, and pushes the translations back the same way.

What’s great about Smartcat Integrations

  • Continuous localization setup without the extra effort;

  • Minimizes human errors when downloading and uploading content;

  • Less time spent updating translations on your website or inside the app;

  • Easier localization testing.

And that’s the basics to get started with Smartcat! We’ll have more helpful articles on how to use Smartcat here soon, so stay tuned.

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