Until recently, translators who were hard at work sat at their desks with books, dictionaries, pencils and paper, but today, translators’ tools have evolved – and the translation process along with it.
One of the most common, and most prized, items in the professional translator’s toolbox today is translation memory. In essence, translation memory is a linguistic database that saves a translator’s time and thus helps to reduce translation costs for the client.
Let’s take a closer look at translation memory and why you, as a translation client, should be familiar with it.
The Fundamentals of Translation Memory
Translation memory stores buildings blocks, called segments. These segments could be as small as titles or phrases, or as long as whole sentences or paragraphs.
Most written texts are unique, but many of the building blocks that they’re built from are not. With translation memory, specific words and phrases from a particular language pair can be translated just once, not every time it appears in the same context. Aside from saving a translator’s time, this helps ensure that translations are more uniform in quality.
Of course, context is very important in ensuring the accuracy of any translation. One key part of a professional translator’s job when using translation memory is to make sure that the specific context where the phrase or sentence appears matches the context of the translation consulted. Only then should the translator consider using the segment. This is one of the reasons why a professional translator’s experience and judgment are so vital to producing a good translation today.
Translation memory encourages professional translators to reuse what can be reused and concentrate their linguistic efforts on words, phrases and combinations that have not yet been translated.
Translation memory is typically an important feature of a computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool. What is a CAT tool, you might ask? This is a type of computer software that combines different features such as spell checkers and electronic dictionaries to help human translators work more efficiently.
Let’s pause for a moment though. Translation memory (also called TM) should not be confused with machine translation (known as MT). Translation memory is a tool used by a professional translator, but it depends on the translator’s judgment and skills to be used correctly. Machine translation, on the other hand, is translation that is produced strictly by machines and not by human translators.
Translation Memory at Work
Translation memory is one of the tools we use every day at Responsive Translation. Our translation teams create client-specific translation memories for individual language pairs. However, we can also use and add to translation memories created by previous translation vendors if they are available.
Responsive Translation’s regular clients can see the cost savings every time they receive a translation quote. After we analyze a client’s texts to be translated against the database, we provide a breakdown of the type of match savings offered by the translation memory, such as “100%” or “85-94%.”
When used correctly, translation memory helps professional translators to be more efficient, translations to be more uniform in quality and last but not least, translation clients to save money on their translations. In the right hands, translation memory is a win-win translation tool.
Professional Translation Services
Are you looking to reduce your organization’s translation costs without sacrificing quality? Responsive Translation is a full-service translation agency certified for ISO 9001.
For further information about our translation services, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212-355-4455 ext 208.