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How Translation Memory Can Save You Money and Time

How translation memory can save you money and time

If your company has been planning to enter new language markets, chances are you’ve been hit with a slew of acronyms that require translation all of their own. Translation and localization agencies offer specialized expertise that’s similar to, but not quite the same as what you’ll find for translation or internationalization (i18n) projects. Your agency has likely waxed eloquent about TM as an almost magical cure-all: it simultaneously lowers cost, accelerates delivery time, and raises quality. But wait, we’re not talking about trademarks (™) or Thulium (Tm). So what exactly is TM? And why should you care about it?

Translation memory

For translation purposes, TM means translation memory. It’s a quite simple concept: a translation memory stores translations, and then recalls them later to be reused. It remembers both the original text and the corresponding translation, thus allowing your translation and localization agency to match up existing translations to new content that is identical or similar to content translated in the past.

How translation memory works: Exact matches

Let’s say that we’re translating the following sentence for a client into Spanish, German, and Urdu:

We have achieved the highest customer satisfaction in the industry because of our robust platform and our leadership in customer service.

This sentence’s translation is saved to the current project and will be delivered to the customer. In addition, both the English sentence above and the corresponding translations for each language are saved to the TM. This way if the same sentence appears in a future document — what we call an exact match — the TM will suggest reusing the translation that has just been saved. The results are easy, elegant, and consistent over time.

How translation memory works: Fuzzy matches

What happens if our client has a new sentence that is similar to a previously translated sentence, but not identical? For example:

We have achieved record customer satisfaction in the industry because of our leadership in customer service.

In this case, the TM will still suggest the previous translation, but it will highlight that there are differences.  We call this a fuzzy match. We will need to make some changes in the translation, but in most cases, it should be possible to reuse some or most of the previously translated sentence.

The 3 benefits of translation memory

  • Cost savings: It is much more economical to pay for one sentence’s translation only once, even if that sentence happens to appear in several unpredictable places across a large body of content. In cases where similar but not identical sentences appear in your content, it’s still possible to produce translations at reduced cost through efficient use of TMs thanks to fuzzy match recognition.

  • Accelerated delivery time: TMs allow translation agencies to save time. A translator can review a reused translation much faster than write a new one. In cases where a significant portion of content is matched by the TM, the entire project can be completed days earlier than would otherwise have been possible.

  • Soaring quality: An increase in consistency and translation quality is another translation memory benefit. While we always strive to use language consistently in our translation work, it can be too much for even a small team of translators to remember exactly which expressions have been used throughout a customer’s content. This gets more complicated across multiple projects TMs, however, do not forget. By suggesting previously written translations, they enable a significant improvement to consistency and quality no matter if you’re translating another webpage tomorrow or in a year.

See where translation memory can take you

Want to see how translation memory technology could benefit your organization? Please contact us today and we’ll help you take your content to the next level for your new language markets.

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