The translation companies began investing in the various CAT tool programs approximately ten years ago. They have been steadily storing up growing “libraries” of source-language documents with their translations. This means that the types and quantities of text that can be processed with the help of these programs are expanding steadily. It also means that in the future there will be less need for translations done “from scratch” and more need for editing, “filling in of blanks” (translation of words and sentences not already stored in memory), adaptation of “fuzzy-match” sentences, and general “smoothing” of these canned translations culled from CAT-tool memories. There is likely also to be more need for pre- and post-editing of machine-produced translations.
In other words, free-lance translators who sub-contract to the translation service companies (and even to other types of clients, since awareness of machine translation programs and CAT tools, and insistence on their use, is increasing among corporate users of translations as well) will to a great extent need to stop being writers and to become good copy-editors, proofreaders, and data managers. Unfortunately, it is a long-standing, tried-and-true truism in the publishing industry that writers tend not to make good copy-editors and proofreaders.