An Insight into the Translation Memory

The database that is stored the already translated sentences or paragraphs in the form of segments for helping the human translator, is known as the Translation Memory (TM). The Source text and its respective translation are stored in the form of language pairs in the translation memory, which are known as the “Translation Units”. However, the individual words are not in the TM domain as they are handled on the basis of terminology. The software that is used TM is usually referred as translation memory managers (TMM). TM is used with a CAT tool, terminology management systems, word processing program, multilingual dictionary or simple MT output.

How the Translation Memory works?

The TM program actually breaks the text that needs to be translated into small segments, it then searches for the matches between the segments and source of the previously translated text that is stored in the TM, it then presents the matching pairs as the candidate of translation. The candidates act as an option for the translator and he can replace the translation with the candidate or modify it.  The modified translation or the fresh translation is also stored in the database of the TM.

There are some memory systems that search only for matches that are at 100% while some systems retrieve from the similar segments with the differences flags. However, the ideal TM system searches only for the text in the source segments. The segment that does not match is manually entered by the translators, which is, later on, stored in the database on the TM system for future assistance.

Benefits of using a Translation Memory System

The TM systems are very suitable for specialized vocabulary documents and technical documents, other benefits of translation memory include;

  • The document has been completely translated.
  • The translated document is consistent that includes phrasings, definitions and terminology, especially when multiple translators are working on a single document.
  • Enables the translations in a variety of formats.
  • Accelerate the translation process by saving time.
  • Reduce the cost translation projects that are conducted on a long term basis.

Some Obstacles in using the Translation Memory System

The main problems in using a translation memory include;

  • The TM is based on the concept of recycling the translated text; however the translator should translate the message of text instead of the component sentence.
  • The translators sometimes do not feel like fitting into the existing options of TM.
  • It does not support all the document formats and even the filters does not support all the file types.
  • The off-site translators, like the freelancers, need to install the service tools for accessing the TM for generating text.
  • The full version of TM managers may prove to be expensive, it may range from $500-$2,500 per installation.
  • The maintenance of the database is manual; any failure in data storage may cause disasters in the TM memory.
  • It is suitable for technical translations and not very useful in the text that is lacking the internal repetition.
  • There is no guarantee of the recorded text, as it is saved as and when the translator is translating the text, there is no authenticity if the accuracy of the text.

1 Comment

  1. Kyle Otze says:

    I’m glad you listed the obstacles and the benefits in one article. I can understand this better now. Thank you!

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