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Quick Guide to Translation Memory & Terminology Management

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Key Points:

  • TM and TM?!
  • How Do They Impact Each Other?
  • How Do They Impact Translation Quality?
  • Best Practice for Using Translation Memory and Terminology Management

Although it may seem quite similar to some people, and both are referred to as “TM”, Translation Memory and Terminology Management have different purposes and play different roles in the translation process, which makes it crucial to know the exact definition and function of each.

Herein, I will help you set the boundaries between the two TMs and go beyond their differences to know how far and wide they can benefit from each other.

Translation Memory (TM) is a database that stores previously translated content and enables the reuse of the stored translations, helping reduce the time and cost of translation and maintain consistency across multiple projects. The Translation Memory processes by translating, saving, and then reusing.

Terminology Management (TM) refers to the process of creating, organizing, and maintaining a controlled vocabulary of terms that are specific to a particular industry, company or subject matter, helping ensure consistency in the use of language and improve the quality of translation by reducing ambiguity and errors. The Terminology Management process includes the creation of a glossary, the use of translation memory, and the establishment of workflows for the review and approval of new terms.

While the Translation Memory stores longer text strings, usually sentences, where all the information captured is based on the concept of a source sentence and a target sentence, the Terminology Management system focuses on collecting and managing terms and phrases. 

How Do They Impact Each Other? 

Translation Memory (TM) and Terminology Management are interrelated and can have a significant impact on each other. Let’s explore together how each of them can benefit from the other.

Translation Memory helps in Terminology Management by:

  • Storing the Approved Terminology: The TM database stores all the previously approved terminology, and any new translations can be compared with the TM to ensure consistency and accuracy.
  • Facilitating Glossary Creation: The TM database can be used to create and update a glossary, which can be used as a reference for translators and reviewers.

Conversely, Terminology Management can impact Translation Memory by:

  • Improving TM Quality: Consistent and accurate terminology improves the quality of the TM, making it easier for translators to reuse previous translations.
  •  Reducing TM Maintenance: With well-managed terminology, the TM database will require less maintenance and updating, saving time and resources.

To be brief, Translation Memory and Terminology Management are both important components of a comprehensive translation and localization strategy and work together to improve translation quality, consistency, and efficiency.

How Do They Impact Translation Quality?

Proven by evidence that each of the TMs positively impact each other, the use of Translation Memory (TM) and Terminology Management (TM) can definitely impact the quality of translation as a whole by:

  • Reducing repetitive work and improving efficiency. 
  • Providing consistency in the use of language and terms.
  • Helping reduce the time and effort needed for translation. 
  • Delivering high-quality translations, ultimately improving the overall quality of the translation process.

Best Practice for Using Translation Memory and Terminology Management

Here are some best practices for Translation Memory and Terminology Management:

Translation Memory:

  • Regularly Update the TM Database: Regular updates to the TM database will ensure its relevance and accuracy over time.
  • Use a Centralized TM Database: A centralized database allows for easy access and management by multiple stakeholders, improving collaboration and consistency.
  • Implement Quality Control Measures: Quality control measures, such as automated checks and manual reviews, ensure that the TM database is accurate and up-to-date.
  • Consider Integration with Other Tools: Integrating the TM with other tools, such as Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) tools, can improve the efficiency of the translation process.

Terminology Management:

  • Define Clear Term Approval Processes: Establish clear processes for the approval of new terms, including who is responsible for review and approval and how terms are added to the glossary.
  • Regularly Review and Update the Glossary: Regular reviews of the glossary will ensure its relevance and accuracy over time, and updates can be made as needed.
  • Use a Centralized Glossary Database: A centralized glossary database allows for easy access, management, and improvement.
  • Encourage the Use of Approved Terminology: Encourage the use of approved terminology by making the glossary easily accessible to all stakeholders, including translators and reviewers.
  • Consider Integration with TM and CAT Tools: Integrating the glossary with TM and CAT tools can automate the application of approved terminology and improve the efficiency of the translation process.

Summing it up, by following these best practices, organizations can improve the quality, consistency, and efficiency of their localization efforts and effectively manage Translation Memory and Terminology Management.

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