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It’s all about words

Translators quote based on the number of words a document contains. Indeed, say you need a 20-page file translated, the actual number of words in any page can vary greatly, from 10-15 words for a cover page to 300 or more in a full page of text. The basic function to gauge the volume of a standard Word document, for example, is ‘Word Count’ (beware as this function does not take into account text boxes). For that purpose, translators generally use a piece of software referred to as CAT (Computer Aided Translation – à ne pas confondre avec les traducteurs automatiques en ligne!) that enables them to carry out a more accurate analysis of each document, amongst other useful features such as…

Translation Memory

The software mentioned above is based on a translation memory (TM), i.e. a build-up of the ‘segments’ (usually sentences) translated for your company. This means that when your translator works on a series of documents with similar content, the software will detect the similarities and assign a match percentage. This works particularly well for revised documents, where slight changes are made, or for closely duplicated spec sheets (e.g. MSDS). What this means for you is the more documents you get translated, the more you will build your own discount.


Another important part of the TM software is the glossary, where the translator will save specific terms, acronyms or expressions. These will be recognised by the software during the translation process, thereby ensuring consistency throughout your documents. The glossary is usually agreed upon with the customer.

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