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3 Ways to Hone Your Translation Memory (TM) and Term Base (TB) for Maximum Business Effect

If you have ever had the fortune to spend time driving a high-performance car, you have learned two lessons:

1. They are incredibly powerful, responsive, and fun to drive.

2. They require precision maintenance to keep that sharp performance.

And just like that sport touring car puts a grin on your face as you hug the curves, your organization’s Translation Memory (TM) and Term Bases (TB) can reduce production costs, speed up time-to-market, and boost customer satisfaction when they are tuned up to their maximum performance capacity.

Once you have built a base of Linguistic Asset Management, maintaining that system, and optimizing it for maximum performance is the next challenge. As a company that specializes in LQE, we at Chillistore tune up a lot of TMs and TBs– and we are happy to share a few of the tips we have learned along the way.

Why You Might Need a TM Tune-up?

Common triggers that we see are re-brandings, a new translator vendor, a new CAT (computer assisted translation) tool, merging/splitting TMs, or just the fact that the TM is too old. When a company has launched new products/services and TM/TB might be outdated. Sometimes clients also introduce machine translation to their workflows and use the same (so far human-translated) TM, so they end up with a mix of human translation and machine translation in their TM, and that causes quality issues as quality expectations are different for the two forms of translation.

Our Top Tips for Tuning Translation Memories

1. TM Analysis: Diagnosing Areas to Improve Business Outcomes 

Your existing TM is an ever-evolving asset. Using linguistic data research and analysis means you can find deficiencies and adapt to changing business, culture, and language environments:

Optimize SEO with Content Clustering and Pillars: Having evolved beyond the old idea of keyword packing, search engines assign rank based on the clusters of particular words that are associated with given topics. Therefore, maintaining consistent terminology use during translation will improve clusters and raise rank. An up-to-date TM that has captured these term clusters will keep your SEO efforts ahead of the competition.

Identifying Non-conformity and Other Quality Issues: We all know consistency is a key in communication – but maintaining that consistency is the challenge. A properly updated TM allows you to create and keep consistency by serving as a guardrail system that automatically identifies and eliminates translations that do not conform to the TM.

Outlining and Scoping Corrective Actions: With a solidly captured and up-to-date TM, you can spot non-conformities in your communications and quickly assess the amount of effort and resources that will need to be allocated to correct deficiencies. In short, your TM is not just a prescriptive tool, but an analytical tool that can help you capture the number and types of errors in work.

Savings from leveraging already translated text: A TM will suggest phrases that have already been translated once to the linguist who is working on your text. This means that you will not have to pay for the same text to be translated twice if it repeats throughout your content.

2. TM Alignment: Honing Translation Quality and Efficiency

One of the best ways to grow your TM for maximum effect is harvesting phrases from original translations to automate future work. Memory alignment, as the name implies, compares the translation to the source document and maps the matching phrases to create Translation Units (TUs) that can be used in future projects when the source material uses the same phrase.

Once these TUs are added to the TM, the entire translation process becomes faster and more consistent to guarantee your brand voice sounds like you intend it to and any legal compliance issues in phrasing are negated.

3. AI-enabled TM Cleanup Tools Speed the TM QA Process

While there is no match for the human eye for final checks and novel problems, machine learning is an incredible tool to take care of work that would be considered mundane for a human translator. This is especially the case when it comes to the cleanup of an existing TM or a daunting project like merging two or more existing TMs.

With AI, the machine can run hundreds and even thousands of tests comparing translations, finding duplicate entries, and flagging other troubled spots for a human to resolve. With an AI tool doing the mundane work, your translation team can concentrate on cleaning up memory issues that really make an impact on customers. And, if you will allow us a bit of shameless self-promotion, we at Chillistore have one of the most advanced proprietary AI clean-up tools in the LQA industry – and we’d love to put it to work for you.

Quick Tips for Building a Better Term Base

While nearly every company has a glossary of preferred terms, a high-performance Term Base creation and maintenance program ensures maximum consistency in communication across every business channel. This gives all teams ready access to the correct terms when building everything from metadata for SEO use, to corporate training, to customer-facing communications.

    1. Maximize Term Alignment for Clearer Communication

Just like your TM, the Term Base should be updated and aligned to keep pace with business priorities, market sensitivities, and cultural shifts. Language trend analysis can also be a real help to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of languages.

    1. Combine All the Ad Hoc Linguistic Data Repositories

If you have not used a formalized Term Base system yet, you will likely find separate teams have been creating their own ad hoc measures to streamline their workflow. Carefully analyzing and combining these resources to create one consistent Term Base can streamline everyone’s workload in the future. If this sounds intimidating, fear not, these are the kinds of workflows we have created for many clients – and we are just a contact away.

    1. Leverage Your Term Base to Create More Consistent Style Guides

Depending on business size, keeping style guides for brand voice creation and maintenance, diversity and inclusion messaging, and market- and product-specific communications can be daunting. With a solid Term Base to reference, each style guide can be targeted to the task without losing the consistency of terminology.

Need a Hand with TM and Term Base Optimization and Creation? We Can Help.

Entering a new market? In-house team strapped for time? There is no reason to go it alone when you need to create a new TM and Term Base for your team – or optimize what you have.

We can analyze your current content, work with the stakeholders and SMEs in your business, and perform all the needed linguistic data research and analysis to help you craft market- and industry-specific TMs and Term Bases. All so that you get the consistent, clear communication and high-performance business results you deserve!

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