A translation memory
is an electronic database holding segments of text and their translation into another language. Use of these memories in translation projects entails at least two conditions:
1. the memory must contain only high-quality professional translations; and
2. must be used in projects involving a field that is similar or identical to the one for which the memory was created.
Translation memories are particularly suited:
1. When there are repeated translations of sentences, terms or groups of words (in the same text or with respect to a previously translated text – characteristic of updates of a document or of a Web site). Use of translation memories in this case provides the required homogeneity between versions; and
2. When there are voluminous texts to be translated, where use of translation memories ensure cohesive terminology.
Regardless, translation memories are not used in an automatic manner: The translator pays close attention to the data recovered. The professional translator is always responsible for determining if the translation proposed by the translation memory suits the context. This requires careful reading of the original text and the translation proposed by the database.