RE: Translation Memory System

Subject: RE: Translation Memory System
From: susan larsson <slarsson -at- cnw -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 23 May 2001 12:08:28 -0700

On 09:43 AM 5/23/2001 -0700, Rick Kirkham wrote the following:

A translatiom memory system is a component of a larger type of application
called a CAT (Computer Aided Translation).


Unless your company hires a
French translator as a direct hire, they probably won't want to actually own
a CAT tool. CATs are owned by translators.

True - we buy them (they are expensive!) and learn to use them (they are complicated!).

After each translation project,
the translator will send your company the updated translation memory file
(along with the translated document).

Not necessarily.

The company stores the file between
translation projects and then sends it, along with the English original, to
a translator at the start of the next translation project. Each CAT saves
its memory files in a proprietary format by default, however, each is
capable of saving the files also as delimited text files and/or as files in
a branch of XML called TMX (Translation Memory Exchange language). These
text or TMX files can be used by any of the other CATs.

Not exactly... trados cannot use deja vu files, for example, though dv can use trados files.

Accordingly, your
company should insist that, among the deliverables, the translators must
send the translation memory saved both in the proprietary format of the
translator's CAT and in text or TMX format.

You will find translators up in arms about this.

This gives the company the
freedom on their next translation project to shop around among all
translators and translation agencies regardless of what CAT they own.

I wouldn't say it works this way in reality. Please see below.

There are a small number CATs on the market. I'm not a translator myself,
but this is what I found searching the web and reading online reviews of
these products:

The best CAT seems to be Deja Vu from Language Partners, based on
comparative reviews. Its web site is:

This is correct (I use it,-)

The best-selling is TRADOS. See:

True as well. With microsoft as a major owner, their marketing is much more heavy-handed.

IBM has one that lacks some features:

Very few people use IBM's unless it's a matter of languages not supported by the others.

There may be others that I did not find. In particular, if there are any
that don't have an English web site, I would not know about them.

You've hit the high points; there is one more that is trying to break in (the name escapes me at the moment).

However, there are major problems associated using the process you describe above.

Your company would be better off developing an association with a trusted agency or translator(s). Shopping around, as you put it, between projects will still lead to inconsistencies; one of the hugest problems faced by translators is inferior translation memories, the result of end clients "shopping around" for the cheapest solution. There is a saying in the translator community: pay peanuts, and you get monkeys.

Top notch translators and translation agencies work with these tools to provide clients with excellent products - find one you can work with, develop a relationship, and let them take care of the consistency through the tools that they have invested in and learned to use to provide the highest quality end product for their clients.

We translators work with texts as carefully as you tech writers, and take as much pride in the end result - you will often hear the slogan "better than the original." As you describe the method of using CAT tools, you imply that translators are mere extensions of those tools, and not masters of them.

susan (tech translator)

translators' site du jour:
swedish>english medicine * business * technology
mailto:slarsson -at- cnw -dot- com * mailto:s_larsson -at- post -dot- utfors -dot- se
phone/fax: +1 360 466 3304 cell phone: +1 360 202 9402
laconner washington usa * bokenäs uddevalla sweden


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