Professional translators come from a variety of environments, have different educational backgrounds, and choose to specialize in different fields of expertise. The individual human element that a translator adds is vital to a quality translation. However, it’s just as important that professional translators find similar ground so that the end-product is appropriate for the target audience. A common language and dedication to their craft binds them together but there are tools which can bridge the differences even more. Perhaps the most powerful is translation memory software.
There are a variety of computer-related technologies available to translators but what the most prevalent software programs have in common is the ability to maintain a database of terms, phrases, and sentences as they are translated so the translations can be recalled later on when the same or similar text is encountered. This works best when a separate translation memory is created and maintained for each client so that client-specific terminology can be established, refined, and re-used with confidence.
No matter what the base industry a client works in, their translation needs can transcend several fields (e.g. technical writing, accounting, marketing, human resources) requiring the use of different specialized translators. Translation memory software allows for the sharing of terminology among translators who don’t necessarily translate the same type of material. When a client’s needs grow and new translators are added to the team, the new team members can review and use the translation memory database, taking advantage of their fellow team members’ earlier work. Previous translations are used in the new tasks which minimize inconsistent translation and can often lower the cost and time needed to complete the work.