Translation Memory and what you should know about it

Translation memory illustrationTranslation memory is a database which consists of translated versions of phrases, sentences or parts of a sentence and paragraphs. These translations can belong to not only one but more languages as well. Translation agencies use software programs that use translation memory known as Translation memory managers. It is generally a union with a software or CAT tools. It helps in completing document translation tasks faster during times of heavy workload. This helps save money as it removes the need for another translator to complete the work. Most of the global, as well as translation agencies who work on multilingual translations, use translation memory managers. TM is the abbreviation for translation memory.

What is a TM manager?

Well, it is a software which suggests you a translation of a segment or a sentence of a document in the language you’re translating to. It is sort of an auto prediction software to put it simply. And we know that it helps a lot. There are different ways of storing Translation memory in order to access it. These are known as TM systems.

There are two types of Translation memory systems namely

Desktop system

Individual translators use this kind of system. They use it by installing it on their computers. The TM is present on their computers itself. It is the best option for freelancers who have some experience in this field.

Server system

Big scale Translation agencies use this kind of system. Here, the TM is present on the server. The translators use it along with their desktop TM systems. It is obviously better than the former as it is more efficient and has a larger database. Moreover, all the translators working on different parts of the same project can use it. This ensures uniform translation in the same project regardless of the people working on it.

Is it machine translation? Which is better?

No, it isn’t. It is a database of previous translations of parts of a text. It is specific. And not general. Machine translation is different. It is general. This is because we can use it for any context. It may or may not make sense. But, people or agencies use TM when they work on a similar kind of project very often. People don’t use TM for translating words. Instead, they use Machine translation software for translation of words. Moreover, translation of a paragraph or a complex sentence using machine translation might make you lose your job if the work is very crucial. And the agency might not trust you for future projects as well. Hence, Translation memory is a much better option. As it is acceptable as well as time-saving.

But translation memory isn’t something which you can make and use for further translation work. This is because the use of TM depends on the context of the work. Suppose, you have a TM containing translations from French to English for a project in India. You can’t use the TM for the same language pair in a place such as Russia. This is because localization techniques which work well in India won’t work well in Russia.

These are most of the non-technical and conceptual information about Translation memory. You can use various software programs to create your own translation memory such SDL Trados Studio or Wordfast.

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