Translating and localizing your content doesn’t have to be a soul-crushing experience. Translation memory takes the lamentation out of localization.
Take a look at a few of the most formidable foes of translation:
Time, cost, inconsistency.
Historically, these vexing few have plagued translation technology universally. Enough that some organizations won’t translate their content at all to avoid the hassle altogether.
The problem is, avoiding translation removes an organization’s content from countless potential user bases across the world.
However, the answer isn’t poor translation either. Poor translation conveys a careless, inaccurate message to foreign audiences. Oh, and you’re still paying for that message. Apprehension is only natural.
It’s crucial to have translation and localization partners aligned with your organization’s goals, budget, and content objectives. Partners that make sure you’re translating only what you need and translating it accurately.
We’re no longer copying page to page translations like Medieval monks hunched over illuminated manuscripts meant for a few literate aristocrats!
We have technology. We have translation memory.
For localizing and translating content, translation memory is your most powerful ally against the aforementioned foes of time, cost, and consistency.
What Is Translation Memory?
Translation memory (TM) is a collection of translated pieces of text that are stored in a database so they can be recalled and reused later. It can be sentences, paragraphs, sections, really any string of text.
The original (source) content within this database becomes eternally linked to the associated translation. This eternal linking is crucial to the usefulness of TM. Because when there are parts of text that have already been translated, they can be reused repeatedly in more than one place, rather than source text being translated over and over again.
Translation memory is fascinating, but what it allows you to do with your content is a technical superpower. easyDITA’s Localization Manager takes translation memory and harnesses these superpowers so you have them right at your fingertips. These are a few of my favorite things.
Structured Content & Translation Memory Complement Each Other
DITA is a topic-based structured content standard. These topics render content easier to be developed in modular pieces. The “A” in DITA refers to Architecture for a valuable reason. Structured content is built by small topics that can exist by themselves. Then, just as bricks are stacked to build a wall, so a whole piece of content is built by stacking topics, which we call components of content.
That way, those components can be pieced together to make a document. When content is stored in components, it’s a much easier way to manage and track translated content in your translation memory.
With a topic-based structured content standard like DITA XML, the way your content is organized is constructed to support the full power of translation memory, making each subsequent job quicker to complete, track, and reuse.
Never Translate The Same Content Twice
In easyDITA’s Localization Manager, we have a nice way of making sure you never translate the same content twice. Once you establish your translation memory, the system crawls through your content and gives three different localization statuses: Current, Out-Of-Date, or Unavailable.
You’ve probably sussed this out, but those color-coded statuses pull from your translation memory to let you know whether the selected parts of your content are currently translated, have out-of-date translations that could use some tweaks, or have never been translated.
This way, when it’s time to package and ship your content to your translators, you will only select the content that needs to be translated. Inconsistency gets crushed here and you’ll never unnecessarily translate the same string of words again. Everything is stored in your translation memory for future use and you can see the status of everything in it.
Translation Memory Is Built To Scale
You’re building an asset that will grow with you. Everyone starts with no translation memory, similar to how everyone starts with no content. It’s a process!
When your content is written, stored, and organized in components, translation memory works with a more manageable library of translated content. You may start with a few pieces of translated content in your translation memory, but, over time, that library of translated content will grow.
As it grows, your translation jobs will be quicker and quicker. This is especially important because as you scale, your content delivery will also need to scale. Think of how important a robust translation memory is for scaling your content to global markets. The more you add, the more you can reuse later. Your growing content library and translation memory will have you doing less work as time goes on.
Whether your organization has five people or 5,000, when it’s time to get your content accurately translated, translation memory will make the process ultimately smoother. Coupled with structured content, you’re able to choose what you translate, save those translations, and reuse again wherever and whenever you want.
Tired of reading about it and want to see it in action? One of our experts would be happy to show you the power of translation memory.
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