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The efficiency of computer-assisted translation (CAT) is strongly influenced by editorial characteristics and the layout of the text to be translated (source). The translation costs are thus partially determined by the author of the source text, who among other aspects should comply with the following rules:



The main feature of CAT is making use of repetitions contained within texts. For a computer, a repetition is an exact replica, down to the last detail.


  • Always call the same item by the same name; avoid synonyms (consistent terminology).
  • Always describe the same operation in the same way (consistent phraseology).
  • Cut and paste as often as possible: re-writing can cause differences, even minor, that reduce the efficiency of translation memories.
  • Use stringent, coherent punctuation in accordance with the rules of the language in question (punctuation characters are essential analysis criteria within CAT).
  • Short phrases: these improve the repetition rate, and render texts more comprehensible in general.


Two page layouts that appear identical can be obtained in various ways (e.g. tabs or indentations). For a computer, however, each has different codes, and is thus handled differently by CAT. To facilitate translation, therefore:


  • Opt for the use of styles rather than manual layouts.
  • Avoid splitting words. If this is impossible, only use optional hyphens that disappear automatically if you change the line length, or an automatic hyphenation function (in Word: Tools menu, then Language, Hyphenation)
  • Never use line breaks or paragraph breaks (hard returns) within a phrase or terminological units that span several lines. In this case, use manual line breaks (soft returns) (in Word: shift +return)
  • Use the automatic numbering function for chapters and lists
  • Use indentations for aligning paragraphs (not tabs or additional spaces)

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