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Cut translation costs with a Translation Memory System

Topics: Process Optimization

Technical documentation, such as user manuals or operating manuals, are not only translated into European languages, but many more languages for the world market. That is why the costs for translations can easily reach unexpected dimensions.

Technical writers can control the cost of translating their texts. 

If editors describe the same instructions, background information or safety notes differently, this way of working increases translation costs. This is because these recurring text parts are then translated again. Different number formats, spaces, tabs and line breaks are also relevant. Therefore, make sure that your source texts are well-structured and consistent: This includes short and clear sentences. Eliminate internal jargon. Perform proofreading before approving the documents and sending them to the translation service provider. Ensure consistency.

An editing guide can also help reduce translation costs. Does your company have spelling rules for names and products? Do you have rules for structure and tone in your documentation and other corporate texts? Summarize these rules in a document and make them available to the translation service provider. 

A professional, modular approach and consistent writing will minimize the number of documents that need to be translated. It also reduces the number of sentences to be translated.

If the source text is very well prepared, it helps to use a Translation Memory System (TMS) helps with the implementation.

What is a translation memory system?

A TMS is a database in which texts are stored both in the source and in the target language. It consits of an editor, with which the translators work, a terminology management system and a storage.

A TMS recognizes duplicates

As soon as a complete senctence is imported into the TMS for translation, the system checks if the same sentence has already been translated before. The TMS recognizes the sentence and proposes the existing translation to the translator. The translator has the chance to accept the existing translation and consequently save working time. An automatic integration of already translated texts into a target document is possible in several TMS, but we do not recommend this. Nevertheless, translation costs can be cut significantly by creating consistent texts.

A TMS shows terminology

In the same way, the TMS also recognizes, if texts contain terminology that has already been translated. If a sentence imported into the TMS and there exists a terminology entry for a term, the system displays the terminology entry and the translation into the target language. That way, the translator is able to translate the sentence without having to research the correct translation of technical terms, and without being in danger of using an unwanted synonym.

This is how you cut translation costs for technical documentation:

  • Consistent language during text creation means that texts with the same content have to be translated only once.
  • Systematic terminology work guarantees consistent language and less research time.
  • Instructions without or with only little text.