Why Use a Translation Memory Software?

In 1979, when FLS opened its doors for business, translation was done by hand. There were no electronic dictionaries or the Internet to look up specialized terms. Over the years, FLS has collected a number of specialized dictionaries from technology, trade, medicine, aerospace engineering, and so on. While these dictionaries are still valuable tools in the field of translation, memory software has improved tremendously and translators have become more productive, consistent, and precise.

Imagine translating a document with complex, specialized terms or phrases. You looked up the English translation once, so when the same term or phrase appears in the document again, you can use the same translation. In the days of type writers, this meant going back to where you wrote the translation and typing it again. With translation memory software, the computer remembers the word or phrase you used and it appears as a suggested translation.

Let’s imagine for a minute that you’re translating a medical article from English to Italian. The phrase, “antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity” appears. You checked in a specialized dictionary that the translation is “citotossicità mediata da cellule dipendente da anticorpi.” The next time you translate a sentence with the same phrase, the software remembers what you used before.

There is still need for a human eye to make sure the term is being used in the right context. This can significantly improve your productivity!

The popular memory software that translators prefer are SDL Trados, MemoQ, and Memsource but there are others as well.

We’d like to hear from experienced translators… What is your favorite memory software and what features do you love about it?