Translation Memory Software or Translation Memory Tools differ from Machine Translation Tools such as Babelfish and Google Translate in that human translators still play a key role in the translation process. These software packages break the text in a document or website, for example, down into segments, which often equate to sentences, and which are then translated and automatically entered into the Translation Memory or TM. This Memory is, in its simplest form, a bilingual database containing the translated segments that the translator has entered.
The real benefit of these Translation Memory Tools is that when the same segment of text occurs either later in that document or even in a separate document that may be translated months later, the software will alert the translator and identify the translation used previously. The translator can then choose to select the suggested translation according to whether the segment in question is the same in context. Furthermore, even when the segment of text is not identical, the system can identify similar segments of text (called ‘fuzzy’ matches in the industry) as well as highlighting the differences between the segments. The system also grades the level of similarity between these ‘fuzzy matches’ so that the translator is aware of the similarity of the previous translation.
In addition to this, most Translation Memory Tools include a multilingual glossary function, which enables pre-approved individual terms to be uploaded into them. The system then prompts the translator every time the term in question occurs in the text, which the translator can then select, although the term can be rejected by the translator where the term is not right in context. Another feature is the ability to easily manipulate complex file formats containing coding and to extract translatable text from artwork and authoring packages. The main benefits of using Translation Memory Tools are detailed below:
- increased consistency: if you have regular and large requirements, the chances are that more than one translator per language will work on your projects over time. Using this software will minimise any differences in style and especially terminology that may exist between translators. This will prevent the same sentence being translated differently across documents no matter how long elapses between the translation projects.
- improved turnaround times: where segments are repeated and validated by the translators, often long sentences do not have to be retyped. They are simply approved from the suggested segment and the translator moves onto the next piece of text.
- lower costs: at The Translation People, we feel that these productivity gains should reflect in the price passed onto you. That’s why we charge a significantly reduced rate for repeated or similar segments of text that are identified by the Translation Memory Tools.
- complex file formats: where you have a document that is produced in a package containing coding (such as .xml or .html), these Translation Memory Tools are able to separate out the text requiring translation from the coding so that there is no danger of code corruption and the translator can focus on his or her job, rather than spending time selecting what needs translation and what doesn’t
- enhanced DTP workflows: The Translation People use SDL Trados Studio 2009 as our primary Translation Memory Tool. This software package also enables text from artwork packages such as InDesign and Quark to be extracted and reimported very quickly, saving huge amounts of time compared with copying and pasting text from Word documents into the original formats.
For more information on The Translation People’s use of Translation Memory Tools or to participate in a free demo, please do not hesitate to contact us directly.