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translation memory growth chart with a dollar signLet’s talk budget planning. No, really. While it seems to be a less than exciting task, you may happy to hear that there are ways to maximize your spend so that you can accomplish all your translation initiatives in the months ahead.

The reality is you’ve got more content to translate than ever, but your budget allocation isn’t growing at the same rate as your organization’s language needs. This means you need to figure out how to translate more content without having your budget burst like an uncorked bottle of champagne.

Translation memory may be the solution you need. Hopefully you’re already saving some money through this tool, but there may still be areas you can look at to help you improve your translation memory reuse.

Investigate your current usage

First, you need to know your current translation memory reuse rate so you have a benchmark to measure against.

If you already work with Sajan, we can help you gather data on this as well as your yearly spend and volume. With this information you can compare the volume and spend to your translation memory reuse over time and figure out your baseline, laying the groundwork for the next step.

Set a goal to work toward

No doubt we’d all like to achieve a 100 percent reuse rate when it comes to leveraging translation memory, but that is probably an unrealistic goal. The reality is that translation memory reuse rates differ from company to company and even department to department because many factors come into play. A lot depends on the volume of your translation efforts as well as the content types. For example, you may be able to achieve higher reuse rates if a large portion of your content is highly repetitive technical manuals as opposed to distinctively creative copy found in marketing materials.

During a formal goal-setting exercise, we can work with you to evaluate these factors and look at how they apply to your translation program so you can determine an attainable translation memory reuse goal to work toward.

Make a plan of action to achieve the goal

Once a goal is set, we can help you employ several strategies to reach it. Here are some areas to look at:

Source content

Evaluate your source content. You want to be sure it’s optimized for maximum translation memory reuse. For the best results, shoot for consistency through word choices and style used with all copy. This will result in more exact and fuzzy matches gleaned from your translation memory.

If your source content needs a tune-up, you may find it helpful to use authoring tools that actually guide your content developers as they write. It works by taking your preapproved content and applying it during the writing process so writers throughout your organization understand how certain sentences and phrases should be written. These are particularly useful for creating e-learning modules and technical manuals where content needs to conform to particular industry standards.

Creating a style guide for content development can also give writers added guidance to provide more consistency across pieces. The goal is to get everyone on the same page, writing with translation in mind. Consistent source content means more translation memory reuse—which leads to the ability to translate more content on the same budget.

Processes and technology

The larger a translation memory database is, the more content that can be matched during the translation process. If your organization works with multiple translation vendors and your translation memory isn’t centrally stored and managed within one translation management system, your whole organization misses out on significant cost savings. In this situation you reap only a portion of the translation memory benefits that could be available to you.

We can look at your overall translation process to see if centralization can help streamline your processes and enhance the effectiveness of your translation memory. In fact, we have clients that have tackled twice the volume of work while only slightly growing their budget in a given year thanks to a large, centralized translation memory and optimized processes.

Up-to-date translation memory database

Just as important as having a large translation memory database is having one that is up-to-date. At Sajan, we proactively cleanse and grow this resource as you complete projects to help you see better cost savings and quality over time. However, it’s still a good practice for you to look at this resource annually to do any required cleanup by removing any phrases, terms and copy that are no longer relevant to your organization.

Monitor progress

You’ve set your goals and implemented some new strategies, but the work doesn’t end there.

You need to regularly monitor your progress to see what’s working and what may require change. Sajan’s translation management system, Transplicity, allows for real-time access to reports so you will always know where you stand with translation memory reuse and cost savings.

Translation memory is a beautiful thing. Make sure you are maxing out its full potential.

If you’re not using translation memory or don’t know if it’s working for you, check out this article, A better translation memory: What should your company look for?

Have you used any of these strategies to see more reuse? Tell our readers which ones have been successful for your organization.