ULG’s Language Solutions Blog

How to reduce costs, decrease turn-around time & improve consistency with Translation Memory

Posted by Kenzie Shofner on July 26, 2016

What is Translation Memory (TM)?

TM is a database that stores segments of translated text in order to aid human translators, so the same sentence never needs to be translated, or paid for, twice.

How it works.

When you submit a file for translation, preferably in an editable format like a Word Document, the content is put into the TM. Then, the content is evaluated in segments against the database of previously translated terms and phrases. When the TM finds a match, it shares it with the human translator working on the text. They can accept or overwrite the suggestion depending on how it fits with the context of the current document. As your TM grows so does the likelihood of more matches, resulting in faster and more consistent translations at a lower cost. In fact, many of the companies we work with cut 30% or more of their translation expenditures through use and maintenance of a good TM.

Learn about the different kinds of matches in this infographic.

Keep Your Translation Memories Separate

While you want to continue to expand your TM to improve match rates, it may not be a good idea to only have one TM for your entire company. TMs are as unique as the content used to build them and isolating content improves consistency and decreases costs by limiting variances. In other words, it’s a good idea to keep separate legal and marketing TMs.

For example, “Definitions are provided for guidance only” can be found in legal and other types of content, but for technical content it might be referring to something else, like software. By combining your TMs you run the risk of decreasing the efficiency of your TM and convoluting your match rates.

Your translation memory is an important asset.

Be sure to ask your translation partner to provide you with a copy of your translation memory at regular maintenance intervals and/or as requested. Also, consider working with your translation provider to create glossaries and style guides to help you achieve the best match-rates possible.

Have questions? We’d love to help. Contact us today.

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Topics: Translation