Make International Growth a Breeze with Translation Memory Tools
If you’re expanding globally without translation memory, get ready. You’re likely to get bogged down by countless questions, rewrites, and inconsistencies. These issues will only multiply with each new market and project. Using translation memory can prevent these issues from stalling your global efforts.
What is Translation Memory and How Does It Work?
Translation memory, or TM, is the use of a database or bank of material you’ve previously translated.
By compiling all your translated materials, patterns and preferred translations start to emerge. You can also include carefully chosen translations from your translation style guide into the database.
Think of it like this—TM captures all that hard, expensive translation work and allows it to be reused.
Once you have a memory bank, translators can use it as they work on every project. A software program makes the information stored in this database easy to incorporate as translators work on new content. It can automatically find and suggest matches, and its power grows with each new project.
Words and even entire phrases that have already been painstakingly translated won’t have to be re-translated repeatedly. And TM software doesn’t just help recycle exact phrases. It also helps when “fuzzy matches” or similar, but inexact phrases reappear.
The tool can suggest fuzzy matches to the translator. They then use their expertise to determine how much, if any, of the previous translation is appropriate to reuse.
A Quick Look at Translation Memory
If you’re looking for a short and sweet explanation of TM, check out this video by Language Translation, Inc. The video is a good resource to pass along to teammates. It may be especially helpful for those who will need to approve a switch to TM, but who may not have context for why the software is important.
Faster Translations Mean Money Saved
The translation process is clearly faster with the use of this tool. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel with every new piece of content you create.
In fact, according to Marketing Profs, translation management software can eliminate up to 90 percent of the manual tasks traditionally tied to translation efforts.
Saved time means saved money. If your translators are in-house, they’ll be able to move on to other tasks more quickly. And if you rely on external translators, the projects will wrap up faster, leading to reduced billable hours and price per project.
This all leaves you with more money in the budget for other marketing efforts. With TM, you’ll not only save time and money on the basics—getting your content to new customers—you’ll have more freedom and money to reach customers in other ways.
Marketing Profs stressed that to get the most benefit from TM, the translation database must be accessible by all those providing translations for your company.
For example, maybe you work mostly with a language service provider (LSP), but occasionally farm out small projects to local freelance translators, and have a few in-house folks for last minute fixes. Don’t leave anyone out of the loop. Make sure everyone who needs it has access to your translation database.
This not only helps prevent unnecessary revisions, it also helps deliver another key benefit of TM—consistency.
Translation Memory Enhances Brand Consistency
It takes a lot of effort and skill to keep tone and messaging consistent across different languages. It requires a team of talented folks to create quality source material, translate the material, and ensure that nuance and brand personality remains intact.
Attempting to accomplish this repeatedly with every piece of content is daunting. But TM alleviates much of the concern for global brand marketers.
All that work matching tone won’t have to be redone with each new project. And no matter who wrote the source material or who performed the translations, key phrases and words will remain intact.
Those key, often-repeated phrases are central to your brand personality. And keeping them intact is central to taking your company worldwide.
This consistency makes your brand stronger in the eyes of all your stakeholders—from new customers in a novel market to the board of directors.
Improved Efficiency is a Marketing Win, No Matter What Your Strategy Is
No matter how you approach translation and localization, TM is an important tool.
The Globalization and Localization Association (GALA) reports that machine translation can be used alongside translation memory to increase effectiveness.
In certain cases, we recommend a mix of machine and human translation, but TM only serves to improve both methods. It makes automatic translations more natural and human translations much quicker to perform.
So, whether you are working alongside a trusted LSP or going it alone, make sure you implement a translation memory database. Taking full advantage will make you a better global brand marketer and simplify the complicated process of international expansion.