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The benefits of translation memory and CAT tools

Translation memory and CAT tools (computer-assisted translation tools) may sound complicated, but do not be put off by the jargon!

These are useful tools which are aimed at improving the consistency of your translations and, where possible, passing savings on to you with your chosen provider.

How do translation memory and CAT tools work?

Translation memory is a tool used by professional translators that stores text segments (usually sentences) and their translations in a database.

When connected to a CAT tool, the database is checked for matching or similar strings which are automatically retrieved and applied to a new project, presented to the translator for checking or editing.

If a previous translation is an exact match, the translator may choose to re-use the existing translation. Or, if it is a fuzzy match, they may tweak the existing translation.

What are the benefits of translation memory and CAT tools?

The ability to use existing translations and identify match rates allows translators to work more efficiently and ensures consistency of terminology across translations.

The memory tool can also tell the translator how many segments within the source text are repeated, and these are referred to as “repetitions” in the translation memory.

From a client perspective, depending on your terms, you may receive “repeat content discounts” based on the analysis calculated from the translation memory.

Over time, the more content you translate into a specific language, the more discounts you will receive.

I hope this blog post has given you a useful introduction to translation memory and CAT tools. For more in-depth information, read the full-length guide here. The guide covers:

  • what translation memory is and how it can benefit you
  • what a computer-assisted translation tool is and how it can benefit you
  • what terminology management is and how it can benefit you
  • what a translation management system is and how it can benefit you
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Samantha Brazel

Team Leader at Webcertain
Samantha is the Team Leader of the Translates department at Webcertain. With over six years of experience, she has developed a professional background in translation and localisation management. She manages a team of Project Managers, partners and engineers who are invested in continual improvement and keeping up with translation industry developments. She enjoys new learning opportunities and developing her skill sets. She is currently improving her learning about video localisation techniques. Originally from the UK, Samantha now lives in France.

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