Using translation memories

A translation memory (TM) is a database of human translations. As you translate new sentences, we automatically search all available translation memories for previous translations similar to your new sentence. If such sentences exist, we rank and then show them to you. Comparing your translation to previous human translations improves consistency and saves you time: you can reuse previous translations or adjust them to create new, more contextually appropriate translations. When you finish translating documents in Google Translator Toolkit, we save your translations to a translation memory so you or other translators can avoid duplicating work.

By default, we save your translations to a shared, publicly searchable translation memory. By contributing your translations to this public translation memory, you help other users bring content more quickly into your language.

Primary translation memories

Some translators, may not want to save their translations to a publicly searchable translation memory. In such cases, you can associate a translation memory with a translation by following these steps:

Sharing

  1. When creating a new translation, click Sharing.
  2. Type the name of the translation memory where you want to save the translations. If you have no access to translation memories, you can create a new translation memory.
  3. Click Save.

If you make a mistake and need to add or change the TM associated with an incomplete translation, you can change the TM association by following these steps:

  1. Open the translation in the translation edit page.
  2. From the Edit drop-down, click Edit properties.
  3. Select the translation memory where you want to save the translations. If you have no access to translation memories, you can create a new translation memory.
  4. Click OK

Note that custom translation memories are not supported for Wikipedia™ and Knol. Since content in those sites are meant to be shared and published, translators can only save Wikipedia™ and Knol translations to our global, shared TM.

Search ranking and translation memories

We search and rank translations as follows:

  • All else being equal, primary TM search results trump collaborative TM search results. Similarly, collaborative TM search results trump general TM results.
  • If a translation has an associated, primary TM, we search that TM first for previous translations of your sentences.
  • If we don't have enough relevant results from the primary TM, we search all TMs to which you have access through collaboration.
  • If we still don't have enough relevant results from the primary and collaborative TMs, we search the general, shared TM.