If you’ve read some of our previous blogs, you’ll have noticed we don’t recommend the use of machine translation, especially for a company website or when accuracy is of the upmost importance.
However, in recent years, technology has advanced immeasurably, and within the translation industry we now use some of this technology to help us better serve our clients, especially through the use of Translation Memory software (TM).
TM is particularly useful when it comes to repetitive content translations, and for specialist translations such as, legal and financial documents. This is because TM stores translation information, be they frequently used phrases or set product information, and then use AI to learn from these translation, and store them for future use.
Translation Memory software can save clients’ money too, as it is only necessary for pay for additional translations when updating information or altering marketing materials.
There are other ways that TM can help your translation project, so if you want to find out more about how it works please read on…
What is Translation Memory?
As already discussed, TM acts as a perpetual memory that stores and collates every translation made for future use. It also learns from each translation entered and will suggest translations made on previous similar activity.
TM is particularly useful when multiple translators are working on a large project as it can be remotely accessed by users and added to as they go through the project, even if this is done over years rather than days.
It can also be a vital aid to translation when updating information and websites. For example, if you are updating a product across multiple language websites then there is no need to re-do the entire translation if some of the content is the same. All that is required is translation of the new elements as TM will recall the previous information.
These benefits can save time for translators, and therefore, money for clients.
Professional translation service providers, who use TM, can offer a more reliable service, which takes less time than conventional translations relying solely on human translations.
However, translation memory software is only one element of a translation project and work best when used in conjunction with other ‘memory’ facilities such as, style guides and glossaries.
Localisation and transcreation should also be implemented for projects in which cultural differences need to be accounted for, or that require multilingual and multi-regional translations.
When a translation project is started, your project manager and their team, will use TM to analyse your content, matching it up with previous translations which is then passed to the appropriate translators.
They will check the database matches, modify them where required, then complete the rest of your translation.
How Translation Memory software differs from Machine Translation
Translation Memory and machine translation are not the same thing.
Where TM stores and learns from frequently entered phrases for specific translations, machine translation uses an algorithm to translate automatically the text from one language to another.
The results from machine translation are at best acceptable, but at their worst can be shockingly inaccurate, and even offensive.
Machine translation systems such as, Google Translate use thousands of documents both online and in offline to compile their translations, however, this does not assume initial accuracy, or account for context of translation.
For instance, machine translations cannot differentiate between homonyms (words which are spelt the same but have different meanings), such as bark (the noise a dog makes) and the bark of a tree. While these words may be the same in English (albeit with a different meaning) in another language they are often vastly different but machine translation cannot always account for these variances.
Human translators, working with TM, would understand contextual meaning and be able to alter or adjust the translation as required.
If you would like to know more about how we use translation memory software, or would like to discuss a specific translation project, please contact our experts here.
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