Anna Paolucci is one of our talented linguists who works at the Beijing CSOFT head office. We sat down with her to discuss her opinions of Translation Memory and its use, and to get her angle on translation in general.
Do you personally use translation memory in your translation work?
Yes, I try to use Translation Memory as much as I can. Translation Memory is basically a database that stores segments previously translated by myself or other translators; you can create different translation memories based on different topics (IT, legal, and mechanical) or clients (Huawei, Kodak etc.) and use it every time you translate a new document for that particular topic. That’s why it is so crucial for my work.
For you as a translator, what are the advantages of using translation memory?
It helps me save time and be consistent with previously translated files. You can also always edit segments if you need.
How does translation memory differ from machine translations? Is it more reliable?
Of course! Translation Memory is a database of human translations and offers different translation options according to the specific context of a particular document. Machine translation is made by a machine that, as advanced as it may be, doesn’t have the ability to detect the context or to adjust the translation of a segment according to a specific document.
Is saving time and money the most important thing to consider when translating?
For a translator the most important thing when translating is to provide a high quality translation while also trying to save time and money.
Can we trust translation memory to effectively translate important texts, such as legal or medical documents?
Of course that is one of the purposes of using Translation Memory. Because legal or medical documents usually contain repetitive text, Translation Memory is a really reliable resource for specific terminologies and expressions.
With the fast development of machine translation, what does this hold in store for human translation? What are your personal feelings about the benefits and drawbacks of both?
Well, it’s true that Machine translation can be helpful when translating, especially when it comes to legal or very technical documents, as it can provide you with some technical terms that otherwise you would have to search for on the Internet, wasting precious time. But it is also true that machine translation is not very reliable and can be inaccurate, incomprehensible, and potentially dangerous. Human translation on the other hand, if provided by a professional and qualified translator, offers a high standard of accuracy, interpretation of the context and of the creative use of language. Humans can spot content where literal translation isn’t possible and find the most suitable alternative, but all this comes at a higher price. So, in my opinion, what we should really be talking about is when to use these two different types of translation, as each of them serves a very different purpose.
Anna Paolucci is a qualified Italian translator with more than 8 years of experience. She is fluent in English, Chinese and German and she has worked as a freelancer as well as both translator and project manager for several localization companies before joining CSOFT almost 2 years ago to continue developing her career path.