A Mixed-methods Study of Consistency in Translation Memories

TitleA Mixed-methods Study of Consistency in Translation Memories
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsMoorkens, J
JournalLocalisation Focus - The International Journal of Localisation
Keywordsconsistency, fuzzy matches, localisation, mixed methods, quality, terminology, Translation memory

Translation Memory (TM) has become widely-used since the early 1990s, its use based on several assumptions: that it saves time, provides cost savings, and maximises consistency. The purpose of this research is to develop a method for measuring consistency in TMs, and to use this method to interrogate English-to-German and Englishto-Japanese TMs from the localisation industry in order to find out whether the use of TM tools does, in fact, promote consistency in translation.

The research uses an explanatory mixed-methods approach. In the quantitative phase, translation units are categorised based on whether the TM-based translation process had introduced consistency or inconsistency. The research found inconsistencies of letter case, spacing, and punctuation in source texts, and inconsistent terminology, formatting, and punctuation in target texts. In a follow-on qualitative phase, thirteen interviews were conducted with translators and others with experience of TMs who confirmed that the findings from the quantitative phase corresponded with their experiences.

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