How technology saves money on translation

Translation costs are often unavoidable, especially in global organisations where there is a need for a consistent global voice. In this post we explain translation memory technology and how it saves businesses and NGOs money on translation.

As naturally diverse organisations, some NGOs and global companies have language capabilities in-house, and manage their translations internally. However, there may be times when you need to employ a Language Service Provider (LSP), as busy employees may not always have the time to take on large-scale or complicated translation projects.

If you find yourself needing the services of a LSP, don’t despair; there are many benefits to outsourcing your translation requirements, including stress-free translations, quicker turnaround times and higher volume capacity. Another benefit is Translation Memory. This technology has saved some of our clients tens of thousands of pounds – more on that later.

What is translation memory?

Translation memory is a linguistic database that stores previously translated text. It’s used alongside computer-assisted translation (CAT) systems that aid the process of translation. A translation memory is basically a continually evolving digital library that contains all the translations ever created for an organisation. Translation memory allows a translator to re-use any of the text segments that have been translated before.

Translation memory helps to reduce cost, increase consistency and lower turnaround time.

Is this machine translation, like Google Translate?

Absolutely not. Translation memory and machine translation are very different. Instead of replacing the human translator, translation memory tools work with the human translator. Everything still has to be translated by a human at least once – the benefit is that once something has been translated, it never needs to be translated again. Translation memory makes this possible.

What about confidentiality?

We treat all client translations and information with strict confidence, and translation memories are no exception. TM data is unique to each client and is securely stored on our servers. Any content stored is exclusively yours and is never shared.

How does this technology add value?

This technology delivers three main benefits:

Reduced Costs

Reducing spend on translation means more money is available for use elsewhere. This technology ensures maximum cost efficiency.

Increased Consistency

Inconsistent language not only looks sloppy, it can also be misleading or confusing. Translation memory ensures language consistency.

Faster Turnaround

Translation memory means we only need to translate something once. This speeds up future translations and means localised material can be published sooner.

When can translation memory be used?

Translation memories can be developed for almost all translations, apart from creative or literary translation (e.g. poetry). TMs are assets that build over time – the more that’s fed in, the more they can be used in future – so they are particularly beneficial for organisations who have a regular translation requirement.

Computer-assisted translation is the wider technology that includes the tools that build translation memories. CAT tools also allow us to discount for repetitions within the same or other files, even if we haven’t translated them yet.

This technology is an integral part of our process and we do not charge extra for it. It’s a free service that adds huge value, saving clients money and ensuring translations are always consistent.

How are savings calculated?

Costs are discounted when there is repeated or TM content. Before translation, documents are analysed to shows the number of matches. Sometimes these matches are exact, sometimes they’re partial (we call these fuzzy matches).

A higher discount is applied to exact matches, as these only need to be checked in context and not retranslated. Partial/fuzzy matches get partial discounts, as the text needs greater intervention on the part of the linguist.

How translation memory saved Oxfam £15,000

Oxfam GB, a long-standing client of Sure Languages, asked us to translate a large number of documents which contained more than 300,000 words.

As the files included a lot of repetitions, the number of effort words reduced from 300k to 210k, saving £9,000. We also leveraged translation memory content that saved Oxfam a further £6,000!

In total we saved Oxfam £15,000, and reduced the turnaround time by 75 days.

"We had a huge, very complex translation project, with a tight deadline. But thanks to Sure Languages’ expert approach, we were able to save a lot of time and budget, whilst ensuring consistency throughout the project, as they built and applied translation memories with previously translated content"

Would you like to save time and money on your next translation project? We’re always happy to provide a no-obligation quote or discuss a project – get in touch with the team to find out more!

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