Nowadays, translations are often performed by a combination of human translators using translation memory systems, and, if specifically requested, with the help of machine translation systems. To help us work for our customers as efficiently, quickly and cost-effectively as possible, new translations are almost always stored a large database. This data is then used to achieve even better results in subsequent translations. This translation memory is not just available to the customer, but also the project manager and any translators and editors who use translation software (translation memory systems) every day to produce professional specialist translations. However, it’s quite legitimate to ask who the translation memory and its content actually belongs to, because so many different people add to, improve, maintain and edit this pool of data at every stage in a translation process.
When it comes to how translations are produced, the current legal position is less than satisfactory in some areas. There are often grey areas surrounding the responsibilities, rules and regulations which are referred to in cases of doubt, when a translation memory is not handed over to the customer, free of charge, when a translation is completed. We therefore strongly recommend that, before you start working with any agency, you check their terms of business and contractual obligations to see who will have ownership of translation memories. But you already know how we stand on this issue. We’ll also be happy to advise you about how to handle your translation memories.