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Localisation Focus

The International Journal of Localisation

Localisation Focus–The International Journal of Localisation provides a forum for localisation professionals and researchers to discuss and present their localisation-related work, covering all aspects of this multi-disciplinary field, including software engineering and HCI, tools and technology development, cultural aspects, translation studies, human language technologies (including machine and machine assisted translation), project management, workflow and process automation, education and training, and details of new developments in the localisation industry. Proposed contributions are peer-reviewed thereby ensuring a high standard of published material. Localisation Focus–The International Journal of Localisation is distributed worldwide to libraries and localisation professionals, including engineers, managers, trainers, linguists, researchers and students. Indexed on a number of databases, this journal affords contributors increased recognition for their work. Localisation-related articles, book reviews, perspectives, insights and correspondence are all welcome.

Productivity vs Quality? A pilot study on the impact of translation memory systems

Volume 4 Issue 1


Author: Lynne Bowker


Translators working in the localisation industry are faced with the task of producing high-quality translations in a very short turnaround time. One way in which they are trying to balance these goals is by using translation technology to help. One of the most popular translation technology tools available is the translation memory (TM). TMs are often promoted as tools that can help translators to improve their productivity, but less is known about the impact that the use of such tools can have on the quality of the translation. This article investigates the impact of TMs on both speed and quality by presenting the results of a pilot study in which three groups of student translators were asked to translate the same text. Translators in Group A did not use a TM, and while their translations were of relatively high quality, they took longer to produce. Translators in Group B used an “unadulterated” TM, and they were able to translate more quickly, but there were some minor concerns with the quality of their work. Translators in Group C used a TM that had been deliberately “seeded” with a number of translation errors, and while they were able to work quickly, the quality of their translations was lower than that of the other two groups. The results of this small experiment seem to indicate that, when faced with the pressure to translate quickly, translators using TMs may not be critical enough of the proposals offered by the system. This in turn indicates a definite need for proper training in the appropriate use of translation technology.

Keywords: Translation Memory, Quality, Productivity, Pilot study

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