Localization Academy


Translation has come a long way. We now have the power of machines to store previous translations. Find out what TM is, how you can leverage it, and how it increases translator’s productivity.

What is TM? TM is an acronym for translation memory and it is basically a storage for all the translations that a translator did on the project for a client. 

Imagine a simple sentence ‘Hello, how are you?’ in English – that’s the source language – and that would be translated into the target language, let’s say French. Now, the purpose of the TM is to store this translation. Therefore, whenever the translator finishes the translation, and the translation has been approved, it gets stored in the translation memory. 

The reason why we want to store this is the next time when the translator encounters the very same string ‘Hello, how are you?’ they don’t have to translate from scratch, and spend the whole time thinking about the translation. The translation would be automatically suggested by the translation memory because it has been approved and stored already. Therefore, the translation would come up automatically without taxing your time as a translator. 

Of course, this is just one example for one string. Whenever you translate a project, there will be many, multiple strings. As the TM grows, it can have thousands, up to millions of translation pairs or translation segments like this from English to French. And over time, we will have a better leverage, because the TM is bigger and has more strings. 

One of the reasons why we use translation memories is to speed up productivity, of course. You don’t want to translate the same things again and again, and spend time figuring out how to translate them. It will be very ineffective and inefficient. Second reason is consistency. In most cases, whenever we have the same English sentence or string, or source string, we want to have the same translation as well, to keep things consistent. 

And that’s why we have translation memory.

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