What Is Translation Memory and When Are They Used?

What Is Translation Memory and When Are They Used? | One Hour Translation
A translation memory is made up of the source text in one language, to align with the respective translation in another language; meaning the target language, which is the translated text.

A translation memory is made up of the source text in one language, to align with the respective translation in another language; meaning the target language, which is the translated text. These texts are aligned in segments, or units, which might be whole paragraphs, sentences, or just a single word.

The purpose of a translation memory is to extract partial or complete suggestions for a segment and the concordance for a specific word or term.

The Benefits of a Translation Memory

The main benefit of a translation memory is when working with documents containing technical terms, or a specialized vocabulary. In fact, translation memories can be used for any type of translation, on any topic, because they offer many advantages. These include –

  • When using a translation memory, the translator is ensured that every part of the document is translated, because empty segments (meaning segments for which no translation has been provided) are not accepted;
  • A translation memory ensures that the documents being translated are consistent, and this might include terminology and/or common definitions. When different translators are working on the one document that’s been divided into sections, this becomes highly important;
  • The translation memory allows translators to work with a wide range of formats, without requiring any special software;
  • Because the translation memory remembers, or recalls, material that’s already been translated, it means that translators only need to translate it once because, every time it occurs in the text, that memory is indicated;
  • The translation memory guarantees uniformity and consistency in the translation and the style of translation because, as we know, one term can have many possible translations or definitions;
  • Costs become considerably lower when a translation memory is used: texts that require translation can be analysed with the translation memory to show the number of new or repeated segments, sentences or words that are identical in the document, and even those that require just a couple of changes.

Translation costs are created based on this information, which explains why the cost reduces when translation memories are available, in comparison to another text in which all the words must be analyzed equally.