Translation Memory - a new one for every job?
Thread poster: B Honeywell

B Honeywell
United Kingdom
Local time: 19:57
English to French
+ ...
Oct 15, 2007


I'm just starting to use Trados 6.5 and I originally presumed I would only use 1 TM with the benefit being that if any sentences from any previous translations appeared in new texts then that would make my job easier.

After reading this forum I've realised that people have many TM's, does this not defeat the object slightly?

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Fabio Descalzi  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:57
Member (2004)
German to Spanish
+ ...
That is a personal option Oct 15, 2007

There are people who indeed use one TM for everything (of course, if we are talking about the very same language pair).
Others prefer to have one TM for every new project.
In my opinion, it is not always wise to plainly have one TM for absolutely everything. Especially since there are clients that prefer a very particular text style, or this or that terminology.

A mid-of-the-road solution would be: start every new project with a brand-new TM, yes; but import contents from other related TMs, to help you keep consistency.

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Marcelo Silveyra
United States
Local time: 12:57
Member (2007)
German to English
+ ...
Another middle-of-the-road solution Oct 15, 2007

After reading this forum I've realised that people have many TM's, does this not defeat the object slightly?

Not necessarily. TM's are often used to provide consistency for a regular client, so you normally use the same TM for the same client, unless the projects are in completely different fields and you want to use two different TMs (or three, or four, and so on).

You can use the same TM for literally everything, but I've seen many people recommend against it. Why? Well, the TM could get unwieldy after a while (I'm sure there's a limit somewhere), and if you somehow lose it permanently, you've basically lost every segment for every single project you've ever done. You'll probably drink yourself to death if that ever happens, and we wouldn't want that, now would we?

Anyway, I digress. Here's my solution: keep the same TMs for the same clients (unless the client is an agency, in which case you'll probably have to create separate TMs according to subject or end client) AND build up your own glossaries (Excel spreadsheets are a good way to start). I recently opened a forum thread asking for terminology (glossary) management software recommendations, so you might want to look that up as well.

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Ilona Kangro  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:57
Member (2006)
Latvian to English
+ ...
Topic classification Oct 15, 2007

If a client does not require a separate TM, I use a separate TM for individual ongoing projects or permanent clients, as other colleagues already suggested, OR create topic-based TMs. e.g. TM for all medical texts, TM for all contracts, TM for all general business and economics texts, etc. in the respective language combination. I've also noticed that it is usefule to create a separate TM for a reversed language combination (e.g. one for EN into FR, another for FR into EN).

I would definitely advise against creating one TM for everything, because any software/tool that is too bulky will cause various glitches sooner or later. Besides, imagine that your TM is a wardrobe with multiple drawers. Why stuff everything in one single drawer, where you eventually cannot find anything and which gets stuck every time you want to close it, instead of arranging all items in separate drawers according to their size, purpose, etc?

Good luck! TM is a genuinely invaluable tool.


[Rediģēts plkst. 2007-10-15 13:04]

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 20:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
One TM per client or legal dispute Oct 15, 2007

I generally use one TM per client, with a few exceptions:

If a client regularly sends me documents for translation on two or three different (but regularly occurring) - unrelated - topics, I keep a TM for each one.

In the case of lawyers, I keep one TM per lawsuit.


Reading Ilona's post, I realise that I also have a couple of TMs for particular topics, regardless of where the work comes from, e.g. I have one for CVs and references.

[Edited at 2007-10-15 13:25]

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Doron Greenspan MITI  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:57
Member (2005)
English to Hebrew
+ ...
The lesser the better, but not much... Oct 15, 2007

I agree with Ilona who tries to keep her TMs according to field - this is great, but gets you into trouble with different clients having different styles.

So, this is what I do, as well as keep some client TMs for ongoing projects (e.g. financial reports produced by same firm).

My advice is different:
The secret to not having a messy wardrobe (to use Ilona's great example) is tidying it ocassionally. So from time to time (every couple of months or so) I look at my TMs, and check which ones can be combined into a new, field-specific one, or thrown out altogether. So I keep them organized without having to worry which of the TMs is going to fit the new project I got.

Good luck, Doron

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