January 25, 2023 | Content is king |

As a professional translator, it is essential to understand the industry’s key terms and their meanings. Whether you are a novice translator or have years of experience, a reliable lexicon of important terms can be of great assistance.

The purpose of this blog post is to provide an overview of popular key terms and their definitions in the translation industry.

Everything will be covered, including machine translation (MT), translation memory (TM), and the language services industry (LSI). This glossary will help to equip translators with the necessary knowledge to make informed decisions when it comes to their translation projects.

Source language: The language that is being translated from

Typically, the source language is the language from which a text is translated. It is essential for translators to comprehend the source language in order to translate its contents accurately and efficiently into the target language.

Knowledge of the source language is crucial to ensuring that the original intent of the text is maintained and that the translated text is as close as possible to the original.

In order to accurately convey the original meaning in the target language, a professional translator should have an in-depth understanding of the source language. To accomplish this, the translator must have a deep understanding of the grammar, syntax, and terminology of the target language.

Target language: The language that is being translated into

The language into which a translator or interpreter is attempting to convey meaning through their work is known as the target language. It is the language that the audience in question is fluent in and can comprehend. It might be in any language, from Spanish to English to Swahili or perhaps another language entirely.

It is an important part of the translation process because the text from the source language must be put into the target language in a way that is true to its meaning and style.

Translators need to have a solid understanding of both the language they are translating from and the language they are translating into in order to produce accurate translations.

Translation: The process of converting written text from one language to another

This method entails employing specialized software or human translators to create a correct and natural-sounding version of the source text in the target language. The source text can be a document, website, or other type of written media.

To effectively convey any message, professional translators must be fluent in both languages and have a thorough understanding of their respective cultures.

Translation is a crucial service that allows people from different cultures to communicate and share ideas. It is a critical component of the global economy and facilitates international trade.

Interpretation: Converting oral speech between languages

Interpretation involves converting spoken language from one language to another. It is a complex and highly skilled process that necessitates a thorough understanding of both languages as well as the ability to translate spoken words instantly.

This process is especially challenging when the languages involved have different sentence structures, as the interpreter must find an appropriate way to express the speaker’s meaning in the new language. Furthermore, interpretation must be done quickly, as the interpreter must keep up with the speaker’s rate of speech.

Professional interpreters must stay current on the most recent terminology and cultural shifts in both languages to ensure accuracy and effectiveness.

Localization: Adapting a product or service to a country’s language and culture

Localization is crucial to the success of any business strategy. It is the process of tailoring a product or service to the language and culture of a particular country or region.

It ensures that products and services are appropriate and relevant for local customers, helping them to comprehend and value the offering.

This process involves making changes to the source material, including translating text, adapting the imagery, and making cultural changes to the product or service to ensure it is culturally appropriate.

By taking the time to localize products and services, businesses can ensure that their offering resonates with customers in a particular location, resulting in better customer engagement and increased revenue.

Machine translation: The use of computer software to translate text

Machine translation is the process of translating text from one language to another using computer software. Due to advancements in artificial intelligence and machine learning, this sort of translation has grown in popularity over the past several years.

Machine translation has several advantages over human translation. It is typically faster and less expensive, and it can work with a wide range of languages.

The use of machine translation can aid in reducing human error by easily detecting structural and syntactic errors that would otherwise go undetected.

Despite these benefits, machine translation is not without flaws. It can struggle with idioms and slang, and often requires manual post-editing.

Human translation: The use of human translators to translate text

Human translators are an invaluable resource for accurately and effectively translating text. Human translators, as opposed to machine translation, can take into account nuances of language and cultural context, resulting in a more complete and accurate translation.

When translating professional or technical documents, it is essential to use a human translator, simply because they are better positioned to convey the intended message with the appropriate level of understanding.

Moreover, human translation can ensure that the style of the translation is constant throughout, resulting in a more natural reading experience.

Human translators also have the advantage of being able to produce more accurate translations of idiomatic expressions, slang, and other components of language that are notoriously challenging to translate.

CAT tools: Translation memory and terminology management software that aid human translators

CAT tools are specialized software applications that aid human translators in their work. Typically, these tools comprise Translation Memory (TM) and Terminology Management (TM) software to facilitate the translation of texts.

A translation memory (TM) keeps track of words, phrases, and sentences that have already been translated so that they can be easily retrieved and reused in future projects.

Terminology management software ensures that the same terms are used consistently throughout the translation, giving the final product a unified feel.

By using CAT tools, translators can significantly improve their speed, accuracy, and efficiency, which leads to a better translation.

Glossary: A compilation of industry-specific terms and their translations

A glossary is a valuable resource for any business or industry because it contains a comprehensive list of industry-specific words and phrases, as well as their translations. This ensures that everyone in the industry speaks the same language and understands each other.

Glossaries are particularly useful in industries that employ a great deal of technical or specialist terminology, as they ensure that all parties are on the same page.

By having a comprehensive glossary, stakeholders can avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding, allowing for more efficient and effective communication.

Glossaries are also a vital reference tool for any organization or industry, allowing employees to quickly and easily find the meaning of any terminology they encounter in the course of their work.

By providing concise and accurate definitions and translations, a glossary can help in ensuring that everyone involved in a project understands the meaning of the words used.

Linguistic validation: Ensuring translated material is accurate and culturally appropriate in the target language

Linguistic validation is a process that ensures translated material is accurate and culturally appropriate in the target language. This is an important step in effective communication because it ensures that the message you’re trying to convey is understood in the same manner by a foreign audience.

The validation process begins with a comprehensive understanding of the source material in its native language, followed by a thorough translation into the target language.

It is crucial to maintain the original content and context of the source material while also taking into account the cultural nuances of the target language.

Experienced translators, subject-matter experts, and native speakers of the target language (as well as cultural specialists who can provide light on cultural nuances) should all be used in this process.

Ultimately, linguistic validation ensures that the translated material is linguistically and culturally appropriate in the target language.

Back-translation: Checking accuracy of translated text by translating back into the source language

Back-translation is a critical procedure for ensuring the accuracy of translated text. It entails re-translating a text that has already been translated into a target language into the original source language.

This enables a professional translator to confirm that the translation is accurate and that none of the original text’s meaning has been lost in translation.

It also helps in ensuring that the text is suitable for the intended audience. Back-translation is the most reliable way to ensure that the translation is correct and that the original text’s message has been successfully conveyed in the target language.

Moreover, back-translation can be utilized for checking the accuracy of any written content, from websites to legal documents to promotional materials, and beyond.

Post-editing: Editing and polishing machine-translated content

Post-editing is a critical process in the translation industry that entails editing and polishing machine-translated content to create a final version that is high quality, accurate, and localized.

Post-editing goes beyond the traditional translation process because it requires translators to not only check the accuracy of the translation, but also make sure that the text is in line with local conventions and cultural norms.

This may involve editing the text for syntax, style, and meaning, as well as modifying the content for cultural and linguistic appropriateness.

Post-editors must be able to recognize mistakes in translations and have a keen eye for details in order to provide the highest quality post-editing. Post-editors must also be able to suggest changes to improve the content’s accuracy and readability, such as changes to grammar, vocabulary, spelling, and style.

Multilingual: Speaking or writing in multiple languages

Multilingualism is a skill that can be learned naturally or through formal education. Natural language learners learn through conversational exposure, whereas acquired learners learn through academic instruction and practice.

Multilingualism is a sought-after skill among employers, as it demonstrates proficiency in multiple cultures, heightened sensitivity to language nuances, and an increased capacity for problem solving.

Having the ability to communicate in more than one language can increase one’s social circle, expand one’s professional network, and provide access to previously unattainable opportunities.

As such, many employers now recognize the value of multilingual employees and look favorably upon them in their recruitment and hiring processes.

Bilingual: The ability to speak or write in two languages

In today’s globalized economy, the ability to speak more than one language is crucial. It facilitates interaction with more people and provides access to information that might otherwise be inaccessible.

People who are bilingual are able to communicate and connect with diverse cultures and communities, as well as gain access to a greater variety of economic and educational opportunities.

Bilingualism is also beneficial for the individual, since it can boost cognitive abilities, such as problem-solving and memory, and even prevent the onset of dementia.

To become bilingual, one must not only learn the language, but also gain an understanding for its culture.

For those learning a second language, it is important to stay motivated and to practice consistently in order to achieve the desired level of fluency.

Monolingual: The ability to speak or write in only one language

The ability to understand, read, write, and speak in only one language is referred to as monolingual-ism. While this is commonly regarded as a limitation, it can be advantageous in terms of language mastery.

Monolinguals typically have a more in-depth understanding of their chosen language, including its grammar, syntax, and regional dialects.

However, it can be difficult to communicate effectively with individuals from other cultural backgrounds when you only know one language. This can lead to a lack of cultural sensitivity and an inability to appreciate the nuances of other languages.

Opportunities in fields like translation and interpretation can be hampered as a result.

Dubbing: Switching a video’s audio track to another language

Dubbing is the replacement of a video’s audio track with a separate recording, often in a different language.

It is a widespread practice in the film, television, and video game industries, enabling a larger audience to enjoy the same content in their local tongue.

Typically, professional voice actors record their dialogue at a sound studio for dubbing. The procedure is intricate and needs tremendous attention to detail, as the dialogue must correspond to the lip movements of the on-screen characters.

The quality of the dubbing can make or break a production, so it’s important to work with professionals who have done dubbing before and can do a good job.

Subtitling: Adding foreign-language subtitles to a video or film

Subtitling is an invaluable tool for filmmakers, video producers, and content providers that wish to reach an international audience.

By adding subtitles in a foreign language to a video or film, content creators can ensure that their work can be appreciated and enjoyed by viewers who may not understand the project’s language.

Subtitling is an effective way of making media more accessible to a larger audience. In addition, subtitles can be utilized to interpret difficult-to-understand audio or on-screen text due to accents or other audio issues.

Subtitling can also be used to provide captions for deaf or hard-of-hearing viewers.

Finally, understanding these key terms and meanings will make it easier to translate any text. Understanding the distinctions between interpretation, localization, and translation is critical for becoming a successful translator. Furthermore, having a solid understanding of the source and target languages, as well as the various forms of translation and interpretation, will enable you to provide high-quality translations to your clients. You now have the tools to become a successful translator thanks to this glossary.

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