A translation memory system is software that helps human translators.
A translator translates words and phrases from a source language into a target language (the translation). When those words and phrases appear again in a source text, the software supplies the previous translation to the translator. The translator can use the translation or change the translation.
Translation memory systems decrease the cost of translation by approximately 30% to approximately 80%:
- Translation memory systems are "particularly beneficial when used on manuals, user guides, training material and other technical documents where you could see savings of between 30% and 50% [Editor's note 2015-02-01: the web page www.translution.com/translation-memory.aspx is not available now].
- "… corporations are already achieving re-use rates in excess of 80% - meaning that only 20% of content needs to be translated by human [translators]." (www.sdl.com/en/language-technology/products/translation-memory/)
To get the most benefit from a translation memory system, use a controlled language to make sure that the text is as consistent as possible. For example, do not use the synonyms 'alter', 'amend', and 'change'. Use only one word.