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Translation Tips: Machine Translation and Translation Memory

Medical Pharmaceutical Translations • Jul 10, 2014 12:00:00 AM

This ongoing series will provide succinct guidance to buyers of translation services.


It is hard to resist….Free, online immediate translation.  The fact of the matter is that, when used appropriately, machine translation has a role to play.  But that role is highly limited in technical translation and in an industry where accuracy is often a matter of life or death.  Do you want to know what one isolated word means?  Go ahead and use an online translator—but if you want to capture context, machine translation is still quite behind.  In healthcare marketing, machine translation will always be hard pressed to capture the cultural messaging.  That said, technology can be used in a different way to capture savings.


Translation memory (TM) is a type of software that stores translations for strings of language.  Over time, these repositories of previously-translated sentences and words can grow to be quite an asset.  In medical marketing, many statements are used over and over again in different pieces.  Working with a provider that uses a TM will allow you to avoid paying full price for copy that has already been translated.

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