Glossary of Terms

Back Translation: The translation of a target document back to the original source language. Back translations are legally required for some kinds of documents where absolute accuracy is extremely important, such as patient instructions and medical consent forms, and they may be advisable in other similar contexts. Certain differences between the source document and back translation may indicate a misunderstanding by the translator or ambiguity in the source text. As a general means of quality assurance, however, back translation has many potential pitfalls, so it should be used with caution. More information »

CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) Tools: A combination of a translation memory builder with other tools, such as glossaries or term bases (for specialized areas), and quality assurance tools. They help translators and reviewers work more efficiently and with more consistency and quality. These tools also allow the direct editing of tagged files, such as html and xml files. More information »

DTP (Desktop Publishing): The process of reformatting a translated document to accommodate text expansion or contraction and left-to-right text changes (as with Arabic or Hebrew) and changes in font style (as with character-based languages or those that do not use Latin alphabets). Multilingual DTP is done by native speakers of the target languages in order to ensure accuracy. More  information »

Localization: Translation into the local version of the language of the target audience is only part of the localization process. For a document, localization may also involve things like changing images, colors and layout to meet local expectations. For software, websites, and mobile apps, localization may also mean additional steps such as coding for the correct language; modifying forms to account for local name, date and address usages; and adjusting for right-left languages, like Arabic and Hebrew. In other words, localization includes all the changes that will promote understanding as well as usability in a particular market.

Post-editing: professional editing of material generated by machine translation to ensure that it is comprehensible. It is often used along with specialized machine translation systems on technical materials turned out in large volumes. For the best results, other steps such as simplified authoring methods and continual “training” of the software are also used. More information »

Termbase: Each industry has its own preferred terminology. A termbase is a glossary of words and phrases and their industry-specific translations. When translating technical materials, a first step is to establish and translate a glossary of important terms. The approved termbase can be loaded into our translation tool so that the translator will receive prompts when the terms appear in the source text. Establishing a termbase ensures consistency and clarity in the target translation. More information »

Transcreation: more creative than everyday translation. It is generally used for advertising and marketing materials and may involve substantially changing the original text to conform with local cultural preferences and language usage. Transcreation is judged by the extent to which it conveys a message in line with the message in the original while also having a similar emotional impact on its intended audience. More information »

Translation Memory: A database that stores segments (sentences, headings, list elements, etc.) and their corresponding translations as the document is translated. It correlates the source segments in the original language with the target segments in the translation so that an existing translation can simply be recovered from the database and only new material needs to be translated. This can mean tremendous savings for a client over the long term. More information »


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