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Yes, You Need a Translation Memory


5 min read

Written by


Robert Brodowicz

Published on

21 Mar 2023

If you’re on the fence about whether Translation Memory is what’s missing from your workflow or if it might be time for a tune-up of the one you already have – you’re in the right place. We’ve got all the details you need to make informed decisions right here.

Whether you’re working on your first or your hundredth translation project, you know the importance of accuracy and quality, but guaranteeing those standards are met can take different paths.

What Can Translation Memory Do for You?

(If you’re already familiar with the ins and outs of TM, skip ahead)

Translation Memory (TM) is a critical component of any translation project, allowing you to store past translated content, terminology, and expressions and access them quickly and easily from a searchable database in the future. Moreover, it means increased accuracy and maintained consistency throughout your translation projects, especially those with repetitive texts. TM also remembers formatting throughout various output documents so, whatever you produce will be consistent and up to standard every single time.

Arguably, the most significant advantage is that TMs help save costs per project since fewer errors are made when translating familiar words or phrases multiple times.

Overall, TM is an invaluable tool with far-reaching benefits.

And the benefits outweigh the cost – even if it may require an initial investment.

Yet, despite the solid argument to implement one in every translation project workflow, there are still mixed reviews.

Translation Memory Isn’t the Enemy

It’s not uncommon for people to view TM as a threat. After all, it can seem like it’s trying to replace human translators. However, this isn’t the case.

Technology has come a long way, to the point where it can substantially supplement the work of humans, but it won’t replace them. Not even the best TMs that use AI tech. Regardless of its sophistication, AI lacks the kind of nuanced understanding that only human cognition can provide. This is why TMs aren’t a standalone solution to the translation process but must be used in tandem with their human counterparts to ensure accuracy and effectiveness.

TM is simply a tool that can be used to auto-populate repeat translations, therefore, increasing translator productivity. So, we can rest easy; it’s not a replacement for human translators, but rather a useful tool that can help streamline the translation process.

Translation Memory Best Practices

By now, you might be thinking that TM is a must, and you’d be right. But it doesn’t end there. The quality of your TM is a direct result of its management. Making the most of your TM means there are some key best practices to follow.

They include keeping its usage and resources organized, ensuring quality is consistent, regularly reviewing the content to make sure it’s accurate and up-to-date and using proper data management techniques.

When it comes to TM management, proper tagging of segments and consistency with terminology play a critical role. To ensure consistency, consider leveraging resources such as glossaries, style guides, or term bases. Furthermore, additional project-related information should be stored outside of the translation memory for easy access and reference – such as translation notes or style guides.

Before or during setup, establish a clear plan of which groups or individuals will be using the database and how it will integrate with your usual workflow processes. Also, consider what information needs to be stored (separate TMs for languages, translation style, or business unit) and how this will be accessed and shared internally between departments and externally with partners or clients.

We recommend assigning someone on the team to oversee your TM(s), especially regarding updating and cleanup.

Manage Your Translation Memory with Argos

Still feeling a bit lost in translation? (pun definitely intended)

We can help you with all your TM needs. And if you want to cleanse your TM (you should) we’re experts at that too. If you’re interested in learning more about what exactly that entails, we’ve got an article about AI TM Cleanup. So many things can go wrong with translations. Your TM shouldn’t be one of them.

Reach out to us today.

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