Translation memory (TM) is a database that stores previously translated text; it aids human translators by acting as an extension to his/her own memory, it is most commonly used in conjunction with computer aided translation (CAT) tools. It is a modern technology tool designed to help translators and has revolutionised the way businesses are run, saving businesses time and cost and creating more efficient and consistent translations.

It works by identifying repeated words and phrases within a document and repeated words and phrases within two or more documents. When a phrase is first encountered the human translator will translate it and send it to the TM. This will then be stored so that the next time that phrase appears the TM will suggest the previously created translation; it will match a previously translated segment to a new source segment on a percentage basis, if a target segment in the TM and its corresponding source match a new source to be translated word for word, it will be automatically be translated and the analysis will return a statistic of 100%.

The suggestion can either be accepted or those that are close matches can be modified rather than completely translated. This can represent considerable time and cost savings as each time a word or phrase is completed it is stored in the database, the more times this process is repeated the more translations are stored, aiding the production of consistent translations.

This consistency can be particularly important if a number of translators work for the same client or same projects. TMs speed up the process; the more translations stored in the system the more efficient it becomes, they can also identify partial content matches. TMs help to reduce the cost of long term projects or regular translation of similar content because once content has been translated, repeat content never needs to be translated again; therefore a TM has the ability to recycle work done in the past.

TMs may not be suitable for literary documents such as novels and texts with a very low repetitive rate or a range of texts that are unlikely to be translated in the future; in some circumstances a TM could negatively impact the style, flow and creativity of the text.

WORDtrans is a quality translation service who continuously invest in the most up to date technology available, ensuring the translation process is as consistent and efficient as possible.

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