The difference between translation memory and termbase
Thread poster: hohun
English to French
Sep 16, 2006

Good morning,

I am new to Trados (I am trying the demo version) and I am trying to understand the difference between a termbase and a translation memory.

I am quite aware that a termbase is a glossary which, if I understand well what I found on the internet, is created with Multiterm. But then, what is the use of the translation memory that one can create with Translator's Workbench ? It seems useless to me, since the termbase already has the words and definitions.

Would anyone explain to me what it is used for ?


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 01:06
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Translation memory: good for recurring / large jobs Sep 17, 2006

You'll pretty soon understand how useful translation memories are when you land a very large job full of repetitions. Here, it's not about isolated terms (MultiTerm's termbase does a pretty good job in that area), but about full sentences.

If you translate it once, you won't have to think hard to remember nor go looking for exactly what you used before. The translation memory will remember it for you and allow you to deliver a consistent and more professional job, while saving you a lot of trouble and headaches.

[Edited at 2006-09-17 05:19]

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Peter Linton  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:06
Member (2002)
Swedish to English
+ ...
Three facilities Sep 17, 2006

At the risk of over-simplifying, Trados has three facilities, generally best suited to sentences, phrases or words respectively.

Translation Memory (TM) is a database of sentences, and as Rafa points out, it will remember your sentences, and offer the same or a similar sentence next time it occurs. If you have ever had a feeling of déja vu when translating, you will understand the appeal of Trados, not to mention a competitive product with an apt name, Déja Vu.

Concordance allows you to see words or phrases in context. So although the sentences may be very different, you can see how that word or phrase has previously been used, and in its context to enable you to judge whether it fits or not. Some people find this the single most useful facility in Trados.

MultiTerm is as you suggest, for glossaries, and is best for words or possibly short phrases. It is easy to paste words into your text, and to add new words in flight.

In short, there are three powerful facilities, and it takes time and effort to learn their pros and cons.

I would add a fourth facility -- the display. By focusing attention on the current sentence in separate source and target boxes, it is much easier to get a clear overview of the sentence -- a big advantage compared to traditional methods of over-writing the source document, or writing in a separate target document. Not unique to Trados, but a big advantage of all TMs.

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English to French
Thank you Sep 17, 2006

Thanks to both of you, I will try the translation memory at once

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The difference between translation memory and termbase

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