A translation memory commonly known as “TM” is a database that stores translated terminology, sentences, paragraphs, or segments based on a particular field and when texts of similar content are uploaded for translation, matches are automatically suggested as translations. Terminology is generated according to context from previously translated segments or from older uploaded files. SDL Trados Studio is now the leading translation software and its translation memory feature is one its most used resources.
Content for translation memories can be shared on SDL Trados Cloud as well as offline when necessary. There are several advantages of using a translation memory, a few of which we are going to look at in this article.
Firstly, using a translation memory improves speed and consistency as it also relies on older high-quality translations. Pre-translation is an option that saves time; when content is pre-translated (a suggested segment automatically fills in the blanks), all the translator needs to do next, is review the translations and make sure automatic suggestions are the right translation or match.
Secondly, the translation of repetitive segments does not require a new translation every time, because content of similar paragraphs and sentences automatically appear. Furthermore, a rich translation memory could have several translation suggestions for a particular sentence, from which a translator can choose. Which brings us to another advantage; multiple translation memories with similar language pairs can be used at once by preselecting the necessary ones when tailoring the settings for a project.
Additionally, because translation memories also have segments, it is possible to manage and update its contents by editing them individually. Doing this can help repair fuzzy or inaccurate matches. This improves match-up efficiency during translation
Contextual search is another action that can come in handy when using a translation memory. It can be used when matches do not automatically appear or when word pairs are not recognised, or if the context of the translation in question is not the same as that of the translation memory.
It is important to mention that translation memories can be owned by translators, companies, and clients. Sometimes when a client has a rich and reliable translation memory, they share them with translation service providers or freelance translators for efficient and satisfactory results.
Apart from translation memories, SDL Trados offers another similar feature for creating or importing contextual database known as a Termbase. It is a terminology management tool that makes it possible to create, add, edit, and delete terminology. Files created using this software can also be shared on SDL cloud or offline as independent files. Termbase creation however requires a separate download of the MultiTerm software but can be used simultaneously with Trados Studio.
Even though there are other translation memory software out there with similar features and resources. SDL Trados is the most used by translation professionals in France, hence our interest in its productivity.