How does translation memory improve the quality of my business’s translations?

24th May 2023

Sarah Place

benefits of translation memory

You may have heard your language service provider talking about the benefits of translation memory (TM) but what actually is this?

A translation memory stores segments of text that have previously been translated. Each entry within the translation memory is called a translation unit and comprises the source text and the corresponding translation, it can be one word or a whole paragraph of text.

The benefits of translation memory

When we analyse a new file from a client in our translation software using the translation memory, it will pick up on text that we have already translated for previous projects or text which is very similar to this. It then allows us to offer a discount on similar segments of text and not charge at all for text that we have already translated. We create a translation memory per language combination for each of our clients.

Not only does translation memory make our quotes more cost-effective for our clients but it also helps to ensure consistency across the translations that we provide for them. For example, if we translate a website and then in a few months or years’ time the client makes small tweaks to some of the copy, we can simply analyse the updated source text against the translation memory.

Our software will show the corresponding translation for similar segments of text that we have already translated which our translators can then keep in mind to ensure consistency in style and terminology.

Any text in the source files that hasn’t been amended will remain unchanged and the client wouldn’t be charged for this. This makes the overall process quicker because the updated website text wouldn’t need to be translated from scratch.

We work closely with excellent professional freelance translators, many of whom we have worked with for a number of years. We try to place each project from a particular client with the same translators because they become familiar with the client’s preferred style. This coupled with the use of translation memory means that the translations are as consistent as possible.

Translation memory tools help with quality and consistency

Why is it so important to have consistent translations? A lot of our clients work in the technical/engineering or medical sector, and they often use terminology which is very specific to their business. If reading an operation manual or a medical IFU and the translation uses different words for the same machine component or product, this could become very confusing. The translation memory allows our translators to see how a particular term has previously been translated so that they can use the same term each time.

It can also be very important to ensure that the style and tone of our clients’ texts remain consistent. For example, in French you can use the informal way to address someone which is ‘tu’ or you can use the formal which is ‘vous’. The chosen form of address often depends on the context or clients may have their own preference depending on the tone they wish to portray.

When translating marketing materials, for example, it is important to make sure that the translations use the same style and tone across all texts to reflect the brand of a particular client. The use of translation memory allows us to do this.

If you have ongoing translation needs, the benefits of translation memory can be huge. Please contact us if you’d like more information on how we can help you make your translations better and more efficient with translation memory.

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