Translation Memory Technology: How it Supports Localization

by | Sep 18, 2021

Translation Memory Technology: How it Supports Localization 1

New and advanced technologies have truly revolutionized the way brands localize their content. One such technology is translation memory. Many kinds of translation memory software are available, which mostly form part of a larger translation management system (TMS). Translation memory technology is a boon to today’s translators.

What Have Been the Advances in Translation and LocalizationTechnology?

Machine translation goes back to 1954 when Georgetown University and IBM automatically translated 60 sentences from Russian into English. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools came into being in the 1980s and 90s. Similarly, the invention of translation memory technology represents a significant milestone in the evolution of translation technology and localization.

What Is Translation Memory?

Translation memory refers to a database or glossary of previously translated texts. This could include words, sentences, or even entire paragraphs. Each entry in the translation memory consists of the source (the original language) and the target (the translation). This pairing is called a translation unit.

Translation memory is available for many language pairs. If there is a need to translate content into multiple languages, a translation memory for each language pair will be necessary. 

How Does Translation Memory Technology Work?

Translation memory is usually part of a TMS or CAT tool. TMS stands for Translation Management Software (e.g., Localize). CAT stands for Computer-Assisted Translation and is an umbrella term for software used in professional translation. These tools segment the text that needs to be translated and present it in a way that is easier to translate. Translation memory works at the sentence level.

During the translation process, when a translator is translating a sentence using a TMS or CAT tool, the sentence is compared to sentences available in the database. If a similar sentence is found in the translation memory database, the tool will allow the translator to use the previous translation. If needed, the translator can also update the database with a new translation or modify the reference provided by the translation memory.

How Does Translation Memory Help Localization?

The biggest advantage of translation memory technology is that it supports the localization process by improving the speed, quality, consistency, and efficiency of every translation job. Translation memory helps the translation methodology be quicker because the translator does not need to repeatedly translate the same sentences. Here are some other benefits of translation memory:

Provides a Centralized Database

When a company launches a new model for a washing machine or a smartphone, it usually does not create a whole new product manual from scratch. It reuses some of the content from previous manuals, such as warranty clauses, maintenance guides, etc. It will only include new text about introduced features or functionalities of the product. A translator can use the same translations based on the suggestions and references given by the translation memory. This not only saves time but also ensures consistency throughout all product manuals.

Saves Time on Repetitive Content

When localizing technical, legal, and financial documentation, translation memory technology can be a big help. Such documents typically follow a standard format. They have a lot of repetitive content that a translation memory can translate quickly, saving a lot of time.

Improves Quality

Editors, managers, and translators can edit or refine the entries in the translation memory. This can greatly improve the quality of localization by enabling a consistent tone and voice throughout the translation.

Translation Memory Technology: Final Thoughts

The more time you save using a translation memory, the more time your translators get to work on other localization projects, thus increasing profitability. With Localize, you get an efficient localization platform that helps you translate and localize text into your targeted language. We use the latest cutting-edge technology to deliver the best outcome. To start your free trial, contact Localize today.