The CAT Tool

CAT Tool Overview

The Smartling CAT (computer-aided translation) Tool is the environment in which a Translator, Reviewer or Editor, translates, reviews, edits, and submits translations as a Translation Resource or Translation Resource Manager user.

Account Owners and Project Managers can also access the CAT Tool, however as these are not translation user roles, strings are locked by default. To unlock the strings, click the padlock icon on the shortcuts bar.

Depending on your user role and the method in which you access the CAT Tool, the content displayed can have varied results. See Accessing the CAT Tool for more information. Once you enter the CAT Tool, a new tab opens in your browser.

Agency Owners cannot access the CAT Tool.

Below lists the navigation of the CAT Tool, with details of each feature.


Each of the tabs listed at the top of the CAT Tool are important functions which, when clicked, change the display in the central window view. Below is an overview of each tab function.


Visual Context provides a visual representation of the source content you are translating in the CAT Tool. Visual Context can be either static or dynamic, depending on the source file type;

  • Static Visual Context has a fixed presentation in the CAT Tool, meaning that context will not update with translations in real-time.
  • Dynamic Visual Context is changeable, meaning that context can update with translations in real-time, as you translate each string.

Visual Context is found within the Context tab in the CAT Tool. This Context window is responsive and resizable. 


  1. To open the Context window in a new window:
    1. On all context types except image, click the gear icon and select New Window (number 1 in the above picture)
      •  You can also click and drag the gear wheel to another area within the Context window.
    2. On image context, click the New Window button at the top of the context panel
      • The New Window function is useful for when you want to view context independently and use a function within another tab - such as run a QA check, search the TM or search the Glossary.
  2. Visual Context deriving from HTML content will provide the additional options to view the source or target language in the display, as well as viewing the context in Desktop, Tablet or Mobile Mode.
  3. Choose the mode you want to view context in:
      1. Highlight string (default) illustrates the strings with a color highlight. This is useful if strings are on a white/bright background
      2. Contrast string illustrates a single string by darkening the background around the string. This is useful if the string is on a darker background
      3. Hide strings removes any illustration on the strings, so you can focus on the entire context 
  4. To zoom in or out of the context, use the - and + buttons, or choose your preferred zoom percentage
  5. To resize the Context window, click and drag the window up or down from the bottom (number 2 in the above picture), or, left or right from the right side of the window.
  6. To collapse the Context window, click the arrows (number 3 in the above picture).

Highlight string


Contrast string


Hide strings


For more information on video context, read our Video Translation Overview article.

Quality Checks

At any time, you can run a quality check on your translated strings to ensure that your translations are in line with the Smartling Project's Quality Check Profile. Quality Checks evaluate for translation consistency, spacing consistency, spelling, and any other quality checks the Account Owner or Project Manager on the account may have configured in Quality Check Options.

Open the Quality Check tab to run a Quality Check report on your translations.

By default, the scope of the report runs on the current page of translations; Scope: This page.

However, if you have multiple pages and would like to check all translations in the entire Job, update the scope to All pages.

Click the Check now button to run the Quality Check report

  1. 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.


Search TM (Translation Memory)

To search the Translation Memory, click the Search TM tab and type the source term in the search box. Search will return any TM entries containing the searched term, displayed as source and target string, the user who created the entry, the respective TM name, date the entry was last modified, and published status (if applicable). If the entry has been saved, but the translation is not yet published, "Published" will not be displayed.

Search Options

  • Toggle between target languages using the language dropdown menu.
  • Click the date fields to filter for TM entries translated before or after a certain date.
  • Click New Window to open the Search TM window in a new separate window.
  • Check the Search Target tick box to search the TM for a term in a target language.
  • Check the Published Only tick box to search the TM for published strings only. (Entries can be saved
  • Check the Match Case tick box to refine your search by case sensitivity.
  • Check the Exact Match tick box to refine your search by exactly matching the term entered in the search box.

Inserting TM Entries

Click Insert TM to quickly add a TM entry into the string. Ensure the string selected in the strings panel is the correct string you want to add the TM entry to. Re-clicking Insert TM will re-insert the TM entry. Ensure to move your string selection before inserting a TM to avoid multiple entries inserted on the one string (pictured).



To open the Glossary, click the Glossary tab. If you have access to multiple Glossaries, you can select the Glossary from the dropdown menu.

  • By default, all Glossary entries are listed. Use the search box to find a specific term.
  • The display includes the source term, the translation, the definition, and any notes.
  • Hover over the information icon to view more detail including the part of speech, the Glossary name, the timestamp the entry was last modified and any custom field information (if applicable).
  • To insert the Glossary entry into the target string, click the downward arrow.


Glossary Terms

Glossary terms are underlined with a dotted line. To view the Glossary entry details, hover over the term. You'll find all information provided by the Account Owner or Project Manager on the Glossary entry on the card, including definitions, variations, labels and custom field metadata.

The card has a link to insert the term in your translations, or, given the right permissions, edit the Glossary term.

  1. To edit the Glossary term, click the pencil icon.
  2. To insert a Glossary term in the target string, click insert


Smartling also runs 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.

Job Attachments

In the Job Attachments tab, you can view a list of all attachments for the Job. You can upload another attachment or delete any from the list.

For attachments that are an image file type, click the file name to open the image in the panel. This works nicely alongside visual contrast to provide additional visual aid when working on translations. To return to the list of attachments, click < All Attachments.

For more information, read Providing Additional Information to Linguists and Agencies with Job Attachments.

Action Buttons

Next to the tabs are the action buttons that impact the translations and state of the Job. Depending on the workflow step you enter the CAT Tool on, you may see two or three action buttons.

Reject All

When entering the CAT Tool on a review or edit step, you will see the additional Reject All action button. Clicking this will reject all translations in the Job and move it back to the translation step. A reject dialog will appear where you must provide the reason for rejecting from a dropdown list along with a brief description to highlight improvements to the translator. Once complete, and you click Reject, a translation Issue is sent to the translator and the Job is moved back to the translation step.

Save All

Click Save All to save all translations in the current page of the CAT Tool. The bulk save functionality saves the strings for the page you're currently on. Each page has a limit of 100 strings. This action updates the translation memory. It is recommended that you click Save All on each page of strings you translate and also before Submit.


Click Submit to submit the translations to the next step in the workflow. Choose to submit the number of saved translations in this Job (recommended after you click Save All), saved translations on the current page, or, translated strings on this page. This action cannot be undone.

Dropdown Menus 

To the right of the action buttons are three dropdown menus.

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
  • Export Job as DOCX

Your chosen file will download locally and include the following data points:

  1. Source
  2. Translation
  3. Max Character Length (string character count)
  4. Translator Instructions (string instructions)

Any tags that appear in the source/target translations in the CAT tool will be removed upon export. There is no import option.



If you ever need support, click the Help dropdown and select from the following options:

  • Help Center: a direct link to the Smartling Help Center
  • Release Notes: a direct link to Smartling Release Notes
  • Contact Support: a direct link to contact Smartling Technical Support
  • Get a short URL for this page: a short URL of the CAT Tool page to share with another user on the account or Smartling Technical Support. You can always use the URL in the browser, but this is usually very long.


The CAT Tool can be customized to suit you and the way you work. It is recommended that you spend some time updating the following CAT Tool settings:

  1. Keyboard Shortcuts
  2. Preferences, which includes:
    • Pre-populate Options
    • Auto-Propagate Options
    • Autocorrect Options
    • Autocomplete 
    • Display Options
    • Insertable Bar Settings
    • Editor Settings
  3. Personal Dictionary

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



On the right side of your screen, lists a number of panels which contain vital information. The panels are collapsible, so ensure the arrow beside each panel title is pointing downward to expand the view of each. Additionally, you can click and drag to further expand each view.

Additional Details

From this section, you can view important information about the active string and Job, such as:

  • String variant (flagged by a red number beside Additional Details)
  • Source character count
  • Translation character count
  • source file name
  • File attachments (downloadable)
  • File instructions
  • String hashcode (linked to String Details)
  • Glossary name
  • Style Guide (downloadable)
  • Job Attachment (downloadable)
  • Job Details (including description and custom field info)

Additionally, Account Owner, Project Manager, and Requester users can set character limits to strings from here.



Language Resources

In this panel, you will find the following insertable resources:

Hover over each to view more detail. 

Click or use a shortcut to insert the resource, and use as a translation of the string. You can modify the resource once inserted.


Quality Checks

This panel displays a list of errors found within your translations, at a string or segment level, informing you of the number of errors along with what they are.

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 Checks panel in the side bar by pressing the X button to the right of the error.


Errors can also be ignored in the Quality Checks 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 are 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. 



If you need to address anything that might need clarification from your customer, you can open an issue. All Issue opened in the Job by any user will be visible here.



View the running history of all actions taken on this Job in this panel.


Search & Filter

When you enter the CAT Tool via the Strings View or List View, you will have entered the CAT Tool outside 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 not repeated in the Job.
No Repetitions and First Only: Displays all strings that are unique or not 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.



Find and Replace

The CAT Tool Find and Replace feature allows users to quickly find and replace translations within a specific Job. 

To access find and replace, go to the CAT tool and click on the "spy glass" icon. 


Alternatively, you can use the following shortcut to bring up the Find & Replace dialog box: CTRL/CMD + Shift + F. 


For more information, read CAT Tool Find and Replace


You can update the order of the strings by clicking Sort and choosing from one of the following options:


The following rules apply to TM Estimate sorting:

  • Fuzzy match sorting is designed to work when accessing the CAT Tool via a Job, or filtered by a Job and takes a snapshot of the current status of your strings whenever a Job is estimated.
  • If a string is translated later, it may add to the Translation Memory and change the fuzzy match estimate for another string, although the overall string sort order will not change.
  • Finally, strings with multiple segments are scored according to the average of each segment’s fuzzy match score.

Show/Hide Locked Strings

Strings are locked if:

  1. A user who is not assigned to the step opens the CAT Tool (e.g.: an Account Owner or Project Manager)
  2. The strings are not in the step the CAT Tool was opened on (e.g.: if some strings have been submitted to the next step or published).

Account Owner and Project Managers can unlock strings by clicking the padlock icon.

Translation Resource users can choose to view strings in all workflow steps by clicking the Show Locked Strings button.


Translation Resource users can choose to just view strings in the current workflow step by clicking the Hide Locked Strings button.



Shortcuts Bar

The black bar above the strings is known as the shortcuts bar. 


Add Glossary Term

The Add Glossary Terms button allows users to add new terms to the Glossary. Account Owners and Project Manager can do this by default. Agency Account Owners and Linguists need to be granted Glossary permissions by an Account Owner or Project Manager.

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

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. 



The insertables bar contains a mix of characters, special character menu, HTML tags, and formatting pairs.

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.


Options include:

  • Strong <b> tag
  • Italicize <em> tag
  • Superscript <sup> tag
  • Subscript <sub> tag
  • Copy entire source to target
  • Copy source string to target
  • Copy source tags to target
  • Line break <br> element
  • Non-breaking space
  • En dash (mid-sized dash)
  • Em dash (long dash)
  • Non-breaking hyphen
  • New line hyphen

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

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.

Toggle Tags

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.

Strings Panel

Below the central window view is the strings panel, divided into 6 columns: string number, source strings, target translation, TM match %, warnings, status.

Strings and Segments

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

Larger strings may be further divided into segments, only visible in the CAT tool. A segment is usually a sentence, with a sentence-ending punctuation mark such as a period (.), exclamation point (!) or question mark (?) creating a new segment.

The following example shows an entire string (denoted with a green vertical bar) that has been parsed or broken down into two segments. A Translator, Editor, or Reviewer will then be able to translate or edit each of the corresponding segments.

Merge Segments 

If you're translating a string with multiple segments, you have the option to merge segments. Mouse over the Merge segment into next icon. Alternatively, you can use the shortcut that you've set in your keyboard settings.



A segment is one large string that has been broken into a number of smaller segments (string-like rows) in the CAT Tool. When translating this type of string, each segment would need to be translated before the string can be saved.

In this example, this one string is broken into three segments. string.png

For more information on this topic, see Content Parsing.

String Numbering

Strings are now numbered in the CAT Tool. String numbering is displayed to the left of the source strings. The active string, or string you are working on, will be indicated with a blue number.

For more information on this topic, see CAT Tool String Numbering.

Source Strings

Source strings are listed in a column to the right of the string number. This is the content you need to translate, review or edit.

Target Translations

When opening the CAT Tool on the translation step, you will see that each source sting will have a blank field to the right. This is where you insert your translation.

When opening the CAT Tool on any step after translation in the workflow, the translations should be listed in the column to the right of the source content, string by string. These are the translations you need to review or edit.


Fuzzy Match and String-Level Match (%)

The column to the right of the translation column is the % Match column. Each match is represented by a unique color display.

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 is what we refer to as a fuzzy match.

They're represented on a solid green tile with a 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, they are represented on an orange tile with light and italicized font. 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.

String-Level Match

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 a diagonal striped green tile. 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 the  text from being added to the first segment.



Bottom Bar

  • Pages: Current page of the number of pages there are in the Job.
  • Word Count: Word count of source words (translation step, on a Job with <2,000 strings).
  • Units: Count of source and translation units (edit and review steps, or if a Job has >2,000 strings)
  • Project Name: Name of the project the Job is in.
  • Job: Name of the Job
  • Step: The step in the workflow you are viewing content/working on.

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 > Keyboard Preferences. 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 once.)

For more information, see Save and Submit Translations.

Was this article helpful?