The CAT Tool

CAT Tool Overview

This article is for Translators, Editors, and Reviewers.

The Smartling CAT (computer-aided translation) tool is where you, as a Translator or Editor, will be translating, editing, and submitting content. Within each section of this article, you'll see a detailed view of each feature. See Working Within Smartling on how to access the CAT tool.

Save a String (for Translators)
Confirm a String (for Editors)
Reject Translations
Submit Translations
Keyboard Shortcuts
Strings and Segments
Fuzzy Match
Draft Mode and Internet Connection Issues
Run Quality Assurance
QA Export
Search Glossary
Glossary Terms
Search Translation Memory
String Level Matches
Toggle Case
Special Characters
Personal Dictionary
Visual Context View
Mobile Responsive Context
Job Attachments

Save a String 

For Translators, when you save a string, you can continue to make further updates (and re-save) it provided that you haven't already submitted the string.

To save a string, click the checkmark for the designated segment. The checkmark will then appear next to the segment. Remember that if a string contains multiple segments, you'll need to translate and save all segments before being able to submit the string.


Instead of saving strings individually, you can also click Save All to perform a bulk save.save_all.png

The bulk save functionality will save the strings for the page you're currently on. Each page has a limit of 100 strings. If you have more than 100 strings that need to be bulk saved, you'll need to click to the next page. (Basically, we start paginating after 100 strings, so the bulk save will save up to 100 strings at a time.)

You can use the default keyboard shortcut: Command + S (Mac) or Control + S (Windows) to save your work. See Configure CAT Tool Settings and Keyboard Shortcuts for more information.

For information, see Save and Submit Translations.

Confirm a String

For Editors, when you confirm a string, you can continue to make further edits (and re-save) it provided that you haven't already submitted the string.

To confirm a string, click the checkmark for the designated segment. The checkmark will then appear next to the segment. Remember that if a string contains multiple segments, you'll need to translate and confirm all segments before being able to submit the string.


For more information, see Save and Submit Translations.

Reject Translations

You can reject an individual string or reject all strings at once.

  1. To reject an individual string, click the X for a specific segment.
  2. To reject all strings at once, click Reject Translations.reject.png

For more information, see Proofread Translations.

Submit Translations

When submitting your translations, you'll be given two options:

  1. Submit saved translations: This submits all previously saved/confirmed translated strings.
  2. Submit all translations: If you haven't previously saved/confirmed your translated strings, this saves and submits them in one action.

Remember to click Submit. Keep in mind that once you submit your strings, you'll no longer be able to modify them.


You can also create a keyboard shortcut for each action above. Go to Settings > KeyboardPreferences. Add your shortcut to Submit Saved Translations and/or Submit All Translations and click Save.

The submit functionality will submit the strings for the page you're currently on. Each page has a limit of 100 strings. If you have more than 100 strings that need to be submitted, you'll need to click to the next page. (Basically, we start paginating after 100 strings, therefore up to 100 strings will be submitted at one time.)

For more information, see Save and Submit Translations.

Keyboard Shortcuts

Mouse over the following keyboard shortcuts to reveal functionality and keystrokes.


  1. To change keyboard shortcuts or select a preset profile, go to Settings > Keyboard Preferences.
  2. Change any keyboard shortcut or select a Keyboard Shortcut Profile.
  3. Click Save Changes.

If a keyboard shortcut you're familiar with isn't working, make sure to check your settings so that it doesn't conflict with your preset shortcut.

For more information on this topic, see Customize CAT Tool Behavior.


Strings and Segments

When content is ingested into Smartling, it gets broken down into strings. Each string could consist of an entire paragraph, a phrase, or simply a word.

The green vertical bar indicates an entire string. In this example, this one string is broken into three segments. When translating this type of string, each segment would need to be translated before the string can be saved.string.png

For more information on this topic, see Content Parsing.


String Numbering

Strings are now numbered in the CAT Tool. For further detail, see CAT Tool String Numbering.



For tags, you can toggle between the HTML code view or simplified view, denoted by numbers (1,2,3, etc.).

  1. To copy a tag to your segment, click the tag in the source. This will copy the source tag to the segment.tag_toggle.png
  2. To move the placement of a tag within a segment, click and drag the tag to anywhere that is highlighted in green. This prevents HTML code from breaking. If you're dragging a pair of tags to another spot, move the opening or closing tag first (depending on the direction you need to move the tags).

    For more information on tags, see Insert, Remove, or Move Tags and Placeholders.

Fuzzy Match

When Smartling uses an existing translation memory to match source content with existing translations in the translation memory, it will often find word matches that are less than 100% identical. These type of matches are what we refer to as a fuzzy match. They're represented by a percentage on how the words match, typically somewhere between 50-99% (but a 100% exact match is also possible).


For more information on this topic, see Get a Fuzzy Estimate.

Unedited Fuzzy Matches

For unedited fuzzy matches, such as the example shown in the screenshot below, the font is lighter and italicized. The two occurrences when this could happen are:

  • From auto-population of fuzzy matches -OR-
  • From inserting matches from the Language Resources panel


Once you make any edit to the text, it will return to its normal state.

Unedited fuzzy matching is not persistent across page loads, therefore, if you refresh your browser, the unedited fuzzy matches will become normal strings.


If a translated string requires different formatting than the source, click on a formatting option in the insertables toolbar or use the keyboard shortcut that's displayed on hover over. This will insert the tag where your cursor is placed in the translation field.


All are unicode characters, and not tags (with the exception of "BR"). Unlike tags, these unicode characters do not necessarily have to be added. However, for tags, you can't add a tag that wasn't in the source.

For more information on tags, see Insert, Remove, or Move Tags and Placeholders.

"Draft Mode" and Internet Connection Issues

The CAT tool automatically backs up your translations in your local browser as you type. Even if you lose internet connection or close your browser, they will remain available until you're ready to save them.

Draft translations can't be retained if you were browsing privately or if you clear your browser cache. Translations are saved in your browser's local storage. Therefore, if you were using one browser (Chrome) and then opened another browser (Firefox), translations in draft mode would not be retained. As well, if you were using Chrome on one computer, and opened your translations in Chrome on another computer, the translations would be not be retained.



When you enter the CAT Tool via the Strings View or List View, you will have entered the CAT Tool outside of a Job. While the general Search source and translations field is still available to you, strings can also be found by using Filters.

The workflow and job filters will change the display of content available for translation in the CAT tool.


  • Workflow (workflow step)
  • Job
  • Tag
  • Keywords
  • Current Status
    • All 
    • Not Saved
    • Saved 
    • Unresolved Issues
  • Files URI

When you enter the CAT Tool via a Job, you can apply much more granular filters to the strings, such as filtering for strings by Saved Status and Issue Status. Additional Options include; Empty Segments, Machine Translation, and most recently, Repetitions.



When filtering strings by Repetitions, you can further refine your search by;

All: Displays all strings that are repeated in the Job.

No Repetitions: Displays all strings that are unique or no repeated in the Job.
No Repetitions and First Only: Displays all strings that are unique or no repeated in the Job plus the first repeated string.
First Only: Displays the first repeated string.
All Except First: Displays all repeated strings expect the first of the repeated strings.






Additional Details: From this section, you can access your glossary and style guide.

Language Resources: You'll find suggestions of records in the translation memory that match closely with the strings you're translating. You'll also find machine translation suggestions, both of which can be entered into your segment. (The languages supported by machine translation are a combination of Google Translate and Bing Translator.)

Quality Checks: This panel is configured by your customer, and shows any errors that are found within your segments.

Issues: If you need to address anything that might need clarification from your customer, you can open an issue.

History: If the string was previously translated, you can see the history of it in this panel.

Run Quality Assurance

At any time, you can run a quality check on your translated strings. The Quality Check feature checks for translation consistency, spacing consistency, proper spelling, etc. Running a Quality Check will check all strings in the Job, even if the Job has multiple pages in the CAT Tool. 

  1. In the CAT tool, select the Quality Assurance tab to run quality checks on all translations in the Job. This creates a report of all errors detected in your translations. A string with a translation error will show a warning icon next to it. The color of the warning icon depends on the severity of the error.
  2. Click on a quality check to bring you directly to the string that needs attention. The report updates itself in real-time. Once you are certain that you have fixed all quality errors, you are ready to submit your translations.

In the Quality Assurance panel, you can see a list of errors found within your translations, at a segment level, informing you of the number of errors along with what they are.

For more information on quality assurance, see Quality Checks.


QA Export

As a Translator, you have the option to export a bilingual CSV or DOCX file of all saved translations in the current job. This does not include drafts. Exporting translations is commonly done when a third-party is used to run quality assurance. For example, you may specifically want to run a Microsoft Word spell check.

QA Export is only available when the CAT tool is filtered by job. If it's not filtered by a job, click Filter and select a job from within the dropdown menu.

To export your translations, click the QA Export menu and select either:

  • Export Job as CSV -or-
  • Export Job as DOCX

(Any tags that appear in the source/target translations in the CAT tool will be removed upon export.)


Note: There is no import option.

Ignore Quality Checks

Linguists have the option to ignore individual quality checks. This is useful in cases where you spot a check that may be a false positive, or doesn’t apply to the current set of content you’re working on. Low and medium severity errors can be ignored, while high severity errors (which prevent a linguist from saving a string) cannot be ignored. Ignoring works on a string level, meaning that if you were to ignore a spacing error, no subsequent spacing errors would appear for that string. 

Errors can be ignored in the Quality Assurance panel in the side bar by pressing the X button to the right of the error.


Errors can also be ignored in the Quality Assurance tab view, also by pressing the X button:


One of the major benefits of ignoring quality checks is that strings with a medium severity error will show a warning when the string is saved. Ignored quality checks won’t trigger this warning, so ignoring quality checks at the time they’re found is helpful to prevent unwanted warnings.

Note that spelling errors cannot be ignored. Instead, there's an add to Personal Dictionary option which will remove the error, and not mark that spelling as an error in the future. 

Search Glossary

To search the glossary, click Search Glossary. If you have access to multiple projects, you select the project from the drop down menu.


Glossary Terms

Glossary terms are underlined with a dotted black line.

  1. To edit the glossary term, hover over it to reveal the modal dialog. Click the pencil icon.
  2. To insert a glossary term in the target segment, hover over it to reveal the modal dialog. Click the appropriate glossary term.


Smartling also does a glossary match of different forms of a word (such as run, ran, running). For example, in the source, the term "currency" will match against "Currencies" in the glossary. Likewise, "Ran for food" will match against "run for food". This only applies to English source terms.

For more information on this topic, see Add or Edit a Glossary Term.


Glossary Terms, Tags, and Placholders

When you start to type a glossary term, tag, or placeholder in the target field, you'll be presented with options which you can select from. If there are multiple items, you can use the arrow keys to go up or down.

If you're using the Smartling keyboard profile, use "Enter" to insert the item. For Trados and MemoQ, use the "Tab" key. (If not already configured, it can be done from within the Keyboard Shortcuts menu.)

Search Translation Memory

To search the translation memory, click Search TM. You can toggle between languages in the drop down menu.


For more information, see Search and Use Translation Memory.

String Level Matches

String level matches are TM matches that correspond to an entire string, and not to each segment within a string. When inserted, they will be inserted into the first segment of a string.

String level matches are indicated by diagonal stripes. Also note that string level matches will not be auto-populated by the pre-populate feature. Therefore, it's possible for a segment to have only a string level match and not be auto-populated.

Smartling doesn't allow for string level matches to auto-populate as a way of preventing all of the  text from being added to the first segment.




Toggle Case

Improve translation speed by using the toggle case feature. Options include:

  • Change all text to lowercase (ex.: morning)
  • Change all text to uppercase (ex.: MORNING)
  • Capitalize the first letter of each word (ex.: Good Morning)

Highlight the text you'd like to change and click the Aa button or use the default keyboard shortcut Shift + F3 to cycle through the different options.


(If you would like to customize the toggle case keyboard shortcut, go to Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts > Miscellaneous.)

Not all languages have the concept of upper/lower case. Supported languages include all languages using the Latin alphabet, Cryllic alphabet, Greek, and Armenian.

Special Characters

You can easily insert special characters into the target field by opening the Special Character Menu and selecting the one that you need. 




In your settings, you can adjust the following:

Translation Options:

  • Pre-populate 100% translation memory matches: If this is enabled, you can adjust the range in order to see a lower score match.
  • Overwrite all matching drafts and saved translations when a 100% repetition is updated (current page only).
  • Notify before overwriting saved repetitions.
  • Replace straight quotes with smart quotes - German and French only. When enabled, a pair of straight quotes (" ") will automatically be converted into language specific quotes:
    • For French: « »
    • For German: „  “

      You can also set up a keyboard shortcut for smart quotes, or use the smart quotes toggle on the segment.
      Note: Once the feature is turned ON, the only way to insert a standard straight quote (") via the keyboard is to toggle the feature off (either by keyboard shortcut or through the toolbar).

Display Options: 

  • Tag values: Enabling this feature will show HTML tags in strings and segments.
  • Spaces between words: Enabling this feature creates a dot in the place of a space.

Editor Settings: 

To change your preferences, go to Settings > Preferences


For more information on this topic, see Customize CAT Tool Behavior.

Personal Dictionary

Sometimes you'll see words are underlined in the CAT tool, suggesting that there's a spelling error, when in fact, there isn't. The personal dictionary feature allows you to add words to a dictionary that only applies to you. (You can also remove words.) Once this is done, these words will no longer be marked as containing spelling errors.

To access your personal dictionary, go to Settings > Personal Dictionary.


For more information on this topic, see Customize CAT Tool Behavior.

Visual Context View

Visual context gives you insight into what you're translating. You can see in real-time how your translated string will appear. (When you click a segment, the relevant text will be highlighted in the context view.)

  1. To pop out the context view into a new window, click the gear wheel and select New Window. This is useful for when you'd like to have the TM search open on one screen, with the context view on an external monitor. You can also click and drag the gear wheel to another area within the context view.
  2. To resize the context view, click and drag (up or down) the window.
  3. To collapse the context view, click the arrows.


For more information on Visual Context, see Screenshots.

Mobile Responsive Context

To view what your context would look like on a mobile phone or tablet, click the gear wheel at the bottom left of your context window and select from the following:

  • Desktop
  • Mobile 
  • Tablet



Looking for information about video context? See the Video Translation Overview article.

Job Attachments

Job Attachments allows for reference files to be associated with a job and accessible to all users who have access to the job or the content in a job.  These files are non-translatable and do not go through the translation workflow or count towards word count estimates.


  • Upload: Any user may upload and attach any file to a job.
  • View and Download:  Any user may view and download any file attached to a job.
  • Delete:  Account Owners and Project Managers can delete any file attached to a job.  Other roles can only delete the files they have uploaded.

File Types and Size

  • File types:  Any file type can be attached to a job.
  • Maximum file size: 500Mb
  • Maximum of 50 file attachments.

Accessing Job Attachments

Job Attachments can be found in the Additional Details panel of the CAT Tool.



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