Optimize translation through glossaries and translation memory

One of the key benefits of building a strong, enduring partnership with a translation provider is the development of specialized glossaries and translation memories. This is highly valued by most of our clients.

In the field of translation, like in any profession, a wide array of tools is essential for effective work. While computer hardware and specialized software are commonly acknowledged, we'll dive into the often underestimated benefits of another set of tools: glossaries and translation memories.

Harmonizing communication through glossaries and TMs

Presented in a table format, a glossary is a list of important terms in one language, along with their translations in the target languages. What distinguishes a glossary from a simple word list is that it includes definitions for each term, and sometimes additional comments. These glossaries are specific to particular fields, industries, or products and can be created either by the companies themselves or by the language service provider during the translation process. In the latter case, the glossaries are reviewed by the client to ensure accuracy. Building glossaries is a time-consuming task that requires thorough research and attention to detail.

Think of a translation memory like a database. It's a bilingual file created using Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) software that compiles all the translations done for a particular client. This memory houses the translated source texts, divided into segments, along with their corresponding translations. As it grows (often referred to as "feeding" the memory), it becomes a valuable tool that can be employed for each subsequent project.

In summary, a glossary is a collection of topic-specific key terms, a translation memory is a client-specific translation database.

Time-saving and terminological consistency

While creating glossaries and memories may demand an initial time investment, these tools eventually lead to significant time savings. Glossaries are gold mines for translators, providing quick access to specialized terminology. Translators not only save time on research but also gain confidence in utilizing a validated and dependable resource.

Translation memories prove exceptionally beneficial when dealing with recurring requests from the same client. By retrieving previously translated segments from earlier documents, the translation process becomes more efficient. The CAT tool automatically incorporates and pre-translates what has been previously translated, reducing the overall volume to be translated and subsequently cutting down costs.

Memories are also useful for checking previously used vocabulary, as well as style, allowing the translator to ensure stylistic and terminological consistency.

Tools to feed, update and share

Glossaries and translation memories are “living” tools that require continuous enrichment as projects progress. This calls for meticulous work, often conducted by language managers and project managers.

During the proofreading phase, they verify that the translation aligns with the elements sourced from the memory, including terminology and style. After that, they ensure the memory is updated after proofreading. 

Additionally, linguistic managers play a pivotal role in adding new entries to glossaries when necessary, subsequently sharing them with translators for each new project. Their expertise and insight are crucial for maintaining reliable and updated glossaries and memories.

Although often considered tools that work behind the scenes, glossaries and translation memories are crucial for making the most of past translation work and ensuring top-notch translations. If you're aiming for a long-term partnership with a language service provider, don't overlook their importance!

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