Localization Glossary

What does localization even mean? We hope this glossary will answer your questions and help you on your journey to infinity and beyond.

alignmentThis is the process in which a source text is compared to the translation with the goal of matching equivalent segments (e.g. for the purpose of creating a translation memory).
back translationTranslation back from the target language into the source language by a second translator. For example, if a document has been translated from English into French, the back translation would go from the translated French back into English to allow a speaker of English to check that no meaning has been lost in the translation process. However, a back translation will not necessarily be precisely same as the original text, nor should it be, as the translation process is much more subtle than a mere mechanical swapping words from one language to another. It includes transferring style, tone, grammar and idioms as well as meaning and this will often require much more than a rigid word-for-word changing of the text.
captioningCaptioning is text that appears on a video, which contains dialogue and audio cues such as music or sound effects that occur off-screen. Captions can be either open (always visible, aka "burned in") or closed, but closed is more common because it lets each viewer decide whether they want the captions to be turned on or off.
CATComputer-Assisted Translation. This is a translation process in which a human translator uses software (such as translation memory and terminology management systems) to obtain a higher degree of precision and efficiency.
certified translationA certified translation is where a translation agency or freelance translator translates a document, and then certifies to the fact that they carried out the work and that it is a true and accurate translation. The certification usually appears in the form of an accompanying certificate or signature. Certified translations are usually necessary for official documents.
computer assisted translation (CAT)Computer assisted translation (CAT) is when a human translator uses a computer to support and facilitate the translation process. CAT makes the most of human and machine strengths, allowing for the speed, consistency and memory benefits of the computer without sacrificing the high quality of human translation. CAT should not to be confused with Machine Translation.
consecutive interpretingIn consecutive interpreting, the interpreter speaks after the source-language speaker has finished speaking. The speech is divided into segments, listens and takes notes as the speaker progresses through the message. When the speaker pauses or finishes speaking, the interpreter then renders a portion of the message or the entire message in the target language.
copywritingThe writing of material to a specific brief or instruction, used on brochures, web sites, publicity copy and the like. Copy does not always translate well due to the different cultural contexts and advertising cultures of the target culture and language. It can be best to have copy for foreign countries written by experts from the country as new text based on message points that the copywriter is to convey. Where a source text is translated instead, it is imperative that copywriters working on such projects should be familiar with the language, culture and colloquialisms of the target country or region.
desktop publishing (DTP)Desktop Publishing (or DTP) is a service offered by some translation agencies after the text is translated. A DTP expert adjusts design layouts to accommodate text expansion, uses foreign fonts to produce foreign language artwork containing translations, and ensures that the finished target document looks as good as (if not better than) the original source document.
double-byteMost languages use an alphabet with a limited set of text symbols, punctuation marks, and special characters. One byte is enough to distinguish every possible character in such a language (one byte gives us the ability to represent 256 characters). If the number of characters assigned to a language exceeds 256 characters, it exceeds the limit for a single-byte language. For example, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean each far exceed the 256 character limit, and therefore require double-byte encoding to properly distinguish all of the characters in any of those languages.
exact matchA stored source segment in a translation memory which is identical to a new source segment in the text to be translated.
FIGSShorthand for the most commonly translated European languages: French, Italian, German, and Spanish.
FTPFile Transfer Protocol, a method used to transfer files over a TCP/IP network. This is usually not encrypted. Most web browsers support basic FTP functions. Commonly used to transfer data files that are too large to be sent as email attachments.
fuzzy matchA stored source segment in a translation memory which is similar (but not identical) to a new segment in the text to be translated.
glossaryA glossary is a specialised, customised dictionary used by translators working on text with specific terminology. Glossaries can be made for each client to ensure that the translation adheres to company style guidelines and preferred terminology. For example, a company may specify that the preferred term for motorcycle is "motorcycle", not "motorbike", "bike" or any other term. The preferred term is entered into the glossary to ensure consistency throughout a project.
I18NAbbreviation for the word Internationalization. "I" stands for the first charcter, "18" for the number of characters between the first and last character, and "N" for the last one.
International Organization for StandardizationThis organization defines internationally accepted standards for a huge range of fields.
internationalizationThe process of adapting products or services to the international market. Sometimes the term is used to refer to the process of designing and producing products and services which are as culturally and technically neutral as possible, so that they can be easily marketed worldwide.
interpreterA person who conveys speech orally from one language to another.
interpretingThe act of conveying speech orally from one language to another. Interpreting can happen over the phone or in person.
ISOAbbreviation for International Organization for Standardization. A huge number of standards defined by this organization is named with ISO followed by a number. Some examples for localization related ISO standards are ISO 639, ISO 3166, and ISO 10646.
ITARInternational Traffic in Arms Regulations: regulations designed by the US government to help ensure that defense-related technology does not get into the wrong hands. As it relates to the translation industry, ITAR regulates the level of security required to handle data and who is allowed to view or handle the data.
L10NAbbreviation for Localization. "L" stands for the first charcter, "10" for the number of character between the first and last character, and "N" for the last one.
left-to-rightRefers to the writing direction. Many languages are written beginning at the left side of a page and continue horizontally to the right side.
literal translationTranslation that closely adheres word-for-word to the wording and construction of the source text. A literal translation often seems wooden and unnatural, and is therefore to be avoided unless there is a specific reason for translating literally.
literary translationThe translation of literature, such as fiction, biographies and poetry. Not to be confused with Literal translation.
localizationThe process of adapting a product (such as a game, website, etc.) to the language and culture of a particular region.
machine translation (MT)Machine translation (not to be confused with computer assisted translation) is the translation of text by a computer, with no human involvement. The computer performs the simple substitution of words in one natural language for words in another. Machine translation is a comparatively cheap option, and its speed lets you understand the gist of a foreign language text in real time.
proofreadingIn the translation industry, this term is used to mean the checking, revising and editing of a translation by a second, independent linguist. Proofreading is designed to check the accuracy of the translation against the original text as well as the grammar, syntax, punctuation, style and tone of the translation.
QAQuality Assurance (QA) is the checking of typeset translated text to make sure the text in its typeset form matches the plain text of the translation and to ensure that no errors have been introduced during the typesetting stage. This is an especially important part of the process as most typesetters do not have the ability to read or understand the languages they are working on. Reviewing involves checking that the font is displaying correctly, that the text is complete (no omissions or duplications), and that the hyphenation, line breaks and page breaks are appropriate to the language involved. It is different to proofreading as the latter concentrates on the translation itself, whereas reviewing concentrates on the display and layout of the text. Because it is much more efficient to make amendments to text before typesetting takes place, the review of the typesetting is not a viable alternative to carrying out a proofreading stage.
repetitionA segment to be translated that is repeated throughout a file.
resource filesIn Windows, refers to data stored in various routines, such as .exe or .dll files, typically used in applications. In .NET, the source files can store culture-specific data in one place, separate from the code. The data can include strings, dialog boxes, menus, icons, manifest, version information, and more. Using resource files makes localizing applications easier, because you can separate the design and strings from the code. You can then create localized applications without touching the source code or recompiling the entire application.
ResXResource format used in .NET applications.
right-to-LeftRefers to the writing direction. In Arabic, for example, writing begins at the right side of a page and continues horizontally to the left side.
segmentA predefined part of a text (usually a sentence, paragraph, footnote etc.) which is translated as a logical unit and which can be stored in a translation memory.
segmentation rulesSegmentation Rules describe how to segment texts into sections. Example: A text paragraph is a huge segment, which can be segmented into smaller parts, like the sentences. We can even further segment a sentence. The segmentation rule now describes how to find a segment, and the exceptions. Text is segmented to store the segments into translation memory. Smaller strings are more often reused. So with a good set of segmentation rules we raise the profit of a translation memory, too.
simultaneous interpretingThis means the interpreting of a speaker's words into another language while the speaker is speaking (i.e. without pausing).
SMEAbbreviation of subject matter expert.
source languageOriginal language of text or speech which is translated into another language. (See target language.)
source textThe original text that is to be translated.
stringsResource files that contain localizable strings are referred to as strings files because of their filename extension, which is .strings .
subject matter expertA person who is an expert in a particular field or subject. When a translation is of a highly technical, or specialized, nature, a translator who is a subject matter expert in the relevant field is used to ensure accurate translation.
subtitlesSubtitles are text that appears on a video and typically contains only a transcription (or translation) of the dialogue. Often, subtitles are burned into the video so they can't be turned off, although DVD and Blu-ray can contain multiple tracks of subtitles which can be selected and turned on or off by the player. Subtitles vary in appearance and have more fonts and colors available than captions.
target languageLanguage into which text or speech is translated. (See source language.)
target textThe result of the translation process: the translated text.
technical translationA technical translation refers to the need for specialized translators, or subject matter experts, due to the use of uncommon and difficult vocabulary in a text. Topics such as medicine, finance, law, engineering, computing, and many other specialized fields would all be considered as technical.
telephonic interpretingA service that connects human interpreters via telephone to individuals who wish to speak to each other but do not share a common language. Telephonic interpreting is the act of conveying speech orally from one language to another over the phone.
term extractionThe process of extracting lists of potentially interesting terms from a selection of electronic texts. These lists can then be used to build a glossary, for example.
TMAbbreviation for translation memory.
TMXTranslation Memory eXchange (TMX) is an xml-based format defined to help translators exchange their existing work (translation memory) between localization tools.
transcriptionThe act of copying down speech into a written text, usually from audio or video recordings. This can either be done to record the spoken text itself, or to form a source text so that the speech can then be translated.
translation environment tool (TEnT)A computer program (or a suite of programs) that provides functions to aid human translators in their translation tasks. Includes translation memory, CAT, localization and terminology management tools.
translation memoryA database which stores sentences and their translations for reuse in new translation projects. Using translation memory makes it easy to reuse your existing translation efforts and to maximize consistency across documents, for example when updating a manual, or in other related products. Abbreviation: TM.
translationThe act of conveying written text from one language to another.
translatorA person who conveys written text from one or more languages into another language, usually their native language. Translators are highly skilled linguists who are able to convey the meaning, tone and style from one language to another, choosing the correct words and idioms to achieve this.
transliterationConverting the sounds from one language into another (usually when the two languages employ different writing systems or scripts). Transliteration attempts to allow a reader to be able to say a word in the other language, such as people's names and place names. Because some speech sounds are unique to certain languages and there isn't always an equivalent, sometimes a transliteration can only be an approximation of the true pronunciation of a foreign word.
voiceoverSpoken commentary in a film or multimedia presentation. Foreign-language voiceover consists of two parts: (1) translating the narrative, whereby timing (coordinating the voice with the film sequence) is an important consideration; (2) recording the voiceover, which is performed by a voice actor.
word countThe number of words in the source text. This is the basis for calculating the translation charges in most translation agencies.
XLIFFXML Localization Interchange File Format. This is the open standard for the exchange of localization data, providing special elements and attributes for alternative translations, maximum or minimum length of software strings, the different phases of the localization process, comments, etc.

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