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External Translation Memory Policy

This post discusses Velior’s policy on the translation memories created by someone else. It applies to the situations where a translation job comes together with an existing TM, i.e. another translator worked on it previously, and it is new to us. In such cases, we prefer to calculate all words as new despite the TM leverage, or at least increase the standard 100% and fuzzy match rate. Here is why:

  1. Most importantly, we cannot be sure about the quality of the existing translations. This represents a risk of spending uncompensated time on reviewing and correcting them. We cannot afford to take such risk free-of-charge.
  2. Our opinion of the external TMs is largely influenced by Velior’s internal quality policy. For example, in our own work, we minimize the risk of mistranslations and omissions by using an independent editor in each job and eliminate the risk of terminology inconsistency through an automated QA. Because of this policy, we expect the same level of quality from the external TMs, and where they fail to meet these expectations, we have to spend additional time on editing them.
  3. While considering a job involving an external TM, you also need to evaluate the TM quality. This means spending additional uncompensated time. If the job is assigned to us after all, I don’t have any objection to this. If the job is however placed somewhere else, I personally feel disappointed because of the time wasted in such an unproductive way. Reading someone else’s irrelevant old translations, that is.
  4. Whenever you re-use a fuzzy match in a new segment, you have to review or at least read the existing portion of the translation. The typical TM-related rates are however geared towards paying for translating the new text only. With the external TMs, the effort invested in reviewing the existing portion is therefore either not compensated at all or compensated only partially.
  5. If you encounter any inconsistency issues in the provided TM, you have to check the entire current job for such issues, including the 100% matches. This additional work is not covered by the typical TM-related rates. Simply put, you are paid to only review the existing translations briefly, but not to correct any errors. The provided TM is naturally expected to be correct, otherwise why provide it all?
  6. Quite a few external TMs we worked with included translations that were completely unusable due to the technical issues such as a wrong encoding, damaged special characters, or incorrectly aligned translations (probably aligned by a non-native speaker). Such problems normally don’t surface until you delve deeper into the TM in the course of translation—already after accepting the job. You end up re-translating them at your expense.
  7. The writing style used in the previous translations is often different from your own, but you are expected to follow that style to maintain consistency. This normally requires an additional effort, e.g. you need to specifically check that you did not use your own style unconsciously. Again, this is not compensated by the standard TM-related rates.

If you do not want to run into the problem of subpar existing translations, work with Russian translation professionals.

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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.