Project TMs: How they differ from main TMs and how to use them

Nicole Loney 06 Dec 2021 3 min read
Some translators working with Trados Studio have a single TM per language pair that they work in, which they use for all projects in the relevant language pair. Others use different TMs for different projects if, for example, they maintain different TMs for different clients, subject areas, or types of translation. But these are still all main TMs in Studio parlance; they aren’t what Studio calls project TMs.
So what is a project TM and why would I use one?
A project TM is a subset of a main TM, containing only the translation units from the main TM that are needed for a given project. By default Studio prepares projects without a project TM, so if you want to use one you need to specifically create it (see ‘How do I create a project TM?’ below for instructions on how to do so). You would do this if you need a temporary (or ‘working’) TM, which typically happens in one of the following scenarios.

Best practice for external sharing
If a project manager sends a translation job to an external freelancer, they may choose to send a file-based project TM instead of the full main TM). The main reasons for doing this are:
  • To minimize the size of the translation memory. Large file-based main TMs can be difficult to distribute to translators, as they are slow to upload and download. By replacing a large main TM with a smaller project TM (since it will include only the subset of the main TM that is relevant to the project), this issue is avoided.
  • To maximize information security. By using a project TM the content of the TM is shared only on a ‘need-to-know’ basis. Project managers can control the extent to which they are sharing the TM with external parties, which is best practice for information security and confidentiality.
The project TM is a disposable resource, used by the external translator but not returned to the project manager. The main TM is updated from the final bilingual file(s) (SDLXLIFF) returned from the translator.
Quality control for internal sharing
When using a project TM internally it can be a tool for quality control, to avoid any chance of the main TM being populated with draft translations. In this scenario a project TM is a temporary container for translations and revisions until the work is finalized. By default, it’s the project TM (sometimes called a ‘dirty TM’) that will be updated, even if the translator/reviewer has access to the main TM. Once the translated content is reviewed and finalized, it can be uploaded to the main TM.

How do I create a project TM?
Depending on when you’re creating the project TM, you can choose one of the following ways:
  • During project creation, change the default preparation task sequence (pre-selected in the Batch Tasks step) from Prepare Without Project TM to Prepare (available as one of the drop-down options). This will add the Populate Project Translation Memories task to the default set of preparation tasks, and this will create the project TM along with the project itself. By default, Studio will create a file-based project TM.
  • After project creation, if you decide to create a project TM, go to the Projects view, select the relevant project, and click on Batch Tasks > Populate Project Translation Memories.
  • During project package creation, in the final step of the package creation wizard, select the ‘Create a new file-based project translation memory for every package’ option.
When creating a project if you want to always prepare them with a project TM by default, you can change Studio’s default task sequence in File> Options> Default Task Sequence (change it from Prepare Without Project TM to Prepare).

Project TM specifications
Studio uses the main TM(s) assigned to the project to create the project TM. The project TM will contain only those translation units that Studio’s file analysis of the source document(s) finds to be relevant. To determine relevance, Studio uses the settings you specify for minimum match value and maximum number of hits in the TM settings. Go to Project Settings > Language Pairs > All Language Pairs > Translation Memory and Automated Translation > Search to specify these parameters.
The name of the project TM will be the project name plus the language code. If it’s a file-based TM, it will be placed in the TM subfolder of the project folder.
Any questions?
If you have any additional questions about project TMs, or anything else related to projects or TMs, please check out our RWS Community.
Nicole Loney

Nicole Loney

Product Marketing Manager
Nicole is a Product Marketing Manager at RWS. Nicole focuses on the translation technology needs of freelance translators and LSPs. She is responsible for generating product-focused content and conducting market research for the Trados portfolio. Owing to her degree in marketing and French, Nicole has developed a passion for consumer behavior, understanding what customers need and directing them to solutions that will help.
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