Over the past couple of years, technology has managed to change the face of multiple business sectors and revolutionize the traditional concepts of production. Powered by a rapid development in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), the new technologies have become too powerful to ignore across various industries. The language industry was no exception; translation companies are now employing advanced digital tools to enhance the quality of their service offerings.
The most common translation technology was machine translation. Despite being powered by neural networks, machines failed to provide the same quality human translators produce. The best use of technology was then spotted in the creation of assistive tools that help human translators fulfill their tasks quickly and efficiently. One of these helpful and productive solutions is translation memory, a tool that leverages technology, eliminates duplication, increases consistency, and saves time.
What is a Translation Memory?
A translation memory, or TM, is defined as a database that stores any previously translated text and recalls it whenever needed. Translation memory software saves segments (words, sentences, or even paragraphs) with their translations and allows translators to reuse them when they are repeated in the same project or other following projects. Translation memory systems can be built for a single language-pair, a particular company, or a specific industry.
The translation memory is part of a broader translation management system that professional language companies use to improve their productivity levels. Together with glossaries and style guides, translation memories form the so-called computer-assisted technology (CAT) tools that help human linguists and save lots of time.
Generally speaking, translation memories are extremely useful for content that includes repetitive or duplicate texts or contain specialized terminology and need frequent updates. Software localization, for instance, is a language solution that takes huge advantage of translation memory software.
How Does it Work?
Unlike machine translation tools, translation memories are created by previous human translations and take care of the translation context. Once the linguist translates a new segment or string, translation memory saves it in both the source and target languages, making up what is known as a translation unit or TU. Whenever this unit shows up again, the translation memory automatically retrieves it, but what if it is not exactly the same?!
Translation memories have the ability to recognize different translation matches. When a segment is identical (100% match) to the saved TU, they automatically replace it, but if the segment is just similar to the saved unit, or what is called “fuzzy match”, they only suggest the previous translation and leave space for human translators to give their input.
And so, every time a human translator translates a new segment, translation memory grows and enriches its library of terms and expressions. Given these powerful capabilities, translation memory has turned into a key asset in each professional language service provider.
What is in It for Me?
Now that you know what translation memory is and how it works, you must be wondering what are the benefits you would get when you hire a translation company that employs a translation memory? Well, these are three vivid reasons why a translation project would never be successful without a reliable translation memory tool:
- Speeding up the process
A translation memory saves translators the hassle of translating duplicated strings, and thus accelerates the translation process. Whenever a repetition occurs, translation can be automatically restored from the translation memory database, a step that deducts a lot from the translation turnaround time.
- Reducing the translation cost
Unlike you might expect, using translation memory systems saves you a big portion of the money. Since applying the translation memory tools cuts time and requires lower efforts, translation companies charge less when they use translation memories. In addition, the translation memory’s flexibility to work with different formats makes the process easier and less costly.
- Ensuring higher consistency
It is not professional to translate the same word or sentence differently in the same brand message. Consistency is important to create a professional content and establish a reputable image and this is only guaranteed when translation memory is available. This is especially true when different translators work on a large-scale project or a project that requires frequent updates.
We, at AfroLingo, are aware of how important a translation memory is and make use of it every time we receive a new professional translation or localization service request. In addition to a full suite of innovative CAT tools, our translators work with a wide range of cutting-edge translation memories to come up with a high-quality solution that meets our client needs.
Contact us now and fulfill your translation requirements with our fully-fledged language services in more than 20 African languages.