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July 31, 2023

WPML and most professional translation services use a translation memory. Translation memory saves the translations you have previously created and applies them automatically as you translate pages with the same sentences.

For example, we have translated the content below using the Advanced Translation Editor. Once completed, these translations are saved in the translation memory.

Translating a page with the Advanced Translation Editor

When we use one of the same segments on another page, the saved translation is automatically applied when we go to translate it.

Translation memory applies the saved translation automatically

Please note that translation memory only works when translating a page or post from the original language to the other site languages. This means if you create a page in French and translate it to English, the translations will only be remembered and applied on other pages you translate from French to English. They cannot be used on pages you translate from English to French.

When you translate content with the Advanced Translation Editor, WPML segments it into sentences or phrases. It then searches for matching segments in the following order:

  1. Segments from earlier versions of the same page.
  2. Joined segments from earlier versions of the same page.
  3. Segments from other pages on your site.
  4. Segments from any other site that shares the same automatic translation account.
  5. Joined segments from other pages on your site and other sites that share the same automatic translation account.

WPML applies a saved translation as soon as it finds a match. Any remaining segments are left untranslated.

Calculating Costs with Automatic Translation and Translate Everything Automatically

If you use automatic translation or the Translate Everything Automatically mode, you are only charged for segments that are still untranslated after searching for translation memory matches.

To keep automatic translation processing times short, translation jobs submitted in the same batch are automatically translated at the same time. This means that if two pages include identical segments and are submitted to automatic translation in the same batch, it is not possible to form a translation memory entry from one page and apply it to the other. Instead, both segments will be automatically translated, and you will be charged for both.

Using Translation Memory with Different Translation Editors

The Advanced Translation Editor offers the best translation memory. It works with fuzzy matches and can be shared with other sites that use the same automatic translation account.

The Classic Translation Editor requires an exact match for translation memory to work.

Translation memory also works for strings. If you translate a string and use the exact same string again later, the saved translation will be applied in String Translation and the Classic Translation Editor.

Enhancing Translations with WPML’s Glossary

The glossary complements translation memory by giving you more control over your translations.

While translation memory remembers and applies your previously created translations, the glossary allows you to define and manage the translation of specific terms. You can add words, phrases, or names with multiple meanings and provide their context.

Whether you’re using automatic translation or working with human translators, the glossary helps you eliminate ambiguities and ensure accuracy in your translations across your website.

See how to ensure the quality of your translations with the glossary.

Translations Not Showing Up?

Check out our translation memory FAQ to troubleshoot.