Why to update files without translation memory

Nov 19, 2015

Lately, we introduced a little provocative thought that translation memory, in fact, is not the best or the most accurate means to use if you are about to update an old translated documents with new additions (such as catalogs, manuals, or guidelines - basically materials with a good share of repetitive and already translated text you have invested in before).

Why you should not rely on TM only

There are in fact two serious reasons, why in some situations you should reconsider using translation memory, mainly with updates of multilingual DTP files (e.g. InDesign or FrameMaker):

  1. With translation memory,there is a high risk of re-using outdated text."How come, when I regularly invest into translation maintenance" you ask? The answer is because we are people and our workflow sometimes ignores consistency. A lot of last-minute corrections in the pre-publishing, or pre-print process are done only on the final DTP documents, as those are the ones that actually get published. So naturally, the latest DTP data are always the latest version of the document. And these corrections and amendments are often not inserted in the translation memories.
  2. With translation memory,you need to rely on expensive software productsand all the maintenance of the text memories that comes with it. You cannot rely 100% that the text in your memories is identical with that in the actual documents and files you have in your hands. And that means you don't really have full control over your own translation resources.
    WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Reuse the DTP data only, as that ensures reusable text will stay untouched, thus saving you time and money on DTP adjustments and proofreading.