What Is Translation Memory?

What Is Translation Memory

The world is getting more digitalized with lots of innovative applications. Several businesses and industries have shifted to the use of computerized and simplified approaches in operations.

The shift cuts across all industries and services, including translation. There’s a revolution in translation services through translation memory. Most professional translators now use translation memories to simplify and deliver their works.

This article covers the meaning and how translation memory works. Also, you will learn why it has become a preferred route in modern translation. Keep reading!

What is Translation Memory?

A translation memory (TM) is a database that saves originally translated sentences, phrases, terms, segments of texts, and paragraphs. It is a bilingual operator that includes both the original and translated languages.

In this memory, the original language is referred to as the source, while the translated one is the target. The combination or a pair of the two languages is known as Translation Units (TUs).

Usually, this provides users with all the previously translated works in its database. Also, with the stored data, it manages language repetition through written works.

The database has gained traction due to its support for speedy delivery, high-quality translations, and consistency.

How does Translation Memory work?

Transition memory operates as the heart of modern translation technology. As we’ve mentioned earlier, TM has a pair of languages from the source and target languages called the transition unit.

The process of translation comes in pairs of the TUs. The storing of data is also according to the pairs. The translation process runs in the background of the user’s CAT tool (Computer Assisted Translation Tool). The translation memory will flag similar or matching segments of your translation.

Moreover, it will offer some suggestions identical or similar to previous translations. This is because it stores all the previous translations and will try to avoid repetitions through effective management.

Subsequently, TM uses percentages during translation to indicate the similarities between the source and target languages. The rating is 100%, which implies a perfect match for the TUs. Colors indicate other differences in the translation. You can use any previous translations word-for-word if they offer a 100% match for your new content.

However, there could be fuzzy matches with some suggestions from the TM and your work segment. This means that the matches are less than 100% in similarity. In such cases, you shouldn’t use the past translation. You may decide to retrieve and modify the previous translation before finally using it. 

Benefits of Translation Memory

Translation memory offers some outstanding benefits. Using the translation in its database makes it easy to complete the translation process repeatedly without repetition.

Here are some of the benefits of it:

1. Saves Time

With a translation memory, you will get suggestions of previously translated works similar to your current content. The differences could only be in tags, numbers, formatting, and punctuation.

The speedy delivery of a TM saves you the time of getting a completely new translation for your contextual and localization content. You could dedicate more time to new projects instead.

2. Costs Reduction

With a translation memory, you can build a database of several translations for your projects. Even as a non-professional translator, TM helps you to save costs with previous translations.

TM allows you to easily refer to the memories for free; because these translations are already saved, it acts as a proofreading tool as well. This is more cost-effective than hiring the services of a professional translator.

3. Quality Enhancement

A translation memory provides you with the proper management of your translated sentences and projects. This evades repetitions in the translated memory. It saves correctly translated sentences, phrases, and paragraphs.

The consistency in TM is a great advantage for companies and organizations where the projects seem to have some complexities. The stored memory serves as a reference in developing similar content for consistency. It is more useful when many people engage in similar projects that need translation.


With translation memory, works and projects have become easier. You now understand what a translation memory is and how it works. The database simplifies translating your content through a collection of past works.