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Translation Memories

About Translation Memories :

NB : This is a theory section. You will find how to handle TMs in Wordfast below , or by clicking HERE.

Translation memories being a very important part of CATs, I will try to give a little more information on them here. You can find more data in the manual, or diverse ressources on the net.

Wordfast TMs are in tab delimited text format, and you can open them using virtually any text editor (Word, Wordpad, WordPerfect, Star Write,....), spreadsheet or database application (Excel, Works, Star Calc, Access, ...).

The TM contain the following parts :

  1. Heading
  2. Source and Target language designation
  3. Attributes
  4. Translation Units (TUs)
  5. Usage count

Heading :

The heading will, amongst other things, contain the creation data of the TM, a list of the existing attributes for the TM and the software that was used to create it (in our case, Wordfast)

Languagues :

A TM will contain the language designation of the source and target language, such as EN-US for US English, FR-FR for French (France), and so on. You will find a rather comprehensive list of these in the manual.

Attributes :

Attributes are additionnal informations added on a TM, such the User ID of the translator, the field of translation (IT, Commercial,...). Actually, language is also an attribute. Attributes in a TM are used to attach informations to the translation units. For instance, if you use a TM created by some else, you will be able to differenciate your translations from those of other translator(s), and translations belonging to a different field then the one you are working with. Say you are translating IT, and the TM you are using contain Marketing translations. The two fields being different, you might be interested to differenciate them.

Translation Units :

Translation Units (TUs) are simply source segments, followed by the target segments (translations), each being introduced by the appropriate language designations, with the date of creation, attributes and usage count.

IE :

Date User ID Usage# Srce lang. Source Seg Tgt L Target Segment At Attrib.
20020713~194241 SG 0 EN-US This is a sentence. FR-FR Ceci est une phrase. IT TEST

Usage Count :

Usage count is a number that represent the number of times a translation unit was re-used. ("0" in the example above). This is very interesting to determine the value of a translation unit. If a translation unit is re-used (meaning it was presented as a match and was approved) often, it is a very valuable one. On the other end, a translation unit that you do not re-use is of little value.

Handling TMs in Wordfast

We have seen earlier how to create and open TM, using the Wordfast Dialog, Translation memory, "files" tab.

On the files tab, there is one more button we have not covered so far : The "Export TM" button. Probably the easiest function. You click on it and Wordfast automatically generate a TM in "*.tmx" format, which can be used with most CATs on the market.






The next tab is called "Service". These options will allow you to re-organize your TM, merge your current TM with an other one, or reverse it. Each function is clearly explained on the right side of each button.







The next tab is named "Compress". I strongly advise you read the manual's section before using this function. The ideas is that you may not interested in TUs matching certain criterias (For instance, TU that were never re-used) and this function allows you to remove any such entries. TMs have a tendency to grow large, but you might not be interested having thousands of segments which have never been of any use in your project and are not likely to reproduce themselves. You can also delete all TUs from a specific user. Every once in a while you will find in a TM that one of the translators was not competent, or did a brush off, and you would like his TUs to be deleted from the TM.

Then, we move onto "Attributes". Refer yourself to the definition above. You can add a set of sample attributes by clicking on "Sample". The column on the left specify the type of the attribute. It is greyed out but CAN be written in. Simply put the cursor inside the field and select a type of attribute. The first attribute is "User ID" and it contains you user name. Clicking on "Clear" will remove all attributes, but one, the User ID.

On the right columns are the attributes proper. To create attributes, press the "Insert" Key. To edit an attribute, press "Enter". "Delete" will delete the selected attribute, after a warning message.

On the bottom left, you will find a check box marqued "Enable penalties". When this function is enabled, you will be able to select specific attributes and lower their match level by whatever penality you would like to apply. Once again, this is clearly explained in wordfast.doc;

The last tab, TM rules, is important especially when proofreading your documents. This will determine what happens to the 100% matches when you correct them. Do your corrections replace the current TU in the TM, do you add a TU, or do you leave the existing TU unchanged

See wordfast.doc for more informations.







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