101 essential terms You might Want to look at before ordering a translation
The Jargon used by the translation industry gives you a headache? Well, nothing that a good old glossary won’t cure.
Awarded by NAATI in Australia to translators and interpreters who can demonstrate a certain level of ability to translate and interpret as well as a comprehension of ethical and sociocultural issues.
A translator having received accreditation from a recognise Institute such as the American ATA or the ITI from the UK.
Ad hoc interpreting
Translation in the spoken form between two languages between two or more people, but in an informal conversation.
Process that consists in changing a document to adapt it to different objective, different readers, countries or regions. The adaptation can be done, in translation, for example by copywriter, and editor or a translator.
The mother tongue of a translator or an interpreter.
Process that consists in defining correspondence in translation between source and target text. That process allows to convert sentences into a translation memory format so that the sentences can be used at a later stage in the translation memory software.
Software that automatically matches segments of text in a table.
Situation in which a text is in the state of being unclear, doubtful, etc. so that the transla
tor cannot proceed with the translation process.
Australian Institute of Interpreters and Translators – A completely independent association which aims to promote the highest standards in the translation and interpreting business.
Translation process that is machine-based for which no human translator intervenes.
Language a translator and/or an interpreter is able to write and speak nearly as well as his/her mother tongue.
Language that a translator is able to read and understand well enough to translate from, but is unable to write or speak well enough to translate
Computer-aided translation, machine-aided or machine-assisted translation using a computer software like a translation memory, a terminology management to increase consistency of terminology and style.
A translator who has received certification from the American Translators Association (ATA), for example, or by the SFT (Société Française des Traducteurs) in France.
Phase of written translation in which the draft of the translation is compared to the source text and all sorts of information is verified as having been accurately reproduced.
An interpreting technique when the interpreter appears close to your customer and simultaneously whispers (“chuchotage” meaning “whispering” in French) the interpretation.
Strategy to translation by which businesses utilize crowdsourcing in a controlled environment to translate.
A test completed to ensure speakers understand the meaning of the translation.
Computer-assisted translation (CAT)
Whenever someone does the real translating, and they’re assisted by computer software.
Translators can choose words in the source segment and retrieve sentences that match the search criteria. This is particularly helpful when finding translations of terms when no terminology database is present.
Interpreter providing simultaneous interpretation from one language to another.
Measure how often a term or expression is delivered the same way into the target language.
Important information outside of the actual text that is essential for complete understanding.
Adjustment of a translation to conform to the target culture.
Culturally sensitive translation
Translation that considers cultural variations.
Applications to create documentation for publication.
Acronym for do not translate i.e the list of terms the translator should leave as is.
Area of knowledge that is communicated within a text, translation.
DTP (desk top publishing)
Specific software to combine and rearrange text and images and producing digital files. Uses of DTP: Catalogues, Newspapers, E-newsletters, Technical Documentation, Web Pages.
Recording or substitution of voices commonly used in movies and videos for which the recorded voices do not belong to the initial actors or speakers and are in a different language.
Editing – Second level of review in the customary TEP process.
When translating a sentence, means the same sentence has been translated before. Exact matches are called 100% matches.
False friends are words or phrases that look or sound similar, but have different meaning.
A translation that broadly follows the source text.
Self-employed translator, working either for translation agencies and/or for end clients. Often specialised in one or more areas of expertise, such as legal, financial, commercial or technical.
Reviewing software applications and programs to make sure that the localisation process does not change the software or impair its functions or on-screen content display.
Indication that sentences or words are partly matched with some previous translations.
Acronym for globalisation, internationalisation, localisation, and translation.
GIM – Abbreviation for global information management.
Translation process – human or machine – used to create a rough translation of the text so as to understand the essence of the text.
Process by which a crude or outline translation of a text is given to provide an understanding into the subject and overall content of the source text.
Where the significance of the original text is translated into forms which most accurately and naturally maintain the meaning of the original text.
Text intended for internal use, generally not seen by people outside the organisation.
Assessment of a translated text by a particular individual who resides within the country where the target text will be used.
Interlinear translation is a form of translation where each line of a source text has a line placed directly beneath it which gives a word by word literal translation to a target language.
Action of the interpreter that translates verbally the sentences of a speaker into the language of a listener. Interpretation always pertains to oral communication.
Provides spoken translation of a speaker’s words from one language to another.
Often used as a measure of line or page length in determining the size of a translation job.
Languages in which a translator or interpreter/translator can provide a service.
Language Services Provider (LSP)
An organisation which supplies language services – translation, localisation or interpretation. Commonly abbreviated LSP
Interpreter who provides – usually consecutive – interpretation between two languages in both directions.
Localisation Industry Standards Association
LISA QA Model
A metric for the evaluation of translation quality put together by the Localisation Industry Standards Association.
Process of borrowing the meanings of a source word and straightly translating them to the target language, instead of using a native term from the target language.
Process of adjusting or replacing a product, service, or website for a given language, culture or region. Language localisation is the second phase of a larger process of product translation and cultural adaptation (for specific countries, regions, or groups) to account for variations in distinct markets, a process known as internationalisation and localisation.
Software that helps with the translation and adaptation required for localisation.
Machine translation (MT)
Machine translation is; a) a translation produced by an application; b) use of a translation program to translate text without human input in the actual translation process.
Machine translation plus translation memory
A workflow and technological process in which terms not found in translation memory are systematically sent to the machine translation software for translation.
Signal that words or sentences are matched – either to some extent or fully – to previous translations.
One of the ten important languages on the Web, including Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish.
Native language of an individual.
MT – Acronym for machine translation.
Automation of business processes relevant to the development of multilingual products by managing multilingual content, usually through a translation management system, machine translation, and translation memory.
Procedure of expanding a corporation’s presence into multiple nations. Commonly abbreviated M18N.
The SDL Trados terminology tool.
First language that an individual learns.
An individual with native-speaker skill in a particular language.
Oral and written command of a language equivalent to that of a person who not only learned the language as a child and has continued to utilise it as his/her language of habitual use, but who has also had some language training.
When networking throughout the translation it is possible to translate a text efficiently together with a group of translators. This way, the translations inserted by one translator are accessible to the others. Furthermore, if translation memories are shared before the final translation, there is a chance that mistakes made by one translator will be remedied by other team members.
Method of writing English that utilises a clear and simple style, normally for the purpose of boosting readability. Among its attributes are using only active verbs (no passive voices) and making sure that each word has only one meaning.
PM – Abbreviation for project manager.
Process by which one or more humans review, edit, and increase the quality of machine translation output.
Acronym for price per word.
Phase of translation process in which documents are prepared for conversion into another language.
Individual who carries out management and co-ordination tasks for a given translation project. Frequently abbreviated PM.
Checking a text or a translation to ensure that there are no errors and that the text is fluent. It’s now a synonym for revising.
Process of faking translation of software or Web applications before starting to localise the product for real. It is used to verify that the user interface is capable of containing the translated strings (length) and to find possible internationalisation issues.
QA – Acronym for quality assurance.
Procedure designed to ensure translation quality, in which specific processes are followed with the purpose of minimising errors.
Process designed to ensure translation quality, in which the target text is analysed with the purpose of finding errors.
Abbreviation for rules-based machine translation.
Measure of formlessness of language dependent upon the tone, terminology, and grammar.
Process of reading a text to identify errors, inconsistencies, incorrect grammar and punctuation, poor or improper style, and conformance with the source text.
Sentence or phrase separated from the remainder of a text based on language construction guidelines such as punctuation.
Interpreting technique utilised to deliver material written in one language into another language. It is most often used when the gist of a note or document needs to be ascertained with urgency.
Simplified English (SE)
A collection of writing rules and a dictionary of controlled vocabulary directed at improving the readability of technical documentation. Put together by the Association of European Airlines (AEA), it is also used to write texts for translation using machine translation tools.
Acronym for Source Language, the language a translator translates from.
SMT – Acronym for statistical machine translation.
The language of the original text that is translated.
Quantity of words in a text to be translated.
Culture where the text you have to translate has been produced.
File that contains the source document, as opposed to a produced or the target file, and that needs to be translated.
The source language is the language from which the source text is to be translated.
Text that is to be translated.
Source text analysis
Review of the source text prior to translation that provides a better idea of the difficulty of the translation.
Specialised language competence
Familiarity with the relevant area of expertise and command of its special language conventions.
A measure of the size of a text, used in the publishing industry and in literary translation. The standard page length may vary from country to country and depending on the industry. Translation projects are every now and then priced on a per page basis, although – except in the case of literary translation – this practice is becoming less frequent, being replaced by the standard line.
Subtitles (also captioning)
Subtitles are textual variations of the dialogue in films and television programs, usually displayed at the bottom of the screen.
A translator who has taken an oath and can for that reason produce certified translations.
The language of the text, voice or information that is being interpreted or translated into.
Culture you have to translate a text for.
Language into which the source text is to be translated.
The group of people for which a text is translated, for example subject authorities, novices, prospective customers. It is important to specify the target readership when ordering a translation so that the translator can pick an appropriate style and vocabulary.
Target text is the text message of the translated document.
abbreviation for Target Culture
Translation of technical texts, including user or maintenance manuals, catalogues and data sheets.
The level of formality, etc. between two people talking.
Word, phrases, symbols or formula that describes or designates a particular concept.
Term extraction tools
Tools to automatically extract terms from texts to create a termbase.
Database containing terminology and related information.
Set of terms
Process completed prior to translation in order to analyse the vocabulary within a text and its meaning within the given context, often for the purpose of creating specialised dictionaries within precise fields.
Electronic repository of terms and associated data.
Terminology extraction (TE)
The production of a corpus of monolingual or multilingual subject-specific terminology by extracting individual terms and phrases from a body of text.
Quality translation relies on the correct use of specialised terms. It improves the reader’s understanding and decreases the time and costs associated with translation.
Terminology management tool
Application that facilitates terminology management.
Data processing tool that allows a translator to create, edit and consult text or electronic dictionaries
Process in which the text from a source file is inserted into a word-processing file for use by a translator
The function served by a text, e.g. to advertise a product, to provide instruction on the use of a product, to convey information about an event. It is important to point out the text function when ordering a translation to so that the translator can choose an appropriate style and vocabulary.
Class of text (abstract, news report, light fiction, comment) with distinct characteristics of style, sentence formation, terminology, etc.
abbreviation for Target language
abbreviation for Translation Memory (see below)
SDL Trados is a leading Translation Memory Editor used in translation.
Adaptation of a text into another language or culture. Hence, it is more than direct translation or localisation of the text, as transcreators focus on capturing the necessary persuasive or emotive effect of the original.
Process of converting verbal sentences into written form.
Provides translation and interpreting services, and acts as a middleman between clients and freelance translators.
Provides translation services using mostly in-house translators. Often synonymous with translation agency.
Translation Environment Tool (TEnT)
An application, or a suite of programs, that provides functions to help human translators in their translation tasks.
Translation Kit (Also Localisation Kit)
A set of files and instructions given to a translation agency by a client, so as to provide a set of requirements such as the area of expertise, the target audience, files and format to translate, deadline, special requirement, etc.
Translation management system (also TMS)
Program that manages translation and localisation cycles, coordinates projects with source content management, and centralises translation databases, glossaries, and further information relevant to the translation process. Frequently abbreviated TMS.
Individual in charge of managing a translation project. In large translation projects, the translation manager is responsible for liaising between customer and translators, managing the translation project.
Translation Memory (TM)
Database which retains portions of texts and corresponding translations. The application progressively saves each sentence and the corresponding translation. By doing this, it creates a database of translated phrases. Every time you encounter the same sentence, the tool will suggest to you the translation that you previously did and saved.
Translation Memory plus Machine Translation
A workflow and technological process in which terms not found in translation memory are instantly sent to the machine translation software for translation, with the results supplied back into the translation memory. Frequently abbreviated TMT.
Translation memory system
Computer-aided translation tool that provides translation suggestions from translation memory.
Web-based service that allows translation agencies, freelance translators and customers to contact one another and trade services.
Renders written text from one or more languages into another language, often into his/her mother tongue.
Unit Of Translation
The smallest linguistic component that carries meaning.
A TM is updated with a new translation when it has been accepted by the translator. When updating a database, there is the question what to do with the earlier contents of the database. A TM can be altered by changing or deleting entries in the TM. Some systems allow translators to save multiple translations of the same source segment.
Voice-over , Voiceover
Commentary in, e.g., a film, TV show, video, or advertisement spoken by an unseen narrator. Voice-over services are provided by some translators and translation agencies/companies.
Whispering OR whispered interpreting
Like simultaneous interpreting, whereby the interpreter sits with the client and whispers the translation.
Total number of words in a text, typically used to cost translation projects.
This is a type of literal translation which seeks to match the specific words of the original as closely as possible to specific words of the target language.
Computer or Web-based applications utilised to direct translation and localisation work processes.