Step 4: Pretranslation

Once your workflow stages are set, you can proceed with pre-translation where the system inserts TM matches and machine translation into the target text before the work is started. This significantly speeds up the translation process, because the translator will not have to transfer translation memory matches or machine translation into each segment manually. In addition, this allows you to lock segments that have been already translated and approved, reducing the project cost accordingly.

Let’s suppose you have enabled on the project both a TM that has already been used to record translations and machine translation.

On the Workflow Stages step, open the Pretranslation tab.

If your text contains a lot of numbers, click Source (Numbers Only) so that all the segments containing only numbers are copied to the translation. Decimal and thousand separators, in this case, will be converted to match the norms of the target language in most cases.


You can specify that the system must confirm such segments right away for every stage. Once segments are confirmed for one stage, project participants assigned to this stage will not be paid for editing these segments. And if the stage being confirmed is beyond the one that they are assigned to, the segments will be locked.

The rule for inserting numbers is automatically executed first.

Next, we want to use the translation memory. Press Add Rule.

Click Translation Memory.


Select which TM you want to use from the ones you have enabled on the project.

In the field Minimum match percentage, specify the minimum percentage of coincidence between a segment in the document and the translation memory at which the system must insert a translation from the TM.

You can also specify the minimum length of a segment (in words) at which the matches must be inserted using the Minimum word count in a segment field. This can be useful for very short segments that might be image captions and be split. In this case, you eliminate the risk to insert an improper translation.

Finally, specify in the Confirm segments field if the system should confirm the inserted translations and at what stage.

If you are sure of the quality of the translations in the selected TM and have set the minimum match percentage at 100%, you can specify that the system must confirm at the translation stage for such matches and have the editor review the text for example. If you have doubts about the quality of the TM or have set the match threshold below 100%, you should not specify automatic confirmation of such matches since there are most likely changes to be edited. In this case, matches will be inserted, but the translator will check them, making corrections if necessary, and then manually confirming them. In cases where you have context matches (101% and above), you could even confirm segments for all the stages of the process.

You can set up rules for each TM in a project (if there is more than one). The rules are executed one after the other; therefore you should set up rules whereby matches from the most reliable translation memory are inserted first.

You can set up more than one rule for each TM: for example, you can have Smartcat first insert 100% matches and confirm them, and then insert matches that are 75% and up, but without confirmation.

To use the machine translation proposals to translate all segments for which no matches have been found in the translation memory, press Add Rule.


Click Machine Translation.

Specify if you want the system to confirm segments containing machine translation. In most cases, these segments should not be automatically confirmed, because segments containing machine translation generally require corrections. Of course, if your customer is only interested in machine translation output, you can confirm the segments then but these segments will be added to your TM so you should probably keep a separate database for machine-translated segments only.


During pretranslation, the insertion of machine translation is executed after the other rules.

You can set up and run pretranslation later, but keep in mind that it will only be applied to those segments that have not yet been translated.

After configuring pretranslation, press the Finish button. Your project has been created.

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