How to cut costs using translation memory software

A translation memory software is a database that saves paragraphs and sentences into segments. These segments are the translated forms of the paragraphs and sentences. They are stored in a well-designed and structured memory in the translation tools. This memory helps translators to work easier, faster, and more accurate. Thus, it provides a more cost-effective and high-quality level of translation.

15 years ago, the use of translation memories was very limited. There were only a couple of companies that provided CAT tools to use in translation in order to save time and money. Most of the translation prices were charged per page, per word or per hour. It just depended on the request.

Before getting into the memory prices

it is important to know what you pay for your translations

Today the prices for translations are charged per word or per page. The price per hour will be given on specific needs and most of the times used only for interpreters who are paid for the time spent interpreting. Every translation agency is charging different prices per word. Sometimes there are after hour rates, minimum rates for a translation and special rates for certain languages. So it is important to find out if a translation agency is charging you per word and what they charge extra.

So, analyze the document you need to translate and inform yourself about the prices. By cutting out unnecessary phrases or repeated phrases you’ll be able to cut down the word count of your document. By asking for quotes from several agencies you’ll be able to see what is the actual cost of your translation, what are the extra costs and how much you need to pay in the end. Those are the first steps in cutting down translation costs without even having to analyze the translation memory cost.

save translation budget

How can you save money on your translation by using translation memories

memory usage

What is a translation memory software?

A translation memory software is a database of your company where all the translations, including the source text have been saved. This memory is built by the translation agency in order to be consistent with your translations like the terminology used in your company. Every new document that you have for translation is going to be analyzed against the translation database to find sentences that are or could be already translated in the past.

Imagine you have a yearly report and most of the text is the same every year. A bad translation company would let you pay for the same text they already translated last year. They could have already built a memory and use that to get your new yearly report translated.

how memory works

How does it work?

When a file is submitted for translation, it will be in an editable format which is similar to a word document. The submitted file’s contents will be scanned thoroughly and imported into the CAT tool which holds your memory. After that, your document will be split into segments which are then compared with previously saved segments in the memory’s database.

The moment the memory finds a match, the human translator will be notified. From there, it is the translator’s choice to accept or decline the match as it suits the document to be translated. If the memory holds all your past translations and the more you use it the more matches it provides. Hence, translation costs will be reduced.

translation memories

Why translation companies maintain translation memories

The memory within CAT tools allows storage of all past translations of a certain client, creating a more solid and standardized process. It is remarkably notable that a lot of translation companies make use of this program to create multilingual documentation and as well as for a more efficient translation. This practice has brought stabilization and more work and a good reputation to several translation companies.

The use of translation memory software has been kept because it makes the translation easier and quicker than not having it. With the help of CAT tools and their memory features, the turnaround time is shorter and the cost of translation gets smaller with every document being translated. The more the memory stores terminologies and paragraphs into its database, the higher the chances of the client to pay less for the translation.

translation memory software

How are memories used and what is the benefit for you

If your translation provider has built a memory for your company, ask for it if you decide to switch to another provider as you need to present your database to the new provider in order not to lose all the benefits of translated sentences that you might have built up in the past years.

For every new document you need translation for, the memory analyzes your document against past translations and sorts the sentences accordingly. A report is then being generated which allows the translation agency to give you a better price.

The result of such a report is:

memory no match

No match

This indicates the number of sentences which haven’t been translated before. This can happen with any document even if your memory contains a large amount of past translations. There will be no savings with those sentences.

slight match in memory

Fuzzy match

When parts of a sentence have been found in the translation memory software and can be used with current translation. There will be slight cost savings by using those sentences in the current translation.

100 percent match

100 percent match

100 percent match indicates the number of sentences which fully match with sentences translated in the past.  Or those sentences which are repeated in the current document. Those generate the highest savings in your translation cost.

how much can you save

How much can you save?

Let’s consider you have a document to be translated which contains 1,500 words. If you want it translated without using translation memories, the quote would be 1,500 words x USD $0.12 per word and the total is USD $180.

When you have a memory and you get an analysis. This means no match 550, fuzzy match 450 and 100 percent and repetitions is 500, then your calculation could be:

  • 550 x 0.12 USD is 66 USD (no match)
  • 450 x 0.09 USD is 40.50 USD (fuzzy match)
  • 500 x 0.06 USD is 30 USD (100 percent match and repetitions).

The total would be in this case 136.50 USD.

The normal price without using the memory software is $180. By using the memory, the price would be 136.50 USD. You could easily save 43.50 USD for this example translation.

Can you imagine when you have 100.000 words how much money you could save?

If you need to translate documents all the time, ask your translation agency to use CAT tools. With CAT tools you can build up translation memories for your company! Find out how to find the right translation memory tool.

Questions? Here are some answers

How is TM different from a termbase?

A memory stores sections of text as translation units. A section can consist of a sentence or paragraph. The TM holds both the original and translated text of each section so it can be used again.

A termbase, on the other hand, is a searchable database that includes a list of multilingual terms and rules on the subject of their usage. A TM is usually used in conjunction with a termbase within SDL Trados Studio.

How is TM software different from machine translation?

Machine translation refers to the automated translation by a computer, without any human input.

TM software needs human input as it reuses text that has been earlier translated to complete new translation work. A professional translator completes the translation with help from the CAT tool.

Machine translation may be used in conjunction with a TM to get better speed. For instance, when a translation memory does not have sufficient information to complete a section of text. SDL Language Cloud Machine Translation can be used to translate the section. The translator may then alter the output and save the completed section to the memory so it may be reused afterward. We do not use this feature unless we are specifically instructed by the client to do so.

questions about CAT tools
translation memory software

Faster turnaround and money saving tools

If you can easily save money with the help of software, would you still be willing to spend more on a service? No, right? Most people spend a lot on getting their documents translated because they don’t know how to save money when it comes to translation. The right translation agency will help you save money. But the one that’s only trying to fill its pockets will ignore all the ways your money can be saved and charge you extra for each translation.

Translation memory software not only helps translators work faster but also allows clients to save money. It records the translation segments and paragraphs of the past so that they can be helpful to you in the future. These rules of translation are not changing anytime soon, so if you translate one sentence today, that translation will be accurate after a month too.

The job of the translation memory software is to remind you each time you are about to get a document translated. Also if you have the translation of a paragraph or segment already available. When you cut off paragraphs from your document because you already have their translation, you will save money. And if you regularly require translations, translation memory software can help you save a lot of money.

We at Universal Translation Services have trained our translators and project managers in using main CAT tools on the market and we are able to use any computer assisted translation tool on your project. Simply let us know you’d like to use the benefits of translation memories and we’ll make it so.

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