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Translation Industry Glossary

Alignment: An alignment involves matching segments of an original text with their corresponding translations to create a translation memory. The alignment process is made easier with the use of certain CAT technologies, but still often requires the manual effort of the project manager. An alignment saves the translated text into a translation memory, allowing the client to use previous translations in future texts, saving money and ensuring consistency.

Computer Aided Translation (CAT) Tool: Software that supports and facilitates the translation process is known as Computer Aided Translation tools, or CAT tools. Human translators use these tools to manage and select terminology, apply translation memory, and check spelling and grammar. Some leading CAT tools in the industry include SDLTrados, WordFast, and Déjà Vu.

Consecutive Interpreting: Consecutive interpreting is a form of face-to-face interpreting. During consecutive interpreting, the speaker pauses every one to five minutes and the interpreter then renders what was said into the target language. For this reason, consecutive interpreting lengthens the duration of an assignment. Consecutive interpreting is generally used for meetings, presentations and training courses.

Déjà Vu: Déjà Vu is a Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tool owned by ATRIL.

Desktop Publishing: In addition to translation, many translation service providers offer Desktop Publishing (DTP) as a value-added service. DTP services can make any translated document “print-ready” through programs such as Adobe Indesign, QuarkXpress and FrameMaker.

Exact Match: See "Matches and Repetitions".

Face-to-Face Interpreting: Face-to-face interpreting includes all the forms of interpreting where the interpreters and speakers communicate face-to-face. This includes consecutive interpreting, ad hoc interpreting (where the subject matter is unprepared, such as in interviews and diplomatic visits) and whispering.

Fuzzy Match: See "Matches and Repetitions".

G11N: An abbreviation for “globalization." The number “11” stands for the number of letters in between the first and last letters.

Interpreting: Interpreting is the process of oral translation.

I18N: An abbreviation for “internationalization". The number “18” stands for the number of letters in between the first and last letters.

L10N: An abbreviation for “localization”. The number “10” stands for the number of letters in between the first and last letters.

Language Pair/Combination: A language pair is the set of languages a translator or interpreter works across. For example, a translator specializing in French-Dutch will usually translate documents from French into Dutch.

Language Services Provider: A language services provider is a company that offers an extended range of services to assist companies with their global activities, such as translation, interpreting, writing, marketing, consulting, etc.

Loanword: A loanword is a word taken from one language and used in another with virtually no translation. Some examples of loanwords commonly used in English include: blitz (from German), aardvark (from Afrikaans) and hors d’oeuvre (from French).

Localization: Localization (see also L10N) is the process of adapting software or content to a specific location or market.

Machine Translation: Machine translation is software that provides quick, easy and inexpensive (usually free) translations of text. However, machine translations are known for their poor quality. Though machine translation programs are getting better all the time, the best way to get a high quality translation is through a human translator.

Marketing Writing and Editing: Marketing writing is the process of creating documents of a promotional nature, such as web sites, advertisements, newsletters and press releases. To achieve the best quality, marketing documents should be written into foreign languages from scratch- not translated. However, if an existing marketing document does require translation, a marketing writer can edit the document prior to translation to make it more culturally specific to the target market.

Matches and Repetitions: A Translation Memory (TM) is a glossary of a company's pre-approved terminology and their respective translations. Each time a new document is submitted for translation, the document is scanned against the company’s TM, highlighting matches and repetitions in the document that correspond with the TM.

Exact matches, also known as 100% matches, provide the highest amount of cost savings because the text already has a translation. The translator must simply verify that the pre-translated match is accurate. Translation Memory matches of 85-99%, also called "fuzzy matches", match closely enough with something in the TM to allow the translator to verify or lightly modify the translation, also providing cost discounts.

Phrases or sentences that are repeated continuously throughout a document are called “repetitions” and are usually discounted as 100% matches. A company that does not have a TM cannot benefit from exact or fuzzy matches, but can benefit from repetitions.

Mother Tongue: A person’s first or native language is known as their mother tongue. It is possible for a person to have more than one mother tongue, especially if they were raised in a bi-lingual household or country or had extensive lifetime education in a second language.

Proofreading: In translation, proofreading involves checking a translated document for many different things. For example, at Translatus, our proofreaders are translators who review another translator's work to primarily check for correct spelling, punctuation and grammar. Our proofreaders also revise terminology, apply formatting, or improve the general flow of a document.

Reference Material: Providing reference material to your language services provider will help them to choose the best terminology and adhere to your preferred writing styles. Excellent examples of support material include previous translations, web sites, screenshots, pictures, graphs, company glossaries or dictionaries and style guides.

SDLTrados: SDLTrados is the leading Computer Aided Translation (CAT) tool on the market.

Simultaneous Interpreting: The interpreter speaks while simultaneously listening to and comprehending the next sentence. This interpretation is usually relayed over headphones at large conferences, media launches and live TV broadcasts, or whispered in smaller surroundings such as courtrooms.

Source Language: The source language is the original language of a document.

Target Language: The target language is the language into which a translation will be done.

Technical Writing and Editing: Technical writing is the process of creating documents of a technical nature, such as design specs, user manuals and white papers. To achieve the best quality, technical documents should be written into foreign languages from scratch- not translated. However, if an existing technical document does require translation, a technical writer can edit the document prior to translation to make it easier to read and more culturally specific to the target market.

Telephone Interpreting: This kind of interpreting has increasingly been used as a cost-effective way of interpreting, where a face-to-face meeting is not essential or possible. It is the ideal solution when geographically dispersed people need to talk but do not share a common language.

Terminology Extraction: A company’s terminology is a valuable asset. Terminology Extraction can help effectively manage this asset by supporting a company’s brand image, ensuring consistent use of terminology across business functions and cutting translation costs. Terminology extraction involves extracting key phrases or terms from a body of text for compilation into a database or text. This process is highly specialized and labor intensive work, requiring expertise in both the language pair and subject matter at hand.

TM: Stands for “Translation Memory”.

Translation: Translation is the process of producing a text into one foreign language from another foreign language.

Translation Agency: A translation agency is a company that provides translation and (sometimes) interpreting services.

Translation Direct Access: Translation Direct Access (TDA) is Translatus’ own proprietary translation management software. It is a unique, company-to-client interactive web-based management system that provides secure access for all Translatus customers. TDA enables our clients to upload source and support files for new translation jobs, track the status of jobs in progress, communicate directly with the project manager, download the final translated documents, and archive past translation jobs.

Translation Memory: Translation Memory (TM) is a system that uses translation technology to update a glossary of a company’s approved translated terms and phrases. These glossaries are scanned each time a project is submitted and TM matches and repetitions are incorporated into the new project. Many language service providers, including Translatus, build a company’s TM on every project, ensuring consistency, higher quality, and cost savings.

Whispering: Whispering is a method of simultaneous interpreting where the interpreter sits close to a participant and whispers the interpretation into his or her ear. This method of interpreting is well-suited for small, intimate meetings for a small number of attendees and requires no equipment. Whispering is sometimes called by its French name of "chuchotage".

Word Count: A word count states the number of words in a document and is often used to determine job pricing.

Word counts vary across different technologies, meaning your provider’s word count might differ from your own. The word count tool in MSWord is easy to use and can be fairly accurate if the document contains straight text with few or no text boxes. Complex documents require a more sophisticated analysis tool (such as Trados or Wordfast) to produce accurate word counts.