Translation Memory: What Is It and What Are the Benefits?

Because companies have unique brand voices, it’s common for there to be similarities in their messaging in the form of recurring statements or phrases.

Repeated content in client communications and content means that translators can significantly cut down the time it takes to complete a translation process by using translation memory. A translation memory (TM) is a linguistic database that stores sentences, paragraphs, or phrases that have been previously translated.

TM is a useful translation tool for human translators as it eliminates the need to localize the same phrases each time they come up. TM aims to accelerate the overall process by “remembering” previously translated material, allowing translators to localize it only once and pull it from memory the next time it occurs instead of having to re-translate it.

Here are the 4 main benefits of translation memory:

1. Improved Quality

The “translation units” that are stored by translation memory can be retrieved and used within the same document, other material from the same client, or for a new project entirely. It means that the more phrases are turned into “translations units,” the more consistent translations will be which contributes to the overall quality of the work.

The translator can focus their attention on localizing the rest of the content because TM has not only sped up their work but has made them more efficient and effective. Even the most inexperienced translators improve in productivity as they become more acquainted with the verbiage that is often unique to specific industries.

2. Time-Saving

Because translation memory captures translations and stores them for future use, the translator can cut down the amount of time it would take them to complete a project for the same client, particularly if the content involves many of the same phrases or sentences that are prevalent in most of their brand material. The same “translation units” can also be used for other clients who use similar phrases because they are from similar industries.

3. Consistency

If the client is a big global company with a lot of content that needs translating, it’s not always possible for the same translator to work on all the projects. Without TM, each translator will attempt to localize the phrases, sentences, or paragraphs that occur throughout all the material. The individual results from each translator may be different, causing inconsistencies to occur. TM aims to reduce inconsistencies by giving a team of translators who are each working on their own projects for one client access to a shared bank of previously translated phrases.

4. Increased Revenue

Using TM means faster turnover times. Because TM can reference past translations, the amount of time it would typically take to work on the material is decreased. Getting projects done in less time means being able to accept more translation jobs from more clients. Whether you pay your translators per hour or per project, decreasing the amount of time it takes them to complete a project thanks to TM means they will be able to take on more work.

In conclusion, translation memory is an innovative tool that aids in localization, improving the process, and effectively improving the quality of work. And because it empowers translators, they are more productive which is ultimately felt across the whole company.


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