Translation memories are one of the most useful tools at a translator’s disposal. They allow us to save translated work to then leverage it at a later stage when translating a new text by providing matches at the segment level. However, many translation theorists argue that whilst these matches are very useful to a translator, a lot of the repetition in a text occurs at the sub-segment level, i.e. individual words or short phrases. This is where concordance searches come in handy for a translator.
A concordance search allows a translator to search their TM for a particular repeated word/phrase in order to see how they translated it in context at different stages in the text, helping to improve the consistency of the translation. In addition, to maximise the leverage of all previous translations, a master TM containing all of their previously translated work can be added to the current project so that it can be used to perform concordance searches. What is more useful is Trados allows the translator to choose whether this TM should be updated with new target text segments or whether it should be purely used to perform concordance searches.
To perform a concordance search in Trados you just have to highlight the particular word or phrase and hit F3. In Trados, the results will include the word that was searched for as well as similarly spelt words. This is particularly useful for translators who work with languages with declensions like Russian where the same noun or adjective can differ in spelling by just one or two letters. Or even when searching for a plural noun and you want to still see results for the singular noun.
However, if you would rather this didn’t happen as you find it clutters up the results too much for you, you can easily change the settings of the concordance search to only produce 100% matches.
Concordance searches are an incredibly useful tool which, in my opinion, all translators should make the most of! They improve the consistency of the translation as well as increasing the efficiency and productivity of the translator!