For other translatorsTranslator’s life


freelace translator laptop

Today’s post is somewhat technical, just like the previous one about tools for translators. This one is about translators’ equipment. It’s dedicated to those of you who are at the beginning of your translation career path. I’m going to tell you more about the computer equipment which is good for translators at present (i.e. 2024). I’ll focus on PCs and laptops with Windows, as they are what I use on a daily basis. I’m presenting basic information here but it can serve as a point of reference for further research.

Photo by Alexandre Debiève on Unsplash


The computer processor must be of good quality and efficient, but it needn’t be top-shelf. Much depends on whether you want to run Windows 10 or 11. Generally, the most recommended processors are 64-bit Intel 5 or AMD Ryzen 5 or higher (or equivalent). For example, these processors are recommended in the memoQ documentation, but they should be 5 years old at most.

There are varying views as to whether they should be dual-core or quad-core, though. If you regularly use a lot of other programmes apart from CAT software, like: you listen to music, use text and spreadsheet editors, and have Skype on to be in touch with the clients, you can consider the quad-core.

As far as the clock signal is concerned, there are no special requirements – I use the i7 3,6 GHz (I bought it in 2016!) and I’ve never managed to overload the processor so far, even with some really intense work going on.

2. RAM

The choice of RAM is more of a key issue, especially as far as CATs are concerned. For instance:

  • Wordfast Pro minimum requirement is 4 GB and recommended is 8 GB.
  • SDL Trados Studio 2022 minimum requirement is 8 GB and recommended 16 GB.
  • memoQ minimum requirement is 8 GB and recommended 16 GB.

As I use Wordfast Pro every day, I can say that 8 GB or even 16 GB in the case of the other two programs can be definitely too little — especially when run on Windows 11. If you add a search engine to it, with dozens of tabs open (which is my standard mode of work), and some other necessary applications, such as dictionaries, you’re likely to use up the 8 GB or 16 GB RAM quickly. This is why I would recommend at least 16 GB for Windows 10 and 24 GB for Windows 11, so that you can rely on some spare space for the growing requirements of updated software.


Another decision you need to make is the selection of the hard drive: HDD, SSD, or hybrid. Again, for Trados 2022, an SSD disk is recommended and I must say this is just fit and proper. My PC is equipped with a hard disk drive, but my laptop has a solid-state drive. I can see a great difference in how Trados runs between these two machines. When the TM or TMs used contain up to several hundred thousand entries, the lower and lower speed of loading each segment is noticeable. Of course, the differences are of decimal seconds up to one second, but if you’re dealing with a translation of 3000 segments, this takes 3000 seconds more with an HDD, which equals 50 minutes of time wasted on the longer loading of the TM. The SSD is the winner here, by all means.


When it comes to video cards, the solution is simple. A computer for a translator is just a more advanced office computer which does not operate on any high-level graphic processes. Thus, it’s a good idea to save some money and instead invest in a more powerful processor, SSD, or an additional screen.

Unless you regularly play video games after finishing your day’s work – well, that’s a different story 😉


The final issue I’m going to discuss here is the screen and its resolution. When you browse through translators’ forum threads about hardware, you come across many voices saying that it’s better to work with large screens and high resolutions. I agree with that too. A big monitor (over 20”), Full HD (1920 × 1080), is a minimum. It allows you to divide one screen into two work areas, so you can work simultaneously with a CAT and a browser in a comfortable way – as you can see below. This is a perfect solution for those who don’t like working with two or three monitors, or can’t afford them.

double screen


This is all for today. I hope that all the details about the technical questions concerning the translator’s work have satisfied your curiosity in this respect and that they will make it easier for you to choose the best equipment for you and start off as a geared-up translator.



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