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What is Translation Memory?


(And How Does Translation Memory Work?)

In short, Translation Memory is a linguistic database which saves translated text segments for future use. For many companies, a lot of text is recurring, with up to 40% or more, which makes up a significant amount of a company’s communications.

How does it work?

There are a number of Translation Memory software programs on the market, but essentially they all work the same way.  When you have a new file to translate, the translator(s) would open it up in the program, apply the translation memory so that any matches from previous translations are immediately extracted and placed within the target file.

What are some Translation Memory programs?

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  • fluency
  • And many others

As the translator(s) continues to work through the file, the matches suggested by the translation memory program can either be accepted or overridden. If a particular translation is overridden, the new translation is stored in translation memory for any future repetition. Likewise, all of the new text that is now being translated will then be stored in memory for all future projects.


Benefits of Translation Memory

By utilizing Translation Memory, repeated text can be translated automatically, without needing to constantly have that text retranslated each time. This results in a significant savings, a much faster turnaround time for the translated text, and consistency of language and terminology throughout all of the client’s projects.

Translation Memory tools also usually provide compatibility with numerous file formats. For example, Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, RTF, HTML and XML. This can be particularly useful for website translation projects, which presents the text to translate free from all of the coding. Once it is finished being translated, it will then insert the text back into the original format, properly embedded in the coding.

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