The Importance of Translation Memory Software

How do you ensure quality and consistency across all your translations? Whether you need translations for a variety of channels (websites, brochures, emails etc.), technical manuals or specifications that are regularly updated or seasonal marketing campaigns, you will want your translations to be consistent; with the same terminology, phrasing and definitions across all communications.

Translation Memory software enables the creation of a unique translation memory resource to store all translated content for your company. It functions as your very own language dictionary or linguistic database; all translated phrases, from specific technical terms to preferred translations of colloquial or internal expressions, are stored and remembered for future use.

This neatly solves the problem of differences between texts translated by different linguists, especially on large translation projects where several translators may be working side by side.

How does it work?

Of course, as with any software there are differences between programmes, but in essence translation memory software works like this:

Having approved your first translation, both the original source file and the translated text are imported into the translation memory. This creates a translation unit that is compared to subsequent source files, and matches are suggested. These fall into the following categories:

  • Exact matches – where a segment of text is identical (character by character) to a stored one i.e. the segment has been translated before in the exact same manner and possibly in the exact same context.
  • Fuzzy matches – where a segment of text is similar to one that is stored, but not exact. This could be because words are in a different order, or that one or two words in a sentence or paragraph are absent or different.

The translation memory builds as you add more translation units to it (source text and translated text). The bigger the memory gets over time, the faster and more consistent the translations for subsequent projects become.

How does this differ from machine translation tools?

Unlike machine translation, translation memory software is a tool that enhances the work of professional ‘human’ translators, rather than replacing them entirely. As a text is analysed against the related translation memory, matches are suggested. Unlike a machine translation tool where matches can often be quite poor initially, translators can decide whether or not to accept the translation memory matches and how to edit fuzzy matches to match the new source text.

Segments of text that do not have corresponding memory matches are manually translated from scratch and added to the translation memory. This means that all of the linguistic complexities and subtleties of both the original language and its translation are included in the memory, something that machine translation tools cannot achieve.

Benefits of translation memory software

As you can see, one of the main benefits of translation memory software is consistency of style and terminology across all channels, ensuring that your translated communications are all closely aligned with your company or brand identity. However, there are other key benefits to translation memory software, as outlined below:

  1. Faster turnaround times: As your translation memory builds and more and more exact and fuzzy matches can be utilised, new documents take less time to translate, accelerating the delivery of projects and reducing the amount of revisions needed by local market contacts prior to end usage.
  2. Reduced costs: Not having to translate the same sentence twice means reduced costs, particularly on long-term translation projects.
  3. Unlimited languages: Translation memories can be created for any language combination possible from English to French to Swedish to Japanese.
  4. Accuracy: As your translation memory grows there are fewer opportunities for error as it becomes a definitive resource for the correct spelling and grammatical structure for all your terminology and phrasing.

Our sophisticated translation software creates a memory from your translation projects, containing specific phrasing and terminology related to your product or service, which can be retrieved and used again and again. If you would like to discuss the benefits you can receive from our use translation memory software for your future translation projects, why not get in touch with us at Comtec? Call +44 (0)1926 335 681 or email:

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