Translation Memory: The Pros and Cons-00-4186 Those not familiar with the translation industry may be wondering what exactly is Translation Memory. So before we examine the pros and cons lets first look at what TM actually is. First of all, Translation Memory should not be confused with Machine Translation (MT). MT, for example, replaces the need for a human translator (often resulting in a laughingly poor outcome) whereas TM is computer assisted translation and so helps the human translator or translation agency in their work.

In essence, TM is a linguistic database which stores previous translations as recognisable chunks for both the source and target languages. When a new document is compared with these segments, matches are found for units that have been previously translated, and so, in theory, the translator should never have to translate the same sentence more than once. This all sounds fairly straightforward. With each translation completed and stored in the TM the database increases so that larger segments of translations are ‘pre-translated’, the translation process becomes quicker, more work can be taken on and Stargard Szczeciński Anonse consequently revenue increases.

It also means that if work is regularly completed for one client there will be consistency throughout the documents. There is no need to create glossaries in Excel for different clients or search through past translations for the right term- as this is all taken care of with TM. For a translation agency using a TM means that even if several translators work on a large project the project manager can ensure consistency and quality throughout, which would be difficult, if not impossible to do without it.

Staff can also offer discounts to clients depending on the amount of text that has been matched, and, therefore, not translated. So it seems that there are only positives to be gained all round- for the freelancer, translation company and clients alike. But, as with most things, there are 2 sides to every coin. The main disadvantage is cost. Not only is the initial outlay very substantial, but the costs for maintaining and updating the software (likely to be a yearly outgoing) also need to be taken into consideration.

Moreover, the software, though seemingly straightforward to use, can be notoriously complicated to get to grips with. A lot of time, money and effort may need to be invested by a freelancer or a translation company for its staff in order to use the TM efficiently, effectively and to its full potential. A further downside is the fact that once a translation company receives a TM from freelancers they can, for the most part, become less dependent on these translators.

As with any technological aid getting to grips with the usage can take time, and may not be everyone’s cup of tea. But, if fully mastered, TMs can prove to be a fruitful investment for both freelancers and translation companies. All sides of the equation should be considered before forking out the cash, but generally speaking TMs should provide you with a tool to work towards consistent, high quality translations: the end product any client wants.

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