Translation memory systems – for quality assurance

What is a translation memory?

Translation memories are not machine translation systems. Rather, as the name ‘memory’ indicates, a translation memory is an electronic method of storing passages from the source and target language of a translation (off-line).

Using a translation memory enables passages which have already been translated to be reused: within a text, across texts and regardless of the software with which a document was originally created.

Using translation memories boosts the consistency of translations both within texts and from one project to the next.

In spite of the indisputable labour-saving that translation memories offer, I never copy a “match” blindly for a new translation, but instead examine carefully whether it suits the flow of the text in the new location. All reused passages are subjected to the same proofreading procedure as completely new translations: both for accuracy and completeness against the source text, as well as to check for stylistic nuances and readability of the text as a whole.

Creating translation memory files requires specialist knowledge and experience as well. For instance, I always keep translation memory files for translations aimed at patients separate from the ones intended for healthcare professionals. This is because technical medical language in German differs markedly from the patient-friendly language used for laypeople.

Cost savings

Using translation memory files results in cost savings for your company, as long as there are repeated passages. And the more often you work with me, the more the translation memory will grow, whenever related projects are involved.