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Translation Terminology – a List of Vocabulary to Get You Started

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March 15, 2017

translation terminology: a guide to the world of translations

Are you sitting with a myriad of documents that require professional translation? If you are new to the world of translation, here is some of the most important translation terminology you need to understand when working with an agency.

Terms in translation

  • Bilingual and multilingual – these words refer to the ability to communicate fluently in two, or even more, languages.
  • Certified translation – when it comes to professional translation, your official documents may require certified translation. The certificate verifies that a translation project is true and accurate and has been performed by an expert linguist.
  • Culturally sensitive content – interpretations and translations that have been slightly adjusted to suit the cultural and social standards of the target audience.
  • Desktop publishing (DTP) – professional translation agencies offer DTP to ensure that foreign language fonts are produced correctly.
  • Dialect – dialects are the vocabulary and grammar variations of a country’s first language. Dialects can differ between regions. For the greatest effect, translations should aim to fit the dialect of the target audience.
  • Globalisation – this is the process of sharing services and products across borders and boundaries in a way that acknowledges and uses local languages, social norms, and cultural perspectives.
  • Inbound text – a document that is intended for internal use and not usually seen by people outside of the translation agency. The document typically includes internal correspondence, work instructions, memos, and so on.
  • Localisation – this is one of those important terms in translation and it refers to the process of adapting a message to fit the economic, social, political, religious, and cultural customs of the target audience. In other words, we localise content to present your messages in a way that is more genuine and natural to the intended audience.
  • Machine translation (MT) – we use this term a lot! MT refers to a translation that is produced automatically by computer software without any involvement from a professional translator. MT translations are certainly convenient, but they do leave room for errors, which means a trained linguist is still a necessity.
  • Source file and source language – these terms refer to the original language in which your documents are written. We translate the source file or source language into the target language.
  • Closed and open captioning/subtitling – this is the art of transcribing dialogue on a video into another language for viewers who do not speak the language used in the video. Closed and open captioning targets those who are hard-of-hearing or deaf. The descriptions include detailed information so that viewers can understand what is going on, on the screen.
  • Target language – the language into which your original text will be translated.
  • Technical translation – a complex translation that required a linguistic expert, usually in finance, law, engineering, medicine, manufacturing, or computing.
  • TIFF (TIF) – this stands for Tagged Image File Format. This is regarded as a loss-less graphics file that is used to archive images.
  • TMX – stands for translation memory exchange format. This format is designed to make the exchange of translation memory data easier between translation vendors and tools.
  • XLIFF – stands for XML Localization Interchange File Format and it is a specification for multi-lingual data exchange.

These are some of the most important terms in translation to know when dealing with a professional translation agency.

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