Translation memory software is a valuable tool that:

  • Helps to utilise repetitive texts and materials that have been translated earlier
  • Improves the quality and consistency of translated texts
  • Makes translation faster
  • Saves in translation costs

Translation memory technology is a form of computer-assisted translation (CAT). The texts being translated need to be processed using specific software programs developed for this purpose, sometimes referred to as CAT tools.

CAT tools can be fully utilised when source texts are supplied in an editable file format.

A database that supports translation

When you translate using a CAT tool, it creates and maintains a database called a translation memory (TM) where it stores each part, or segment, of the text separately. In practice the segment is usually a sentence or a similar portion of text. The translation memory database is therefore like a glossary which, instead of storing terms or words, stores translated sentences, also known as translation units.

During translation work the program automatically compares each new sentence with those already stored in the database. If it finds a similar segment in the database (a 100% match), the translator needs to decide whether the earlier translation can be used as such in the current context. The translator either accepts the translation from the (TM) database, or edits it as needed.

When comparing the sentences to be translated with the earlier translations stored in the database, the software also recognises sentences that are almost, but not entirely, identical to the new sentence. Again the translator needs to assess which parts of the translation found from the database can be utilised in the current sentence, and make the necessary changes.

Even when earlier translations of segments are not found in the TM database, it can be used as a highly reliable and relevant term base from which the translator can search for individual terms and expressions that have been used in the customer’s earlier translations. This helps to improve the consistency of texts and corporate communications.

Making the most of technology

The benefits you get from translation memory tools naturally depend on the quality and relevance of the material in the database, and of course on how well you can use the technology.

Advanced translation memory tools can effectively and reliably handle even complex file formats such as those used for producing various publications, websites and programs. They also enable the translator to create and utilise term bases during the translation process.

We cooperate with Kilgray, the supplier of memoQ translation memory software, and we participate in their Growing Together Program. That enables us to participate in the development of their CAT technology, making it better serve the needs of our customers both now and in the future.

Contact us if you want further information about how to create different language versions of your material as cost-effectively as possible.