I recently completed a translation for my least favorite end client of an agency partner I rather like. I suppose the folks at this end client company are nice enough; most probably do not beat their dogs or their children. But the texts they send for translation are abusive in the extreme: Microsoft Word files generated by some sort of program on a host system, with a bizarre mix of colors and font changes (both type and size), as well as lots of superfluous line breaks and carriage returns. I presume the thought for the latter is to avoid overlapping graphics, but since text wrap is turned on for the graphics anyway, I don't see the point. What I do see is horrible German sentences horribly mutilated into as many as five or six chunks, but at least two or three most of the time. A real crime.
And did I mention that segments break at the color and font changes even for sentences which appear intact? No CAT guru has ever been able to figure that one out.
One such horror revisited me last week, and I put it off as long as I could. Finally, I got to work at the point where the deadline was very much in doubt, and as an afterthought I did something I usually forget about: I pretranslated the file. I applied the "TM-driven segmentation feature", which is not considered in the file analysis. To my amazement, most of the file pretranslated with matches over 95%. When the remaining empty segments were examined and 4 or more parts joined to make a sentence, most were 99% matches. I had completely forgotten that I had translated this material a year ago. And the agency was unaware of that as well, because they rely on traditional Trados methods for file analysis and processing. What I thought was going to be a very hard slog through about 500 horrible segments turned out to be a bit of tag tweaking and a few sentences of updating the text.
This is part of what my agency friends who have gone over to memoQ mean when they talk about improved leverage over time from legacy resources.