Technology & Translation: The Meanings of TM, TMS, and TMM
Translation technology has come a long way from a simple translating device. Today, advanced technology translation systems are in place, and Language Service Providers (LSPs) use various innovative tools to serve their international clients. These technology translator tools increase efficiency by saving translators time, thereby saving clients money. Technology translations also achieve consistency and more high-quality results.
Even for people within the industry, it can be challenging to understand the differences between translation technologies. The names of different software types are similar, and the abbreviations are often identical. This article will review the commonly referenced translation technology terms. This should help you gain insight into the tools offered by your chosen agency!
Technology’s Translation Memory Software (TMS)
Commonly abbreviated to TMS, translation memory software examines the source text and looks for matching phrases from previously translated documents. It then pulls translations of these phrases and suggests “matching candidates”. Your technology translator can then select to use or reject the proposed translation match offered by the translating device software.
The programme can also search for “fuzzy matches”. A fuzzy match is when nearly all the words in the source document match or are close to a phrase already in the database. In this case, the programme might return a closely matching phrase for the translator to consider using. This is useful for all translations, but especially for legal, engineering, medical or information technology translations requiring precise industry-specific terminology.
If the programme cannot find a match for a phrase or segment of the document, then the translator translates that portion manually. This is when native-speaking experienced translators significantly outmatch technology. Even when compared to the best technology, translator services performed by humans are superior.
Terminology Management (TM) and Translation Memory (TM)
Terminology management (TM) and translation memory (TM) refer to the storage component of the TMS translating device software described above. They essentially act as a database for the terminology used in previous translation projects. Using this technology, translators can search for specific terms using the database or pull up matches automatically using the TMS.
Both terminology management and translation memory are particularly helpful with industry-specific terms, making technology translations or financial translations with sector-specific jargon simple. It also helps with collaboration and ensures consistency with multiple translators working on the same project. They can apply specific vocabulary throughout the project or future projects.
The main difference between terminology management and translation memory is what they store. Translation memories store phrases, sentences, and even paragraphs. However, it does not store specific words – that is the function of terminology management software. As terminology management software stores terms, you may also hear it referred to as a termbase.
Translation Memory System (TMS) or Translation Memory Managers (TMM)
Now is where the rise of many technology translation tools and software becomes confusing! Like translation memory software, a translation memory system is also abbreviated to TMS. A translation memory system is also commonly referred to as a translation memory manager or TMM. For simplicity, we will be using the TMM abbreviation in this article.
A TMM is where you can manage your translation memory software, translation memories, and terminology management systems. You can create new translation memories, edit existing phrases stored in the database, and update language based on your client’s preferences. You can also align documents written in other languages and store the entire text in your TM.
The TMM essentially takes your translating device software and makes it as efficient and optimised as possible. Doing so helps to streamline processes for your technology translator further. They become quicker and more efficient, working to tighter turnarounds and offering more competitive pricing.
Technology’s Translation Management System (TMS)
You might run into the phrase translation management system (TMS), another concept altogether. A translation management system is a programme or group of programmes that aim to automate many parts of the language translation process. The translating device systems also help monitor workflow and facilitate collaboration among translators working on the same project.
In short, a translation management system is an all-in-one solution for some translation agencies. It supports complex translation tasks, including workflow management, translation memory management, terminology management, reporting and machine translation. They help technology translators collaborate, streamline processes, and produce accurate results.
As with all technologies, there are some drawbacks to using these technology translations software and management systems. The most significant drawback is “error propagation;” if a word or phrase is translated incorrectly initially, the mistranslated phrase may be repeated, exaggerating the error. However, the associated benefits far outweigh any drawbacks.
Renaissance Translations’ Use of Technology
Technology translation tools continue to become more commonplace and necessary for the success of many translation firms. As you can see, many of these concepts use the same acronyms. If you see one in something you are reading, ensure that it is clear which translating device software or concept is actually being referenced.
At Renaissance Translations, we have become partners in the Trados LSP Partner Programme. This means that our linguists handle and manage all your projects using SDL translation software to ensure your project is accurate and uses consistent terminology.