Technical resources used by our translators

When working on the projects you have entrusted to us, Ubiqus’s teams of translators make use of continuously evolving translation tools.

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  • Computer Assisted Translation (CAT)
One of the key aspects of our activity is to produce a text in the target language while calling on reliable technical support in the form of purpose-designed software. In this context, a translation memory is systematically created by our teams for each new language combination. This memory is then expanded as additional projects for a given customer are processed, enabling us to identify the terms and expressions already translated in the past so as to ensure greater consistency across all documents for that customer.

Despite these tools, however, the translator remains the key figure in the translation process and it is him or her, and not a machine, who does the actual translating. For this reason, one should never think that this work method is the same as machine translation, like Google Translate, which cannot deliver professional and reliable work and the product of which cannot be published without further editing.

  • What is a translation memory (TM)?
A TM is a database consisting of segments (generally entire sentences) from one or more source texts and the equivalent sentences in the target language. It is created in the initial phase of a project, or when Ubiqus starts working with a customer, and is gradually expanded as new documents are processed. When a text to be translated includes a segment which has already been translated in a certain manner in the past, or a relatively similar segment, the TM informs the translator and suggests a match in the target language. After having checked the match, the translator can either use the translation as-is or change it to suit the context in which the match appeared. TMs are very useful, but the translator must be careful and pay close attention to every detail because his or her work first and foremost requires a human approach to address a specific group of people effectively.

Translation memories offer the additional advantage of enabling an analysis of each project before it is actually carried out. Among other statistical data, the software reports the number of repetitions present in a project as well as any matches extracted from previous projects. These repetitions can then have an impact on the price offer for the project as a whole.

It must nevertheless be pointed out that translation memories cannot be leveraged for all types of texts. An editorial, for example, will generally be translated without a CAT tool because it primarily calls on the translator’s creative writing skills. On the other hand, a user guide or very factual document is likely to contain enough repetitions or matches from previously translated documents to justify the use of such a tool.

  • Glossaries
To ensure consistent use of sector-specific and company-specific terminology across projects, translator teams create glossaries, for example in the form of a vocabulary list in an Excel sheet. These lists are generally created for each specialised field and language, and may be submitted to customers for validation at the beginning of the professional relationship. Once this has been done, the translators consult the glossaries to ensure that the terms in question are used in a consistent and correct manner from one translation to the next. Glossaries are of course expanded as work with the customer continues and feedback is received on translations that are delivered over the course of time.

As described above, tools such as translation memories, software and glossaries are often very useful for translators as they provide immediate access to terms and expressions already validated within the framework of previous projects or other work done for the customer. They are valuable aids in several ways and in particular offer the advantage of greater consistency across translated texts, sometimes also generating time savings. However, they remain tools and they cannot replace a competent translator, who is a professional in written communication bridging the gap between people from different cultures.