in All Things Localization, Language Technology, Localization Tips


What is translation memory? Translation memory, or TM, is a service that supplies you with translation suggestions based on a database of your accumulated previous translations. Translations are stored by “segments,” which can be any coherent language unit, like a word, phrase, or heading. Over time, as your company performs more translations, your database of segments grows, which means that the frequency and breadth of translation suggestions increases. What benefits can TM bring to your company? We’ve listed five below.

1. Speedier Translations

Translation can be extremely time-consuming, fortunately, one of the main benefits of TM is that it saves lots of time. As any translator knows, researching unfamiliar words and confirming their nuanced usage can be tedious – not to mention all the time spent trying to recall how you translated that one obscure technical term last month. TM is an investment that pays increasing dividends over time—the more translations your company completes, the more segments your database stores, which means less time for each translation.

2. Greater Consistency in Terms

Consistency is crucial for professional translation services. You don’t want your client looking at two different deliveries and finding different translations for the same word or phrase. TM makes sure this doesn’t happen. Unsurprisingly, it can be difficult to recall how you translated a special word or phrase weeks or months ago. You could root around in your folder of past translation files and CTRL + F until you get what you’re looking for but this takes time. If you’re dealing with a team of translators, inconsistencies in translation choices are bound to crop up, but with TM, the consistency of translations is dramatically increased.

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3. Reduced Costs

Because TM allows each of your translators to do more in less time, your company can cut down on manpower, thereby saving money. Imagine being able to hire two or three fewer translators because your team’s output has increased significantly with the aid of TM.

4. Inexperienced Translators Are Made Useful

One further advantage of TM is that less experienced translators or translators new to a particular subject—for example; IT, finance, or law—can still produce usable translations. This is because the time that it would take to become acquainted with all the verbiage unique to a field is cut down significantly.

5. Ensured Completeness of Translations

Another benefit of TM is that it helps ensure the completeness of translations. While there are various kinds of translation memory systems, one common feature of them is that translations are performed line by line in such a fashion that it is obvious if a line or segment is missed. Compared to translation performed in a Word document for example, the chances of neglecting to translate a line of text are greatly reduced.

The benefits offered by translation memory present exciting opportunities for translators and companies that facilitate translation. At CSOFT we pride ourselves on providing leading localization services and equipping our linguists with the best in translation system technology. The optimization of Translation Memory Systems allows our linguists to apply their talents while making the most of time saving, efficiency focused translation applications. With the recent innovations in translation technology, the many future benefits of their continued evolution are set to change the industry even more.

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Written by Mike Lenczewski, Senior Writer at CSOFT International

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