What is a Translation Memory (TM) and what are its benefits?

In this first article in our “Tech series,” we focus on Translation Memory and its benefits.

Most of the work carried out in the language industry is underpinned by CAT (Computer Aided Translation) tools, which are essential in helping translators produce coherent and consistent translations.

A Translation Memory (TM) is the database or ‘memory’ of a CAT tool, which stores segments of previously translated text so a translator doesn’t have to repeat their work. This can dramatically reduce the time and cost involved in a translation project, and we pass those cost savings directly to our clients globally.

When our translators begin work on a new translation, the TM will identify parts of the text that match previously translated segments as either 100% matches or ‘fuzzy’ matches. Whereas a 100% match is identical to the text segment stored in the TM, a fuzzy match might be a variation on this, so it will have to be modified by the translator.

So, what are the benefits of using TM, for both our clients and our linguists?

Efficiency and Cost

Our quotations will provide a clear breakdown of the number of 100% matched or closely matched words in the text you give us, and those words will be offered at a lower, discounted rate.

We build a new TM for every client as standard, so that the more we work with you, the more translations are fed into the TM, and the bigger it will grow. And a mature TM will generate more matches, meaning less work for our translators, faster turnaround times and significant cost savings for you in the long term.

If you work in a field that uses more technical language with a lot of repetition, for instance the legal or financial industry, you should see the benefit of this quite quickly.

Quality and Consistency

While TM will significantly reduce a translator’s workload, it won’t eliminate the essential part of their job, and an assiduous translator will need to check every match to ensure that the tone and meaning of a text are carried through to the target language.

So, when a phrase has a meaning that’s particular to your industry, a TM database will ensure it’s translated in the same way for every new translation. This is especially useful if your business has a distinct brand language or identity, and in the localization process, where linguistic consistency is vital.

While industry professionals have been leveraging the benefits of TM systems for years, Global Lingo has recently invested in a new online solution that will expand our offering. As Antonino Polizzi, (Global Software Implementation and Training Manager) explains, “It will allow our customers to access the same platform as our linguists. This gives us a chance to create a shared environment with our customers, who will be able to review our translations online. It’s going to open many doors.”

We will be publishing further articles in this “Tech series” to help you through the industry jargon. Should you have any questions in the meantime or would like to discuss a specific project in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us.