How does translation memory differ from machine translation?
A translation memory is a linguistic database that continually captures your translations as you work for future use.
All previous translations are accumulated within the translation memory (in source and target language pairs called translation units) and reused so that you never have to translate the same sentence twice. The more you build up your translation memory, the faster you can translate subsequent translations, enabling you to take on more projects and increase your revenue.
Machine translation automatically translates a document without any human input.
These kinds of tools are fast, but result in a poor quality translation as a machine cannot understand the subtleties or contexts of language. As a result, quality and accuracy tend to be around 50% - 70%, therefore it is not advisable to send the raw form directly to your customers. In addition, machine translation can only be used for a limited number of supported languages.
With translation memory software, such as SDL Trados Studio, the number of supported languages is unlimited, and the actual translation is performed by a professional translator. The translation memory assists by presenting "100%" and "fuzzy" matches from the legacy translation database, so that you can work with increased efficiency, consistency and quality.