Translation Memory 101: Achieve High Quality Results and Save at the Same Time

Posted by Rachel Varnergardner on Dec 23, 2014 Dec 23, 2014

iStock_000009495248XSmallTranslation memory is an essential tool for increasing consistency and efficiency, and can result in significant cost savings over time. Translation memory (TM) software is a valuable tool for translators and often a client’s best friend.

What is translation memory? In simple terms, a TM it is a database consisting of “segments” (phrases and sentences) that are stored as the original source language along with translated target language “segments” that correspond to the original content.

As new text is translated and reviewed, new segments are created and added to the TM. Going forward, the software that accesses the TM will automatically search all existing segments to determine if the text has been translated previously. If the TM detects a “match”, it will present the previous source and target language and the translator will confirm whether the previous segment is identical to the current one. Even if the current segment does not match 100% to the TM, the translator can use these so-called “fuzzy matches” and make the appropriate edits to create a new segment. In this way, the translator avoids having to re-translate text that has already been reviewed and approved from previous projects, and terminology and style can remain consistent across projects for each client.

By leveraging translation memory, clients gain these top benefits:

  • Acceleration of your project’s timeline and the overall localization process
  • Improved quality and high level of consistency – now and in the future
  • Cost reduction – with repeated or matching text, costs continually decrease

Does your company or organization recycle or reuse certain content across different products, brands, or projects? With translation memory, you won’t have to worry about inconsistent translations, as the translators will access your client-specific TM and implement all matches. Given the subjective nature of language, there may be five different ways to express your company’s main marketing tagline in Spanish, for instance. Each version may be grammatically correct, and as equally creative, but most clients realize how important it is for their brand that this text doesn’t vary between translation requests. With TM, professional linguists no longer have to rely solely on human memory or manually search through past projects and glossaries. Consequently, clients can be assured that their translations will be higher quality.

Another integral tool that is linked to the TM is the Glossary or “Term Base” feature. This is important for term consistency, as the TM software will identify terms in the source language that have entries in the existing Glossary. Thus, the translator will have access to the approved terminology which will be incorporated into every translation. 

Here at Dynamic Language, our clients have sole ownership of their TMs that we manage here in-house. Each time you send a new translation request to your Project Manager, we will analyze your new content against your existing TM. The TM will produce the breakdown of the total word count, distinguishing between new text, 100% matches, segment repetitions and fuzzy matches (99% - 75% matches). As you increase collaboration with us and localize more content, your TM will grow and become even more valuable.

Next Steps:

Topics: Localization, Translation Technology