What is Translation Memory?
Computer Aided Translation (CAT) software splits a source text into manageable units known as “segments”. It then builds databases of equivalent segments in different languages. The databases of these matching segments form what are called Translation Memories (TM).
What is a segment?
A segment is the basic semantic unit of a text: ‘the red house’, for example, or ‘eighty-three’. CAT software learns that ‘the red house’ means ‘la casa roja’ in Spanish, say, and the next time that it comes across ‘the red house’ in an English to Spanish translation, it automatically suggests the translation it has already seen. The translator can accept the suggestion (the ‘candidate’), replace it with a fresh translation, or modify it to match the source.
CAT tools make the translation process faster and more cost-effective. It means that our team of translators don’t need to spend time or energy on something which has been translated before.
TMs store all of the segments pertaining to a particular client.
This enables a consistency of translation in the work we do for any client. Regardless of which translator worked on a given text, we build up a TM for each client, ensuring that we use consistent terminology in all translations for them.
It also enables us to store industry-related terminology, guaranteeing a precise and accurate translation of technical vocabulary.
Are you still wondering “what is translation memory?”, just remember that it allows greater flexibility in translation. Translation Memory databases adapt themselves to the needs of different clients and different contexts. They are highly customizable, and the bigger they get, the better!