Everything you need to know about translation memories

I talk to a lot of different companies looking to change the way they translate their content. I love these conversations because

A) I’m a bit of a translation nerd 👩‍💻

B) They teach us so much about the varied decisions—sometimes poles apart—that different people make to optimize their content processes.

Always eye-opening, these exchanges are one of the reasons I love what I do.

While many companies choose to entrust these considerations to a Language Service Provider (LSP), it’s worth taking the time to study your options.

During the translation process, any LSP worth their salt uses your content to build a translation memory (TM). This makes it possible to reuse translated units of content that have already come up in past projects, making the translation workflow more efficient for the LSP—but could it also help you?

Translation memories are very clever tools. They can be used to show if a new sentence or unit of content has been translated in a past project, distinguishing between similar and identical matches, and even reporting if the content appears in the same context as before.

Providing access to all of your past projects, a translation memory can help you achieve a consistent tone of voice across all your translated content, even if your translators change on a regular basis. Likewise, your over-time translation teams will be more efficient and process your content faster.

Built from your own content, a translation memory can grow into a valuable asset over the course of a few years.

It may even have additional uses—if, for example, you want to launch a new translation project with slightly different content but similar requirements to your initial project, you can include the original translation memory in your new project to improve on translation accuracy, TOV and speed.

Your translation memory could also prove useful if you are interested in exploring machine translation (MT). Off-the-shelf machine translation tools can be a little hit-and-miss but with a solid translation memory, you can train a machine translation engine to produce better results tailored to your content. With the right approach, a customized machine translation engine can deliver similar levels of accuracy to those of a senior translator. Enabling lightning-speed translations, machine translation can halve your translation process, only requiring a human translator to step in for post-editing.


Machine translation may seem scary but done right, it could save you time and money without your customers even noticing the difference—especially when the translation engine you use is based on your own content via a translation memory.

Ask your language service provider if they work with translation memories—you may already have one, and it could make a big difference for your future projects.

To find out more about how to achieve accurate machine translation results using your translation memory, drop us an email at welcome@wezen.com or book in a 15-minute chat at the following link: https://calendar.app.google/ChPVikxJC3FNXqbu5.