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Dec 11, 2013

General settings for memoQ TMs

memoQ TM settings are found in the Resource Console, the Options and a project's Settings.
This is a very useful "light resource" which is well worth nearly every user's time.
To define the TM settings to be used in new projects, select a settings configuration under Tools > Options... >  Default resources > TM settings (in the row of icons) by marking its checkbox.

To define the default TM settings to be used in the project you have opened, go to Project home > Settings > TM settings (in the row of icons) and mark the checkbox for the desired project default.

Different settings for individual TMs in a project (for example to set higher or lower match criteria) may be applied by going to Project home > Translation memories, selecting the TM of interest, clicking the Settings command at the right of the window and choosing the settings to apply instead of the project's standard TM settings.

The General settings tab is the same for all currently supported versions of memoQ. Role options are included on another tab in memoQ 2013 R2, and the Project Manager editions of memoQ offer additional possibilities for filtering and/or applying penalties to content on a Filters tab.


Match thresholds
The first value here (minimum) controls the fuzzy percentage below which a match will not be displayed in the translation results pane at the upper right of the working translation window.

The "good match" threshold is relevant to pretranslation (though this is unfortunately not made obvious in the dialog). The default value of 95% is really too high and would only apply to matches with small differences in tags or numbers; since any small difference in words is penalized significantly in memoQ (something I find very helpful, as I can understand more quickly what differences to look for compared to working in Trados). I usually set my "good matches" to 80%.

Not a "good match" according to the memoQ TM default setting
Penalties
In my work, an alignment penalty, which is a deduction from the match rate of a translation unit created by feeding an alignment to a translation memory, does not make a lot of sense. This is because
  • I almost never send alignments to a TM. Why bother? LiveDocs may be slower in pretranslation, but it provides context matching just like a TM, and you can actually read what you find in a concordance search in its original document context. TMs suck because you do not get the full context for your matching segment and are thus at greater risk for missing information which may be important for a translation. This is especially the case with short match segments.
  • if I happen to be aligning a dodgy translation and want to send it to a TM, I'll put it in a "quarantine TM" which already has its own penalty.
  • on those rare occasions when I might feed an alignment to a TM, it's because the content is going to a user of another CAT tool, and if that person uses Trados or another tool that can read XLIFF files or other available bilingual formats, I'll send the data as that instad, so it can be reviewed and modified more easily before feeding to a TM. This also gives the other person a bilingual reference with document context.
  • alignment for TMs is soooooo 1990s!
User penalties: If you have the misfortune to share a TM with someone whose work you do not trust completely and you want to avoid letting that person's 100% and context match segments slip past you unnoticed, apply a suitable penalty for the level of "risk" that person represents. If you want to be sure that user's content never gets used in a pretranslation and never appears in the translation results pane, apply a whopping big penalty like 80%. Those segments not be shown or inserted but will still be there in a concordance search if you want them.

TM penalties: Sometimes a client provides you with a TM you do not trust completely, or you may have a "quarantine TM" with content of dubious quality. Or I might have a TM with good content in British English but need to deliver a translation in American English. Applying penalties to such TMs will reduce the priority of their matches and prevent 100% matches with inappropriate language from slipping past without more careful inspection. As in the case of user penalties, you can also apply a very large penalty to ensure that matches will never be displayed in the translation results pane or used in a pretranslation but still have the TM content available for concordance searches.

Adjustments
It seems to be a good idea generally to enable the adjustment of fuzzy hits and inline tags. In many (but not all) cases, this will correct small differences in numbers, punctuation, cases and inline tags.

The only significant effect I was able to determine in adjusting the inline tag strictness in my tests was that more permissive settings might count a match with different tags as a full match. While this might meet the requirements of some clients hoping to impose discount schemes, from a quality assurance perspective, this does not seem like a good idea, and I believe it is better to have a strict setting here to draw attention to differences and reduce the chance that errors might be overlooked.

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