Saturday, August 19, 2006

What is a TMX file?

This is a question I received quite frequently during the last days and therefore I believe it makes sense to write a blog about it.

TMX stands for Translation Memory eXchange. It is a standard format used by many CAT-Tools (CAT = Computer Assisted Translation). CAT-Tools are mainly used by translators, but lately, talking with Connel and other membes in the Wiktionary chat he suggested them for language study - and yes, it makes sense to use them also there. TMX-files would then be even more relevant. Students translate texts of different levels and aften having the translations corrected by the teacher or professor they exchange them with others. When searching for a word in a specific sentence they can do a concordance search in the Translation Memory and so they will see how that specific word was used in other sentences.

As for translators Translation Memories are helpful in two ways: one for concordance search and two for repetitive texts and updates of manuals they already translated before. Imagine you translate a manual of a TV-set then, one year after a new model of that TV-set is produced and you get the follow-up translation. By using your translation memory of the year before you will find many sentences that are already there - maybe they need to be adapted a bit to make reading more fluent, sometimes you do not need to do even that (well, you have to check, of course) . This helps to assure quality.

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