Unlocking the ‘Power of Three’ in your CAT tool

Combining translators’ skills with translation memory, machine translation and terminology management in one CAT tool makes a winning formula for in-house translation teams.

I was recently talking to a translation manager about how SDL Trados Studio could help her small in-house translation team to cope with the steady increase in demand they've been seeing from their company for years now.
She knew about translation memories and how fundamental they are to improving efficiency. But with the type of translation her company is doing, they'll probably often find themselves with a good 50% of a given project untouched by translation memory matches. I mentioned that this is why Studio now has integrated neural machine translation — it's a great way to kickstart any translation that has limited translation memory matches, with quality that has advanced in leaps and bounds in recent years, compared with earlier forms of machine translation.

Translation memory or machine translation? Why not use both?

The idea of using translation memory and machine translation in tandem really surprised and excited her as she saw them as two entirely different and separate approaches, each with its own use cases. It hadn't occurred to her that in situations where neither is optimal on its own, combining the two can really save time in delivering a quality translation. The needs of her marketing department, with some level of content re-use but not an overwhelming amount, would make a perfect use case.

Adding terminology management to the mix

As we delved into some of her typical translation projects, it soon became clear that terminology management is also an issue, with the company's brand team keeping a close eye on the proper use of product-related language and messaging. When I explained about how they could import their Excel glossaries in to a termbase and get more sophisticated with terminology management, it was like watching the proverbial kid in a candy store. 

I was a bit surprised by her reaction, because termbase matching has been an integral computer-assisted translation (CAT) capability from the start — or certainly from the very beginnings of what today is SDL Trados Studio. But it's certainly true that the sophistication of this integration has come a long way, and today it's easier than ever to add, say, a post-edited machine translation suggestion to a termbase with commentary about its use.

The power of three helps in-house translation teams meet growing demand

While there certainly are scenarios where machine translation makes sense on its own, and situations where all you need is your translation memory, most businesses will find many use cases for combining the two — and adding a well-managed termbase to the mix. It doesn't matter if you translate in-house, outsource to a language service provider (LSP), or do both: utilizing the power of these three technologies through a single CAT tool, such as SDL Trados Studio, will deliver great value for money and consistent, high quality translations. 

To find out more, take a look at our eBook, How In-House Translation Teams Can Meet Growing Demand. Besides explaining how you can make the most of the power of three, it also explains what each technology is in itself. It's a great introduction for any in-house translation team wanting to do more with limited resources.