Translation Memory Sharing
The reason for sharing memory is to enable the use of more than one vendor.
By centralising your translations, thebigword ensures the highest quality and consistent service that your consumers and regulators expect.
The reasons a client may want to do this are:
The reasons a vendor may want to do this are:
Sharing Memory Files
Memories can be shared by having a central memory file that is managed by one of the vendors or the client.
When vendor 1 receives a translation job it would download the whole memory. It would do any necessary pre-processing, then analyse the job against the downloaded memory. Likewise when vendor 2 receives a translation job it would do the same.
On completion of the translation jobs the new or changed memory units need to be cleaned into the main memory. This job should be the responsibility of one of the vendors as the main custodian of the memory, or, if the specialist resource is available, the client.
Memories can be made available through products such as Trados TM Server.
Following receipt of jobs from a client, the vendors will pre-process and analyse against the memory in the normal way, but will use the on-line memory for analysis.
Translation-ready files are passed to the translators with log-in information to access the on line memory. The translators then translate in the normal way, but instead of using a local copy or subset of the memory, they link to the full on line memory.
The memory server as above is based on a relational database and must be a high-availability system.Advantages of Memory Sharing
If managed correctly, translation units (sentences and phrases) created and managed by one vendor can be used by another vendor, reducing costs. Additionally by merging the memory resource there is no longer any duplication of memory maintenance overheads. Therefore there should be a reduction in the running costs of the memory.
There is a perception that by sharing memories on line (or otherwise) that this will make their contents available for general use, such as in the authoring process. It should be noted however that translation memory tools such as Trados are built for daily use professional translators; the software is not designed for ease of client use for this purpose.Issues
There are a number of issues that must be overcome for memory sharing to work successfully. Some of these are simple to resolve, but others pose more of a challenge.Management of Memory Server
The memory server is a highly available, highly scalable database. It requires multiple user access over the internet so has high bandwidth requirements. Such a server has a high cost of ownership. Costs to be considered for such a server are:
The running of the shared memory also places additional responsibilities on the owners of the system:
Many vendors are prepared to make such investments as above, but cost of ownership increases by third party (other vendors) having access to the server. The question of who pays for this infrastructure (and how the payment is structured) needs to be considered.
It should be noted that where there are two or more vendors working for the same client and only one pays for the shared memory infrastructure, the others are at an advantage as they are in effect getting this, very powerful, facility for free.
From the clients' perspective this potential for dispute among sub-contractors can be very damaging and detrimental to projected workflow and may require the client to take a more "hands-on" role that was originally perceived.Benefits of Using Single Supplier
By making a memory available to all vendors would seem to remove the benefit of using a single translation vendor. There are other benefits of using a single translation vendor and these are collectively far more important than that of memory access. These are such factors as:
When quality of translation is in question, it should be obvious at any time where responsibility lies. Mixing memories means mixing vendors product in one database for use at any time in any subsequent product by any vendor. Thebigword are highly cautious about taking on memories from other vendors when we take over from that vendor since bad memory units can cause more delays, quality issues and expense than if the memory was not used at all.
When a document is produced by either vendor it will, if a shared memory has been used, contain input from both vendors. If quality problems arise from this document the responsibility must lie with the vendor that delivered the document, regardless of where any individual memory units originated. This may result in higher prices with vendors taking more time to check matches over which they had no initial control.Management of Memory Units
With server based memories, there is little or not hierarchical control over translation units entering the memory. This means that any translator from any vendor can add and amend memory units without checking. Even within a single vendor, this poses a problem, but can be partially overcome with rigorous translator selection and continuous review. Taking on this role on behalf of another vendor becomes impossible.Conclusion
While memory sharing appears to be a good idea from the clients perspective by removing vendor dependence, in reality dependence on a vendor is not related to who is the custodian of the memory at any time. There are much more compelling reasons to settle on one vendor for one content type.
Where different vendors translate different content types, the sharing of memories can be evaluated, but there are many issues to be considered. In most cases, a better practice would be to keep the vendor procedures apart and pass memory files between the two periodically.
If memories are shared, one vendor (or if resources are specialist enough, the client), must take overall responsibility for the memories. If this is one of the vendors, we would recommend the other vendor should be treated as a sub contractor for process purposes.
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