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Translation Memory Creation: How It Works

In our previous blogs, we emphasized the advantages of having well-maintained translation resources, which reduce your translation costs, mainly in connection with continuous translation undertakings. We have also touched on the process of "cleaning" and maintaining your translation memories, but what if you don't have any? If that's the case, you should definitely create one if you publish documents with similar content. Here we explain how to go about this step by step.

5 Steps to creating a Translation Memory

The process begins with two similar files – one with source text, the other with corresponding target text in a different language. To create a TM for you, we first need to pool as many of your original files with the translated equivalents. The file format doesn't matter too much. The documents  can be in Word, Excel, FrameMaker, InDesign, Acrobat PDF, or whatever other format you may have. 

Then, we apply these 5 steps in order to create your  translation resources.

  1. SEGMENT EXTRACTION. We extract all text segments (basically sentences) from the source and target  files to create a kind of  bilingual database with original text and the corresponding translated text. 
  1. SEGMENT ALIGNMENT. We then confirm that all segments are correctly aligned using our unique, in-house developed  iSync solution. It pairs segments based on the placement markings and content. The process is highly automated and enables very fast processing, much faster than humans and with high precision. 
  1. HUMAN EDITING. A human review of the result is necessary, though, in which native translators browse the paired  segments to ensure they match. 
  1. TM CREATION. At the end of the process we delete redundant segments that have no matches in neither source nor target, and we then export the bilingual text segments to the universal .tmx format or any other format you may require.
  1. TM QA AND EXPORT. The last step involves applying our QA tools on the final result to ensure segments are consistent, numbers, tags and symbols match and there is no text in the wrong language. 

TMs belong to you

Once a translation memory has been created and delivered to you, it becomes your legal property, and you can use it in all your internal processes or whenever you outsource translation projects. This is important to remember, and you can always ask your existing or previous suppliers to deliver TMs they have created in projects ordered by to – we then hope you will relocate your projects to idioma :) 

There's no time to waste when it comes to ensuring you have TMs and also keeping them up to date. 

Contact us TODAY to get your TM created!

TM HEALTH CHECK™: 4 Steps to Updated Translation Memories:

If you have ever been involved in the content translation  process in your company, you are surely familiar with Translation Memories (TMs). And if you are not, you really should be, as TMs are your way to less stress, less overtime work, possibly even a promotion or other reward thanks to reducing your company's translation expenses.

Why you should keep your TMs up to date

As we have mentioned in a previous blog, it is very common that TMs get outdated and out of sync with your current published documents. Even if you have gone to the effort of creating a translation memory, it most likely does not include all the additions, changes, etc. that your published documents have undergone. 

What you risk with outdated TMs

If you fail to keep your TM up to date, you risk issues in the translation process, such as:

  • Inconsistent resources and terminology that slow down translation, create context errors that compromise translation accuracy and cause confusion 
  • Reuse of 100% identical text segments that contain errors, which are used and published again and again 
  • Jack is not always a jack, nor a jack... A common TM issue is the existence of different translations of the same source segment, especially for short text segments. Such segments should be kept, but their actual usage checked.
  • If selected  segments are updated in local projects, they risk becoming inconsistent with the existing segments in your TMs causing even more confusion – what should be used when and where?.

All these issues lead to inconsistent and inaccurate translation. Translation takes longer and becomes more expensive. These extra costs can be prevented by performing a regular health check on your TMs, and making sure they undergo regular maintenance.

What does the TM overhaul involve?

  1. PROJECT LAUNCH- We pool all your TM resources, i.e. those you have and those we may have in our storage. We then determine priorities for maintenance if there are multiple TMs to check – e.g. emphasize a main TM that serves as the source for the greater part of your content, or cover content that is most visible in the company.
  1. TM HEALTH CHECK

- To "clean" the TM and match every source segment with its target, we run a “Health check” analysis to detect possible errors, such as:

  • number mistakes and typos, URL mismatches, tag orders, usage of special characters and spaces or formatting based on language style sheets
  • untranslated text, which could signal missing target text 
  • text consistency such as inconsistent matches and duplicate TM entries, including word consistency
  • glossary usage / non-usage (use of forbidden terms, opposite terms, etc.)
  1. TM MAINTENANCE– based on the TM HEALTH CHECK™, our human TM specialists and editors implement a thorough maintenance and editing process, some that rely on  IT-based tools to clean the memory and repair detected issues. The process includes the following: 
  • Updating the segments one-to-one (source-to-target) for each TM (cleaning out duplicates, forbidden terms, etc.)
  • Verifying terminology consistency including correction by human reviewers 
  • Replacing your existing TMs with the updated bilingual text files to replace outdated  and faulty segments. 
  1. TM IMPLEMENTATION– This step is chiefly a client-side issue. Your memory is now in good health. Going forward, to benefit from the entire process you need to ensure that the updated TMs are used at all company levels in the document flow and for all published content. And since TM maintenance and the health check should be a regular event, the company needs to decide on a policy on how to continue its involvement in its TM overhauls:

Manage content and update resources in-house, and only have the cleaning process covered by an external professional LSP. This is often preferred by big companies and requires a considerable organizational structure (defining the TM update process, appointing managers responsible for the TM resources and its updates, etc.), or

Focus on your core business and outsource TM maintenance to your LSP to

  • perform regular TM health checks of your resources
  • follow up on these checks with reporting on inconsistent text segments, unused glossary terminology, poor/incorrect source text, conditional glossary terms, or even inconsistent source segments. idioma offers a comprehensive reporting service that serves as a valuable foundation for maintenance and consistent translation quality in ongoing and future translation projects.

BENEFITS of up-to-date translation memories

Well, the benefits are straight forward and clear, and offer:

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  1. Reduced translation costs
  2. Reduced translationtime
  3. Brand and content consistency on international markets across all languages
  4. Improved SEO and online visibility
  5. Error-free content that ensures less potential damage control in future communication with company clients (high-quality brochures and manuals, easily comprehensible content for end-users ensuring correct application)

There's no time to waste when it comes to maintenance of your company's valuable TM resources. 

Contact us TODAY to get your TMs  checked and updated!

Another year, another catalogue and promo materials to release in your standard 5 languages, another headache. Translation resources and documents scattered across the company, know-how inevitably lost after your ex-colleagues left for other positions, tight deadlines and even tighter budgets. Translation and localization costs can become pretty costly if the process is not efficiently managed. Here, we will let you in on a little secret how to deal with lost resources.

Translation memory

Simply put, a translation memory (TM) is a digitally stored database of already translated content, divided and structured in so-called text segments (words, key phrases, complete sentences, etc.). A TM allows recycling of translated text. When a memory is used on a new project, translators speed up their work because a lot of text segments can be reused from the database. This saves cost, increases quality and makes for a unified result. In technical translation, this is the way to go.

Create your own translation memories

So back to the situation above. If you lost your resources or have not even had a translation memory before, it is time to make one. idioma offers this as service to many companies. We create memories based on existing documents, no matter whether you have them in Word, desktop publishing formats or even only PDF. We have developed tools that our native, human translators use to save source and target segments together, effectively creating useful TMs. With such memories as a base, translation of your documents will go faster, become cheaper and the text in your documentation will become more consistent.

Our TM tools can save bilingual text segments in different formats, such as TMX, native Trados, or the standardized Xliff format so the output is useful and compatible with the TM systems you use. Efficiency is something we emphasize, and creating memories is no exception. When aligning text from file formats such as Word, Excel, InDesign and FrameMaker, you can count on a speed of around 25,000 words/hour. With PDF files, the process is a little slower due to more complicated text extraction, but usually we align around 10-15,000 word/hour.

Keep your TM error-free

Once you've got your translation memory created, you should also rely on professionals for maintenance of the same. It is very common that TMs get outdated and unsynchronized with your current documents. Even if you have gone to the effort of creating a translation memory, it may not include all additions, changes, etc. that your published documents have undergone. Instead of trying to update your memory and performing tedious TM maintenance "manually", our TM service offers a smarter and much quicker way to keep your TM up to date. Simply send us your original and translated DTP files and we will create bilingual text files that can be copied into your existing TM to replace old outdated segments. At the same time we can also run an analysis to detect possible errors, such as number mistakes, untranslated text, text consistency, glossary misuse, etc.

Innovative solution for innovative companies

Outsourcing translation memory creation and maintenance service is a modern, innovative way of approaching the translation needs of a company. Large companies, including manufacturers and distributors demanding technical translation (multilingual documentation, catalogues, etc.), can benefit enormously by saving working hours lost on preparing and managing the translation process. If you have access to already published documents in many languages, use them to your advantage by converting them to a TM, the start saving on every project you translate.

Would you like to learn more about how to get translation memories built for you and reduce costs significantly?

Please visit www.idioma.com

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