How does Translation Memory Software work?

A question we get asked a lot at Kwintessential is how translation memory, CAT tools (computer assisted translation) and machine translations work. A lot of confusion reigns when it comes to these bits of software and clients are not always aware of how it works. In the video below we give some guidance.

 

What is a CAT tool? What is translation memory? How does a translation agency use it?

 

Hi! I’m Neil Payne. One of the ways we like to communicate with our clients is through video. And every now and again what we’ll do is we’ll collect together a whole group of FAQs and answer them on video and put them out on the World Wide Web, obviously to our clients.

 

So what’s today’s question?

 

Right, today’s question is about the translation memory. At Kwintessential, we use a couple of different translation memory tools and it can cause some confusion for our clients. First of all, let’s be straight, translation memory is different to machine translation. It’s not Google translation, where you put in a whole lot of texts and then the computer decides what the translation is.

 

Translation memory is about completing a translation; then using a piece of software to memorize how we have translated that. We can then use that memory, say, if that document comes back to us again in the future, with some small changes or maybe a lot of changes, using that translation memory, we can already complete, say, 40, 50, 60% of your translation the next time round, which saves you money, because you’re not paying for those words to be translated again.

 

It’s also key to remember that if you do use a few different translation agencies, that translation memory is your property; it’s not our property. So if you want that translation memory to save you costs when going to another agency or when splitting work across different agencies, always make sure that your translation provider understands that you own that translation memory and that you can use it to your benefit.

 

So, in conclusion, translation memory is a simple tool that helps us remember how we have translated specific words, terms, vocabulary, sentences, paragraphs before, to keep consistency and to bring down costs for you.