Tag: Cleaning TM

Translation Memory and Survival

Translation Memory and Survival

Written by:  Eman Elbehiry

Homer and Langley Collyer, two brothers, were killed by “hoarding”, and storing things in their house. That led psychology scientists to categorizing this “hoarding” under “psychological disease” umbrella. But when it comes to Translation, sorry psychology! You’re wrong this time. Why? Because “Hoarding” is a big sign of perfectionism, and adulthood.

How many times did you looked at your outstanding translation and wished you could use it again? How many times have you came across a sentence that you bet your life that you have translated it before, but unfortunately you can’t remember in which file, or which project exactly? How many times have you translated similar texts, and wished for something that could help you get the job done in half of its time?
Though you are stuck in only “wishing”, hoarding and storing this translation has found its way to you through translation memories, TM.

While the CAT tool divides the whole text into segments, the translation memory becomes where all your translation is stored in units; exactly as it was saved either in sentences, paragraphs, headlines, or titles. Which means that it stores the segment with its language pair. Consequently, you can get back to it in the time of need. According to SDL description of the translation memory “When a translator’s jobs regularly contain the same kinds of phrases and sentences, a translation memory will drastically increase the speed of translation.” This makes it one essential component of any CAT tool par excellence.

Later, when you summon this translation memory to re-use this “stored” translation; it starts suggesting for you a translation. You can add and enhance this translation, you can modify it, or replace it with a better one. For the translation memory being so smart; it updates itself all through. It has whatever you added, and enhanced. If the translator accepted the exact suggested translation, the tool will choose to call this an exact match; which is percented as 100%.  We can see this crystal clear especially in the texts that include a lot of repeated patterns. Furthermore the minimum similarity between a new segment and a saved segment in TM varies from 99% to 50% depending on the similarity match is called “Fuzzy match”.

According to what we mentioned above, the translation memory is best fit for texts including repetitions, or similarities. Which means that it is most suitable for technical, and legal translations, for having specialized and repeated expressions and vocabularies. Moreover, if you are working on one project in a team, it is very possible that each translator have his own distinctive expressions, and vocabulary in his mind, but if you are working with one translation memory, your documents will be more coherent and cohesive, and you are always on the same track.
As a result to this, translation memory saves time and efforts, which results in reducing the cost of the long-termed projects. Therefore, by now, we agree that it provides the best quality possible, and it’s definitely unlimited.

            Genius ha! Wondering how it works? Here is a hint:
The mechanism is called “Edit Distance”. This mechanism’s role is to identify how dissimilar two entities (e.g words, segments, units) are. Thus, in the case of the fuzzy match, it tries to measure approximately how close these two patterns are, and consequently, suggests to the translators who have the power to accept or modify, so that it could improve itself.

            The translation memory allows you to use it hundreds of times, to include it in whatever project and keep updating it. But the question here is “What if I didn’t use it before, will my past treasure go in vain?” The answer is NO!
Actually you are allowed to “Align” the segments of your past work to make a translation memory out of it, we will explain that the alignment in another article. It will also be your own made-dictionary to search in your previous work for any terms, sentences. In addition to this, you will be able to share your translation memory, and use the shared-with you, so that you have a solid, and saving base. The reviewer can have a part of the share with you so you have everything updated, and flawless. This is seen usually in the online tools. And yes it happens to have a movement of exchanging translation memories. “Sharing is caring” right?!

            And here emerges another question, which is: What if I am using a specific tool, while my peers, or my reviewers are using another? How can I share with them my TM? Or how do they share theirs?
Now, there is an extension for sharing which is “TMx” (Translation Memory Exchange). This allows you to import and export the translation memory among many different tools. Never easier!

According to Martín-Mor (2011), the use of TM systems does have an effect on the quality of the translated texts, especially on novices, but experienced translators are able to avoid it.” And here we say to all translators, experienced or beginners, “hoarding” is not killing, and there is nothing better than hoarding and storing years of hard work embracing experience. This storing and hoarding is exactly “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.

Share with us a story in which you used a TM and it was super beneficial!