Translation Memory – How To Make It Work For You

Translation Memory – How To Make It Work For You

If you’ve ever used a translation service, or have been talking to professional translators for your business needs, you would have surely come across the term “translation memory”. So what exactly does this tool do and how can it impact your translation and localization efforts?

What is Translation Memory?

Translation memory (TM) is simply a database of key sentences and segments of previously translated data that has been used by your firm. It is nothing but a secure -digitally updated archive of millions segments of translated data. The segments can be complete thought, sentences, heading or simply few contained portion of words.

The power of such a tool resides in its ability to learn from new translations. Thus the TM repository becomes more robust every time a new translation projects is performed.

Translation management software can then scan through your translation memory to look for matches in previously translated content and apply those to the current project

Typically matches are classified in four categories (i) exact/reuse, (ii) fuzzy, (iii) new and (iv) duplicate. While exact/ reuse require a 100% matching, fuzzy segments usually have a match range of about 75-85 %. Duplicate matches are repeated source segments within the project while “new” category require translation from scratch.

How it works?

Your language service provider can set up a secure TM for your translation projects. At we create the TM by aligning two language pairs – one source file and another translation file. We provide a TM for all of our clients and apply and use the TM for all their future projects to analyze any new translation requirements and identify segments that can be translated directly using an earlier TM. These tools will be used by the translators assigned to your projects with matches from the database, which can be accepted, rejected or modified as needed.

 Why use TM?

1.      Cost saving: The Exact and Fuzzy category matches reduce time and effort of translators and hence are charged at a much lower per word rate

2.     Quality and consistency of communication- TM helps standardize vocabulary and style over time by accessing and reusing previously approved translations,

3.     Faster turnaround: The more robust your repository becomes, the less redundant work linguists have to work on. This means you’ll start to see your projects come back quicker and quicker.

So insist on using translation memory software, especially for versions of materials that are highly repetitive or technical. Over time, the translation memory bring down your translation costs, save you time and improve the consistency of your translated documents.

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