Questions about the difference between Machine Translators and Translation Assistance Software are very frequent and have certainly crossed your mind. But what is the difference between these two resources? Read this content and understand more about this subject!

What are Machine Translators?

Automatic translation is when you use tools to automatically change the language of a given text. Thus, it is possible to avoid having to translate word by word.

It is a form of translation that can be very useful at times when it is necessary to quickly translate short and unique sentences. Or for the translation of texts that you do not need or do not intend to read completely, because it is possible to understand the general message of the material.

Furthermore, it can be carried out using online translators such as the famous Google Translate.

What are Translation Assistance Software?

Translation assistance software are systems developed to make the translation process more agile and ensure terminological consistency. Known by the acronym CTA — Computer-Assisted or Computer-Aided Translation tools, unlike automatic translators, they do not perform the translation in an automated manner.

In short, they work as follows: as the translation of a customer’s document is conducted, the program generates a database with the translations that had already been completed and, as such, the more translations are inserted, the more information goes into the database. Translation companies often call these databases a “translation memory”, which are nothing more than files that store the work that has already been done, organizing the segments and containing the original text and the translation performed.

The greatest advantage of this practice is undoubtedly the gain in productivity, the final quality and the deadlines that can often be even reduced.

Therefore, automatic translation can even be used as an assistance resource in some cases, but there will always be a need to rely on a translation company to translate the most varied texts/documents. This includes not only the translation itself, but also the revision of the material.

A ‘translation memory’ (TM) is a database that stores “segments”. These segments can be previously translated phrases, paragraphs or textual units (headers, titles or elements in a list), which serve to assist translators. Translation memory stores the source text and its corresponding translation in language pairs called “translation units”. Individual words are processed on a terminological basis and are not within the scope of the TM.
Software programs that use translation memories are often known as translation memory managers (TMM).
Translation memories are typically used with a specific computer-assisted translation tool (CAT Tool), word processing programs, terminology management systems, multilingual dictionaries, or even raw automatic translation results .
Research indicates that many companies that work with multilingual documentation use translation memory systems. In a survey with language professionals in 2006, 82.5% of the 874 participants said they used a TM.

What are the main benefits of Translation Software?

Translation memory managers are best suited for translating technical documentation and documents that contain specialized vocabularies. Benefits include:
• Ensuring that the document is fully translated (translation memories do not accept untranslated target segments);
• Ensuring that translated documents are consistent, including common definitions, expressions and terminologies. This is important when different translators work on a single project;
• Enabling translators to translate documents in a wide variety of formats without the need to have the software required to process these formats;
• Accelerating the total translation process; once translation memories retrieve previously translated material, translators have to translate it only once;
• Reducing the costs of long-term projects;
• For large projects, the savings (in time and money) thanks to the use of a TM already become noticeable in the first translation of a new project. But typically such cost reductions are only visible during the translation of subsequent versions of a previously translated project using translation memory.

What are the main obstacles faced with the help of Translation Software?

The main obstacles preventing greater use of Translation Memory Managers are:
01. The concept of “Translation Memories” is based on the premise that phrases used in previous translations can be “recycled”. However, a guiding principle of translation suggests that the translator should translate the message of the text and not the sentences of which it is composed;

02. Translation Memory Managers do not easily fit into existing translation or localization processes. For better use of TM technology, translation processes must be restructured;

03. Full versions of translation memory manager programs can cost between $500 and $2,500 per license, which represents a large investment, although there are lower-cost versions. However, some companies provide free or low-cost versions of their programs so that autonomous translators can work on projects created with full versions of these programs, although with reduced functions. There is free TM software, but none of them have achieved a large market share;

04. The quality of the text recorded in the translation memory is not guaranteed if the translation for a certain segment is incorrect. There is a high probability that the incorrect translation will be reused the next time the source text or a similar text is translated, thus perpetuating the error;

05. There is also a potential and, if present, probably unconscious effect on the translated text. Different languages use different sequences for the logical elements in the sentence and a translator who is faced with partially translated compound sentences will have less chance of reconstructing them completely;

06. Finally, there is a potential risk of the translator handling the text mechanically, phrase by phrase, instead of focusing on how each phrase is related to the others and the text in its entirety.

Global Languages ensures the combination of the agility of translation memories with the use of human labor with a fundamental role in the refinement of the text to be published, thereby making the use of translation memory a major ally in large-scale projects with worldwide release. For each project we carefully select linguists based on their knowledge of the language, area of expertise and target audience. Once the translation is prepared, the editor reviews and refines the work in order to ensure that the target language expresses the originally written text. The reviewer evaluates it again, approving and delivering it to the project manager so that the work can be finalized.

Count on Global Languages to do so, contact us now and request your quick quote!