• abrealey

Ten things a translator needs – number 3

The third item on our list of ten involves technology, specifically translation memory software, which very few translators can afford to ignore.

In a nutshell, this kind of software product creates a database of translated material as the translator works their way through a document, broken down into individual sentences. When a new document needs translating, this “translation memory” is automatically searched for relevant existing material. There’s thus no risk of re-inventing the wheel, quite apart from the advantage of saving time and money.

Given the similarity between contracts, for example, or the fact that many documents in the business world are updated versions of previous ones, the scope for savings is very considerable. As with life, though, you only get out what you (or someone else) has put in, so it’s not a free lunch. And the translation memory itself isn’t smart – it will be happy to accept any old rubbish. Caution is therefore needed, not least because the same word or phrase may need translating differently to suit a particular context. So think of translation memory software as an aid to efficiency, rather than a replacement for a human translator.


Despite technical progress, translation remains largely a manual activity that requires someone to painstakingly assemble the right words in the right order.

5 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

This sixth blog post addresses the tricky subject of openness to criticism. The reality of the translation world is that many translators are freelancers working from home. Being part of a team alongs

Hitting the half-way point in our series, this blog post deals with the need for a backup strategy. That means ideally not just backing up data but also having a backup computer and an alternative way

Item number four on our list is an awareness of typographical issues/conventions, which sometimes seems sadly lacking among translators. As anyone who has worked with “old school” typesetting professi