TM HEALTH CHECK™: 4 Steps to Updated Translation Memories:

Sep 10, 2015

If you have ever been involved in the content translation process in your company, you are surely familiar with Translation Memories (TMs). And if you are not, you really should be, as TMs are your way to less stress, less overtime work, possibly even a promotion or other reward thanks to reducing your company's translation expenses.

Why you should keep your TMs up to date

As we have mentioned in a previous blog, it is very common that TMs get outdated and out of sync with your current published documents. Even if you have gone to the effort of creating a translation memory, it most likely does not include all the additions, changes, etc. that your published documents have undergone.

What you risk with outdated TMs

If you fail to keep your TM up to date, you risk issues in the translation process, such as:

  • Inconsistent resources and terminology that slow down translation, create context errors that compromise translation accuracy and cause confusion
  • Reuse of 100% identical text segments that contain errors, which are used and published again and again
  • Jack is not always a jack, nor a jack... A common TM issue is the existence of different translations of the same source segment, especially for short text segments. Such segments should be kept, but their actual usage checked.
  • If selected segments are updated in local projects, they risk becoming inconsistent with the existing segments in your TMs causing even more confusion – what should be used when and where?.

All these issues lead to inconsistent and inaccurate translation. Translation takes longer and becomes more expensive. These extra costs can be prevented by performing a regular health check on your TMs, and making sure they undergo regular maintenance.

What does the TM overhaul involve?

  1. PROJECT LAUNCH- We pool all your TM resources, i.e. those you have and those we may have in our storage. We then determine priorities for maintenance if there are multiple TMs to check – e.g. emphasize a main TM that serves as the source for the greater part of your content, or cover content that is most visible in the company.

- To "clean" the TM and match every source segment with its target, we run a “Health check” analysis to detect possible errors, such as:

  • number mistakes and typos, URL mismatches, tag orders, usage of special characters and spaces or formatting based on language style sheets
  • untranslated text, which could signal missing target text
  • text consistency such as inconsistent matches and duplicate TM entries, including word consistency
  • glossary usage / non-usage (use of forbidden terms, opposite terms, etc.)
  1. TM MAINTENANCE– based on the TM HEALTH CHECK™, our human TM specialists and editors implement a thorough maintenance and editing process, some that rely on IT-based tools to clean the memory and repair detected issues. The process includes the following:
  • Updating the segments one-to-one (source-to-target) for each TM (cleaning out duplicates, forbidden terms, etc.)
  • Verifying terminology consistency including correction by human reviewers
  • Replacing your existing TMs with the updated bilingual text files to replace outdated and faulty segments.
  1. TM IMPLEMENTATION– This step is chiefly a client-side issue. Your memory is now in good health. Going forward, to benefit from the entire process you need to ensure that the updated TMs are used at all company levels in the document flow and for all published content. And since TM maintenance and the health check should be a regular event, the company needs to decide on a policy on how to continue its involvement in its TM overhauls:

Manage content and update resources in-house, and only have the cleaning process covered by an external professional LSP. This is often preferred by big companies and requires a considerable organizational structure (defining the TM update process, appointing managers responsible for the TM resources and its updates, etc.), or

Focus on your core business and outsource TM maintenance to your LSP to

  • perform regular TM health checks of your resources
  • follow up on these checks with reporting on inconsistent text segments, unused glossary terminology, poor/incorrect source text, conditional glossary terms, or even inconsistent source segments. idioma offers a comprehensive reporting service that serves as a valuable foundation for maintenance and consistent translation quality in ongoing and future translation projects.

BENEFITS of up-to-date translation memories

Well, the benefits are straight forward and clear, and offer:

  1. Reduced translation costs
  2. Reduced translationtime
  3. Brand and content consistency on international markets across all languages
  4. Improved SEO and online visibility
  5. Error-free content that ensures less potential damage control in future communication with company clients (high-quality brochures and manuals, easily comprehensible content for end-users ensuring correct application)

There's no time to waste when it comes to maintenance of your company's valuable TM resources.

Contact us TODAY to get your TMs checked and updated!