There are many fundamental pieces of information you might or might not know that will help shape your company’s content in many languages. We call it linguistic assets (a secret word in the world of language, about which we will enlighten you). This is the first of ten of the most pressing questions you have been asking and which we will answer. Here it goes:

FAQ’s asked by you:

Q: What is Translation Memory − TM?

A: Translation Memory, TM for short, is one of the three most commonly used CAT tools. TM is a database that reuses previously translated phrases and sentences in order to increase efficiency (the other two tools are Terminology Management and Software Localization Tools). It stores translated words and phrases in segments. This allows for recycling of key phrases for new translation projects. This tool also estimates the number of repetitions. It is those repetitions that become the basis for the storage of a company’s linguistic assets.

If you want to get REALLY technical in your learning about TM, read the definition as described by Wikipedia. (Oh by the way this will forever change the way you feel about the commoditization of our industry):

translation memory, or TM, is a database that stores so-called “segments”, which can be sentences or sentence-like units (headings, titles or elements in a list) that have previously been translated. A translation memory system stores the words, phrases and paragraphs that have already been translated, in order to aid human translators. The translation memory stores the source text and its corresponding translation in language pairs called “translation units”. Some software programs that use translation memories are known as translation memory managers (TMM). Translation memories are typically used in conjunction with a dedicated computer assisted translation (CAT) tool, word processing program, terminology management systems, multilingual dictionary, or even raw machine translation output. A translation memory consists of text segments in a source language and their translations into one or more target languages. These segments can be blocks, paragraphs, sentences, or phrases. Individual words are handled by terminology bases and are not within the domain of TM.

[next Translation FAQ 101 post]