Translation Memory Software: A Powerful Tool for Localization

by Shu Ni Lim 8 minutes to read

I wish I had discovered translation memory software back when I was working as a marketing manager who had to curate content in three languages regularly.

While that ship has sailed, yours certainly has not!

In this article, we’ll explore the best practices of marketing teams and localization specialists in using translation memory software to meet the demands of going global.

visual representation of translation memory software

Overview

What is a Translation Memory Software (TMS)?

A translation memory software is a tool you use to store and access approved translations so that you can reuse them the next time they come up in your work.

Translation memories are usually larger segments of text like phrases and sentences that are linked to their corresponding translations in a database.

They are NOT a type of machine translation but a digital record of a person's work you can access and use as needed.

the three step process of how translation memories are used

How does a Translation Memory Software Work?

When you’re working on new content, the software looks for similar phrases and sentences that were translated in your past projects and suggests them for reuse.

Most translation memory software can recognize three kinds of matches:

  1. 100% Match - The new segment of text is exactly the same as a previously translated segment.
  2. 100% Match with Context - The new segment of text, including its surrounding text, is exactly the same as a previously translated segment.
  3. Fuzzy Match (Less than 100%) - The new segment of text is similar to a previously translated segment but not completely.

three types of matches in translation memory software

Right-click and open image in new tab to enlarge.

Benefits of Translation Memory Software

One of the main challenges in localization is coordinating the efforts of multiple teams and departments around the world. This is where a translation memory software becomes the uniting factor.

Every localization project should be viewed as a cycle instead of a linear process with a start and an end. By making good use of your previous work, which is represented by translation memories, the cycle continues and brings even greater benefits as more content is translated.

translation memory software benefits cycle

1. Improve Translation Quality & Consistency

Translating business assets demands a particular level of quality and consistency, which allows your brand voice to shine through any marketing copy.

Once you figure out your brand voice in the target language, you can save each text segment, like tag lines and product names, as translation memories.

Using the software, you can pull them up for reference instantly whenever similar segments appear in new projects. It helps you to keep translations consistent throughout all assets.

For companies that must use industry-specific jargon, this is one way to ensure you use the right terms and expressions all the time.

2. Reduce Translation Costs

Professional translation is costly so why should you keep paying to translate every asset with repetitive content?

Many localization teams prefer to keep the work in-house to optimize their resources, which is made possible with a translation memory software.

Every completed translation is a new resource you can reuse and repurpose within your work cycle.

If you had paid for that translation, great! You're making sure that money is well spent by expanding its use.

If someone on your team had done the translation, also great! You're saving valuable time and energy by utilizing previously approved materials.

By combining all your translation data on one accessible platform, you are building a unique resource that expands and increases in value whenever a new localization project is completed.

In short, the more you translate, the less you have to pay for future translations because your existing resources become richer.

translation memories is an important resources at the transformation stage

3. Achieve Greater Productivity

Out of all the translation problems businesses face in localization, the most persistent one is that it takes up a lot of time to translate content and archive files for future reference. Many localization teams do not realize that they're devoting unnecessary hours to both.

Searching for the information you need within mountains of emails and spreadsheets may seem like organized chaos... but it’s still chaos at the end of the day.

Imagine that you’re translating new content, and you suddenly have a vague memory of having translated something similar before.

Do you ignore that instinct or do you personally search a database for the past translation? Both are rather unproductive.

However, there is a third option: use technology to help you with translating and archiving content. You can leverage the computer’s insane speed at storing and recalling data to locate key information so you don’t have to.

Translation memory software functions like a second brain, working in the background to help your team localize assets quickly and achieve a faster time to market.

Examples of Translation Memory Software

The best translation memory software today are often an extension of translation management systems, which gives you greater control over your project management workflow.

Some examples are:

Not sure which one is the best fit for your team? Starting a free trial - like the one we offer for Redokun - is a good way to test whether an interface works well with your team.

The Redokun Advantage

Using your translation memories in a translation management software offers more than just data management. Here’s how using Redokun empowers your localization tasks from start to finish.

1. Accomplish all your tasks easily online

Redokun is a cloud-based translation software, which means you can access your projects on any device and collaborate online with anyone in the world.

With cloud-based systems, gone are the days where you have to install the software on a local device and acquire a separate license for each device you'll use.

Using Redokun to translate your documents is designed to be simple and intuitive process. It’s like walking into an online office and casually coordinating your team with the tasks and information they need.

2. Start using Redokun immediately without training

Another time-saving advantage with Redokun is that you can skip the usual onboarding and training courses because it's that easy to use.

Having a simple translation management platform is all you need instead of rehauling your entire workflow to integrate your team with the software. It’s as straightforward as visiting a website and have all the tools and data you need for a project at your disposal.

Redokun is a solution for businesses that are concerned with the steep learning curve that comes with many translation software.

3. Manage your translation memories seamlessly

As the system administrator, you can export your company’s translation memories from Redokun (normally as a .tmx file) or import them from another translation software.

This function makes it easier for you to work with an external vendor or an overseas partner who may use another program to translate content.

On the other hand, if you and your collaborators will mainly work on the Redokun platform, they can view translation memories as suggestions when translating a document.

It's a small detail but it safeguards your company's translation memory database from being downloaded and reused by third parties, particularly in cases where a contractor does the translation.

4. Use your translation data for different types of documents

You can use your translation memories to translate different file formats on Redokun, such as

  • InDesign file (.idml)
  • Word document (.docx)
  • PowerPoint presentation (.pptx)
  • Excel spreadsheet (.xlsx)
  • HTML files (.html)

Whether you have to translate a catalog, a product presentation, or a web page, you can be assured that Redokun will cover most of your localization needs.

For instance, translations done for a Word document can be saved as translation memories so you can further repurpose the data to translate an InDesign document, and vice versa.

What are the top translation software and how can they empower your global business? We’ve rounded up the best ones for you here. Learn more

Using Translation Memories on Redokun

Translating your documents on Redokun using your translation memories is pretty simple. There are two ways to go about it.

Method One

First, upload your file to Redokun, then launch the web editor. Here you will see each page of your document divided into text segments with empty boxes beside them.

The boxes are where you will type out the translations. To save you more time and effort, below each box are suggestions from your translation memories (see screenshot below).

You can copy and use the suggested translation directly if it is a 100% match, or reuse it with modifications if it is less than 100% similar.

screenshot of redokun web editor

Method Two

A quicker way to utilize your translation memories is to pre-translate the entire document first. Whenever you upload a new document, you will get a pre-translate option, which automatically translates the parts that are repeated from a past project.

This option is suitable for content with a significant amount of repetitive content with 100% matches, such as contracts and product catalogs.

screenshot of redokun pre-translation page

Creating New Translation Memories

When you or your collaborator completes and saves a translation using Redokun’s web editor, new translation memories are automatically created for content that isn’t in your existing database.

Summary

Translation memory software, despite its name, is not just a useful tool for translators. It is also for project managers, marketing teams, and localization specialists who need a platform to manage and utilize their translation data the best they can.

In the long run, every translation is a resource you should keep using, and here’s why:

  • Save money in future translations - The more you translate, the more you can reuse. Then, you can mostly rely on your in-house teams to translate a text.
  • Increase productivity - You can get instant translation suggestions drawn from a unique and reliable language framework you have built for your business.
  • Improve consistency - You can maintain your brand voice because you won’t translate the same segment differently when it appears in a new document.

Of course, it’s not a good tool if it’s not easy to use. I’d like to invite you to try out Redokun and hopefully, you can see how easy it is to integrate a translation memory software into your workflow.

Click here to start your free trial today. No credit card necessary!

Shu Ni Lim
Shu Ni Lim

Shu Ni has worked as a marketing executive for various global consumer electronics brands before shifting her focus to content writing.

Now at Redokun, Shu Ni hopes to create meaningful content for multilingual needs by utilizing her expertise in linguistics and graphic design.

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