Translation Memory

A common topic I review with new and even old clients is the use of our Translation Memory system. This system is a corner stone of the services we provide, and how we provide them, but it often seems a point of confusion for those that don’t work in the industry.

The technology within the translation industry is vital to our process, and the high level of consistency and accuracy we are able to provide across documents. At PLG we utilize the leading commercial software Trados, which is the leading translation memory (TM) program, to store previously completed translations, and assist our translators in current projects. 

It is highly important to distinguish the fact that translations memories are not the same as “machine translation (MT)”. While a machine translation like Google Translate, utilizes algorithms to provide an estimated translation of any given sentence or word, our translation memory software does just as the name implies and memorizes input translations. 

As our professional translators work, they enter their translations into a stored database built just for your company. When future material comes up that is similar to something that was previously translated, the software suggests the “memorized” translation to the translator. The translator then reviews the translation, makes any adjustments necessary, and saves the updated translation to the memory once again. This memory applies to content that is repeated not just within a given document, but across documents and projects.

Over time as we work with a client the translation memory grows larger, and our translators have more material to reference. This allows us to provide more accurate, consistent translations both faster and less costly. Two good examples are the TMs we have built for our customers at Walmart and HoMedics in the past years. The TMs combined have over 3 million translation pairs of sentences between a source language and the target!

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