Why we DON’T use CAT tools, and what we use instead
Why We DON’T Use CAT Tools
As copywriters, it’s our job to paint beautiful works of art with words. We need to sell with emotion, but add enough logic into the equation to make a purchase justifiable – no matter what language we’re writing in. We’re always doing the best we can to meet our client’s needs, but what do you do when your clients want something that affects your ability to do your very best work? Well, this is the exact issue we’ve been having in our multilingual department.
Now, before we start – we’re not against CAT tools. They’re great for technical texts and there are so many benefits to them. Just for us, as content writers, they’re not the best solution. Yet, many language agencies and clients who approach us to help with multilingual copywriting expect us to work in one. Having even got requests for keyword research using a CAT tool, we thought we’d put pen to paper and explain why we don’t use CAT tools, and what we use instead.
1st things first, we’re not translators
Although copywriting and translation overlap very slightly, they’re still very different disciplines. Just like speaking another language doesn’t make you a translator, being able to translate doesn’t make you a writer. In translation, you need to have an exceptional knowledge of grammar, whereas as a copywriter, you need to be able to write like you speak – and that often means forgetting the first thing you learnt in English (or whatever language) class!
You need to be adventurous, creative, able to research, have the ability to create something new out of something old, understand the psychology behind marketing and UX, and most importantly – know how to empathize with your target audience. So…there’s a lot more to copywriting than language…
We’ve done some tests of our own in-house and we’ve found that CAT tools actually have an adverse effect on our writers’ ability to write creatively. With texts broken up into segments, you find yourself writing sentence by sentence rather than crafting a text as a whole. This affects not only the flow, it affects the message. And we all know that a text without a message is like a ginger without a soul…
Focus too much on the source text
One other thing we found was that when our texts were put into CAT tools, our writers focussed on the source text too much. As copywriters and transcreators, it’s our job to take the message of the source text and adapt it to the new market. Sometimes, this means completely re-writing things. We need to get into the mind of the buyers, not focus on the original.
QA features don’t work
CAT tool QA features are invaluable when it comes to technical texts, but when it comes to marketing copy, they’re a complete waste of time. We don’t need to be told about inconsistencies, as it’s inconsistencies we want in the first place to ensure the text is varied enough. We’re going to go as far away from the source text as we need to, which again shouldn’t be marked as an issue.
CAT tools for keyword research? No way!
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – keyword research is a specialized digital marketing service, and just because the word multilingual is in front of it, it doesn’t make it a service for untrained linguists. To do keyword research properly, you need to understand the psychology of the buyer. Say you were searching for lawnmowers – in the Czech Republic you’d search for “cheapest lawnmower” whereas in Ireland you’d go for the “top quality lawnmowers”. That’s why you should never translate keywords – and why there is no point in using a CAT tool as you should always include a back translation, search volumes, and competition.
What We Use Instead
Typos and the odd grammar mistake can happen to anyone. That’s why Grammarly’s such a great tool for pointing things out. When copywriting, though, you do have to take the suggestions with a pinch of salt as being too grammatically correct can actually harm the quality of your marketing copy.
Just like we mentioned earlier, there’s no place for consistency in copywriting. Writer’s block gets the better of all of us, so when that happens, a thesaurus is vital.
Ensuring your content is easy to read and digest is of paramount importance. That’s why using the Hemingway App can really help as it gives you tips about your content, and gives it a grade.
When you’re working so closely with clients, constantly sending over files can get really confusing. Using Google Drive keeps everything in one place and gives you some of the same features that CAT tools do. You can work collaboratively, share the files with clients, and clients can see your work in real-time.
This awesome website allows you to put in business jargon and will give you a fun term to use instead. It’s pretty cool alright!