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A key feature of transaction SE63, the centerpiece of SAP’s translation tools, is the way existing translations can be reused. For each source text that comes up for translation, SE63 will check in the proposal pool if an identical text has been translated before. And if so, it will propose the translation that was entered last time so that the translator can apply it to the new text by simply double-clicking it. This not only saves time, but also improves translation consistency.
The proposal pool functionality is somewhat similar to what the translation industry calls a translation memory, but has a number of differentiating characteristics that promote translation quality.
First, it links the translation to the proposal, which means that if the proposal is deleted or changed so it no longer matches the translation, the text loses the Translated status and will come up for translation again. This is very helpful when making changes or corrections to translations across an entire SAP system, and it promotes consistent use of terminology.
Secondly, it only allows exact and case-sensitive matches. When translating user interface texts that frequently only consist of a single word, is it very useful to only be offered exact matches instead of large numbers of “fuzzy” matches.
The proposal pool also supports proposals that are specific to an SAP module such as FI or MM and that will not be proposed for texts from other modules. It is also possible to create abbreviations, and you can assign one of four quality statuses to mark a translation as the only valid option or as one of several possible translations for a source text, for example.
And finally, the proposal pool is updated live so each translator always has access to their colleagues’ latest translations. This built-in feature is similar in functionality to a translation memory server, which many CAT tools only offer as a very expensive add-on option.
These features make the proposal pool better suited for SAP translation than other CAT tools, from an individual translator’s perspective, but the proposal pool concept also has a number of interesting applications for project managers and consultants, but that’s a story for a different blog post.