The advent of technologies enabling the recording of translation patterns for later use (translation memories) can be a definite benefit for all parties involved. For the Client, future projects can be made less expensive while the translation company saves time on projects and can increase volume.
How It Works
Without getting too technical, this specialized software targets “segments” of words or phrases or sentences and stores them for later use. It stores the source text and the target language in pairs that are known as “translation units” in our industry.
Yet not all types of translations can truly benefit from the use of memories. The software is most suited for translating technical documents. Industries needing translations of a technical sort inevitably come with their own specific terminologies and verbiage. Having memories ready ensures consistency between projects and within large projects. Essentially the translator only has to translate a term once.
This speeds up the process and reduces costs. Many manuals for instance have redundant “standard” text that appears throughout. This is translated once and added as the project moves along where it appears.
You the Client may not see these savings initially, but will surely see them on subsequent projects involving the same subject matter.
As I mentioned before, TM is best suited for technical translation where the content is standardized and straight forward using industry-specific verbiage. In less technical translations, TM is less effective because our translation pros are working to get the context of the message correct, not the component sentences (translation units). Basically this boils down to it not being the most effective tool for localization of your material.
Present TM managers do not support ALL file types, creating delivery issues. TM software can also be expensive (up to $2500) and learning how to use them is time-consuming. For the Translation Company and translators, managing memory content is a manual task and upkeep can become hard to keep up with keeping the manager up to date during busy months. Also, quality control becomes even more of an issue and editing all-important. Why? If a TM gets through the editing process and it is incorrect or partial, then the error will be perpetuated in later projects.
Putting It All Together
While the benefits of using TM are very clear, they are not the end-all without limitations. Companies that are in need of translations that aren’t overly technical shouldn’t expect a huge savings over time…or at least not as much as their more technical counterparts. Whether memories play you’re your project or not, seeking long-term relationships with a translation company that matches your requirements is still the way to go. Even if you can’t make full use of translation memories, you will still benefit from familiarity, customized service and expedited project management.
Here at Epic Translations we are compatible with several translation memory managers, including Trados. We invite you to try out our services as we continue to establish profitable long-term vendor/client relationships with forward thinking companies.