Your company’s first set of manufacturing documents have been translated into another language for use in a new market. There will be more projects like this, so your relationship with your technical translation services provider is going to be ongoing. How can translation memory help you when the next project rolls around?

Translation memory is a database, created specifically for your firm by your translation services partner, that stores words, phrases, and even paragraphs from your previously completed translation projects. This database stores text from the source document and the corresponding translated text in what are called “language pairs.”

These language pairs can then be easily reused by a translator to avoid translating the same text more than once. A technical translation memory is a safe, evolving digital archive of text from your unique manufacturing documents that can be used again and again.

A Brief History of Translation Memory

Using some means to record translations for later use was originally envisioned in the 17th century. Early linguists imagined technology that would store translated texts for later comparison and use. However, the first patents for any such device were not issued until 1933.

George Artsrouni, a French-Armenian, designed a storage device on paper tape that could be used to find the equivalent of any word in another language. He was later able to demonstrate a functional prototype of his device in 1937. However, significant progress did not occur until after World War II, when scientific advances in cryptology added new tools to technical translation efforts.

Then, in 1954, Georgetown University collaborated with IBM to publicly demonstrate a machine translation system. A carefully selected sample of 49 Russian sentences was translated into English, using a very restricted vocabulary of 250 words and only six grammar rules.

With the advent of the computer—and subsequent advancements in storage and computing capacity—translators have been able to enjoy increasingly efficient methods of storing and comparing previously translated content with new material.

Today, translation memory is an important tool for professional technical translation services providers.

It is important to note that translation memory stores text that has been translated by professional translators and reviewed by professional editors. It should not be confused with any of the machine translation technologies that are evolving. Translation memory is simply a productivity tool to assist the human translation process.

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Translation memory is a vital tool your professional translation company uses to guarantee your manufacturing documents are translated accurately, effectively, and on time. It aids the translation process in several key ways. Let’s take a look at each.

Cut Costs and Save Time When Translating Manufacturing Documents

Many manufacturing documents for the same company contain sections of repeated text. Technical jargon, industry-specific terminology, disclaimers, or company brands and product names are all examples of text used repeatedly in different manufacturing documents.

Translation memory saves previously translated material in a customer-specific database. Translators can then focus their time and efforts on translating new material rather than spending time translating the same content over and over again. Of course, a quality translation services provider always checks that the translation is properly used in each new context in which it appears and makes minor edits, if applicable.

This speeds up the translation process during the second and subsequent technical translation projects, which saves you time and money.

Ensure Consistency Throughout Your Manufacturing Documents

Once your company- and industry-specific terminology has been translated, approved by you, and included in your company’s translation memory, this translated material will remain the same across all translated documents. The translation memory storage structure means you’ll always get the most up-to-date translation for all of your manufacturing documents.

Translation memory databases can be created for every target language market your company wishes to reach, including local and regional variations. Each subsequent technical translation project involving new manufacturing documents will be consistently translated with a high degree of accuracy and speed.

Before you hire your next professional technical translation services partner, ask if they’re using translation memory as part of their process. If not, you will pay more for duplicated effort to retranslate repeated terminology and other content.

Why reinvent the wheel every time you need manufacturing documents translated? And risk inconsistent or faulty translations and missed deadlines?

Interesting in learning more about how we leverage translation memory to save clients time and money? Download our translation memory guide here.