Providing TMs to other translators/agencies
Thread poster: Katrien De Clercq

Katrien De Clercq  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Member (2006)
French to Dutch
+ ...
Apr 17, 2012

Hi, I just wanted to post a topic on the use of TMs. It's not the first time that for a certain client I don't have the time to do a translation. They have to find another solution and therefore are asking me to send my TM so that they can contact another translator. I don't want to do that, because it's work from years that is given away like that to someone else! That's an easy way to make money. Certainly we are not obliged to give our TMs? What is your experience with this?


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Several possible scenarios Apr 17, 2012

I think the problem lies in the all too widespread practice of mixing it all in one memory or a small set of memories. If you don't keep separate memories for each of your customers, this practice could get you in trouble in this kind of situation (as well as in other situations, of course).

Clearly you cannot give a customer your memory if it contains a mix of their jobs and jobs for other customers. Full stop.

Now, if you keep a separate memory for each customer, the situation can be two-fold:

A) if the jobs you have been doing for the customer implied the delivery of bilingual files (TTX, SDLXLIFF, other bilingual files), they already have the memory, and they can eventually make a memory from the bilingual files, so there is little use in resisting to the delivery of the memory; and

B) if they only required the translated text and no arrangement made as to the use of a translation memory, you are entitled to keep the memory since it was your decision to make and maintain one, and memory maintenance takes time and costs money (licenses, bigger hardware investment, etc.).

If you are in situation B, you have two options:
1) Keep your memory and let them do the work of aligning all previous translations to make their own memory. This could create discomfort with the customer since they would feel that you are not very cooperative.

2) You can explain to them that no arrangement whatsoever was made as to memories, and therefore the memory fully belongs to you, and that you are willing to sell it to them at a reasonable price. To me, a reasonable price is the equivalent of the cost of making a new memory by alignment. If they could need 8 hours of alignment work to make a memory, then 8 hours at your usual rate.

All this said, if you don't feel happy about giving the memory and would very much prefer to keep it, that is what you should do, since you are your own master. Regretting past actions is something you can easily avoid by being consistent with your ideas.


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not much to add Apr 17, 2012

Tomás has summed it up nicely.

Personally, I would refuse politely, as I am very wary of giving my TMs or glossaries to anyone (especially agencies) other than close direct friends/colleagues I trust completely.

I do keep a specific TM for each my direct clients, with occasional overlap if they are in the same field. However, apart from anything else, I don't consider them definitive and I might revisit them to modify or tweak some of the terms (for example years ago I was translating "punto operacional" as "operational point" for a couple of weeks until I found out that it was incorrect)

In general, don't feel comfortable with "cloud" computing or online file-sharing networks either.

[Edited at 2012-04-17 09:49 GMT]


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