Whether you know everything about translation or it is your first translation project, you will certainly hear about “translation memories” and “termbases”. What exactly is this about? To fully understand how a translation memory (TM) works, you must first fully understand how the Computer assisted translation (CAT) tools work. At the heart of the translator’s work, we find these powerful and versatile software programs that save a lot of time and improve quality, while guaranteeing consistency and uniformity of terminology in translated texts.

Translation in a CAT tool

The advent of CAT tools has significantly improved the efficiency and productivity of translators and greatly simplified their work. These easy to use tools integrate translation memories (TM) and terminology databases (BT).

Once the tool is open on the computer, simply create a project and adjust its settings. It is possible to add a TM and a BT, if they already exist for this customer. Otherwise, create new ones which will be used for this customer. Then, you can translate the documents.

In the translation interface, the main window is divided in two. On the left is the source text, and the target text is on the right. In the upper or right part of the screen there are two boxes. One displays the TM results and the other displays the BT results. You are now well settled to work, happy translation!

Translation memory

If the client already has previous translations saved as translation memories (in TMX format, for example), it will be easy to import them into a CAT tool and use them in our translation work. Otherwise, we have to align the previous texts already translated to constitute a new TM for this client. This process, which can take a few hours to several weeks, depends on the size of the corpus of available texts. Here is an example of a translation memory on the right.

Exemple d'une mémoire de traduction

TM avoids having to translate sentences or text passages that have already been translated previously. This allows us to avoid duplication of translation efforts, and ensures that a sentence or phrase segment is translated in the same way from one text to another. Translation memory therefore allows us to ensure consistency and uniformity of terminology within the text.

Using a TM saves a lot of time. Without it, the time required to complete translations increases, and the final quality of the translation decreases. However, quality is the priority of the translator and the client, so it is essential to maintain an impeccable level of quality to maintain good business relations. Thus, the use of translation memory and CAT tools is becoming a must today, where everything must be delivered “yesterday”. We are specialized in urgent translations; please call or email us for any urgent request! We are also open on Saturday and Sunday!

laurent chevrette 2291 60x60 - Translation Memories (TMs)
Laurent Chevrette holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the Université de Montréal and has over 10 years of experience in translation. Passionate about the progress of artificial intelligence, he is an expert in the deployment of automated translation solutions in small and large companies in Europe and America. When he is not implementing a neural translation system, he can be found on ski slopes or diving.


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