A translation memory, or TM, is a
software program designed as an aid for human translators.
Translation memories are also known as translation memory
Translation memories are typically
used in conjunction with a word processing program, a
terminology management system, a multilingual dictionary, and
even raw machine translation output.
A translation memory consists of a
database of text segments in a source language and their
translations in one or more target languages. These segments can
be individual words or multiword phrases.
Research indicates that many
companies producing multilingual documentation are using
translation memory systems
Translation Memory tools
Trados - translation memory tool.
Foreign Desk- translation memory
Déjà Vu - translation memory
OmegaT - a free translation memory
application written in Java intended for professional
translators. Compatible with other translation memory
applications (TMX Level 1).
SDLX - translation memory tool.
STAR Transit - editor/translation
WordFast, a small, fast, effective
translation memory program developed by Yves Champollion. Not
IBM TM/2, Star Transit or Alpnet's
Among other good things, those
"client-independent" programs provide really
user-friendly translation memory and contextual search features,
import any files you ask them to and re-export them as
ready-to-go documents with all formatting and graphics in
Translation memory managers are
most suitable for translating technical documentation and
documents containing specialized vocabularies. Their benefits
· Ensuring that the translated
documents are consistent, including common definitions,
phrasings and terminology. This is important when different
translators are working on a single project.
· Accelerating the overall
translation process; since translation memories
"remember" previously translated material, translators
have to translate it only once.
· Reducing costs of long-term
translation projects; for example the text of manuals, warning
messages or series of documents needs to be translated only once
and can be used several times.
For large documentation projects,
savings (in time or money) thanks to the use of a TM package may
already be apparent even for the first translation of a new
project, but normally such savings are only apparent when
translating subsequent versions of a project that was translated
before using translation memory.
How Do Translation Memory
Many of us have used Internet
translation similar to that provided by AltaVista's Babel Fish
in an attempt to translate an email or unknown text. We quickly
realize that while it may give us an idea of the underlying
message and prove to be a quick low-cost solution, it is
anything from perfect. Machine translation is no match for a
real person right?
A segment is a string of text,
usually a sentence, but in some languages a segment may be a
Translation memory tools store
previously translated segments in a database, enabling
translators to work more efficiently and reducing the need for
retranslation. When translating a new document, these tools find
and retrieve identical or similar matches of these segments for
reuse. The results are returned with a rank or score according
to the percentage of similarity between the text being
translated and the match found.
An exact match (100%) is returned
where there is no difference or variation between the two
A fuzzy match is returned where the
strings are very similar but not identical. The same string that
uses different formatting can return a fuzzy match.
Translators often charge different rates when text is found
as an exact match, as a fuzzy match (with the match falling
between a certain percentage), or is a new translation