Glossary of Translation and Interpreting
Glossary of Translation and Interpreting

Glossary of Translation and Interpreting

CAT tool
A CAT (CAT = Computer Assisted Translation, cf. below) tool is a computer programme that supports the translator during the translation process. The most widely known CAT tools are Trados and memoQ. CAT tools are used for large-scale projects where consistent terminology and the creation of databases for future use are important. The CAT programme breaks down the text into individual segments. Generally speaking, a segment is one sentence. During the translation process, the source text segment and the corresponding segment of the target text form a translation unit. The translation units are stored in a translation memory, which is automatically accessed and enlarged as work on the translation progresses.

Certified Translation
Certified translators are translators whose translation services are certified according to a certain standard (e.g. ISO 17100). They should not be confused with the sworn and certified court translators (usually referred to as “court interpreters”), who are available for work at courts and for the authorities and whose sworn translations are recognised as official and public documents.

Computer Assisted Translation / Computer Aided Translation
Specialised computer programmes are used for translating large texts that contain frequent repetitions and where consistent terminology is important. These CAT tools break down the text into individual segments. Each segment of the source text and the corresponding segment of the target text form a translation unit, which is stored in a translation memory. Each time a segment is repeated in the source text, the corresponding translation can immediately be called up from the translation memory. As this reduces the translator’s workload and speeds up the translation process, customers may profit from significantly lower prices. 

A dialect is a regional variation of a language. Dialects can differ from the standard language on all linguistic levels. It is not always possible to say with certainty whether a linguistic system is a dialect or a language in its own right. When trying to answer this question, consideration is frequently given to aspects that have nothing to do with the language itself, but with its use as an official or national language or its existence as a literary language.

Also called proofreading or revising. The process of checking a target text for formal and/or content-related errors, poor style or grammactical errors and making the appropriate changes.

EN 15038 / ISO 17100
EN 15038 is the European standard for translation services, which was adopted by the European Committee for Standardisation (CEN) on 13 April 2006. In 2016, it was repealed and replaced by the international quality standard ISO 17100:2015.

While translating is the act of rendering written text from one language into another, interpreting is the act of rendering spoken words from one language into another. The emphasis is not upon rendering individual words or sentences verbatim, but upon actively rendering the message as a whole. Interpreting requires an extraordinary level of concentration on the part of the interpreter as he or she must listen and speak in parallel. What is said must be understood immediately (it is only rarely possible to confer with the speaker) and rendered into the target language. Traditionally a distinction is made between simultaneous interpretation, consecutive interpreting, sign language interpreting and whispered interpreting. Consecutive interpreting is very often used during negotiations or guided tours, but it takes about twice as much time in that each speaker has to stop at short intervals and wait until his or her words have been interpreted; then the foreign-language counterpart answers, this in turn is translated, and so on. In simultaneous interpretation, the interpreter renders the message in the target language while the source-language speaker is speaking. Simultaneous interpretation is sometimes called booth interpreting, because the interpreters sit in special, sound-proof booths. The congress or conference delegates listen to the interpretation via their earphones. One booth with two interpreters is required for each pair of languages. Market research is another area where simultaneous interpretation is widely prevalent. Whispered interpreting is a special format of simultaneous interpretation in that the interpreter will sit or stand directly beside the person for whom the interpretation is intended. Usual occasions are settings with few participants so that no booth or technology is warranted, e.g. a negotiation with say 10 speakers of one language and only one speaker of another language.

Language Coaching
All advisory activities in connection with linguistic topics, including language training and language tuition.

Language Service Provider
General term for interpreters and providers of translations and other language-related services (language coaching).

The processing, formatting and typesetting of a text in accordance with instructions from the customer such as length of text, visual structuring, insertion of graphics and legends, etc.

The abbreviation LICS stands for Language Industry Certification System. LICS is an international certification platform, founded by AS+ Certification, a subsidiary of the Austrian Standards Institute, and TermNet, the International Network for Terminology, with the aim of developing a globally uniform and recognised certification for the language industry.

EN 15038 defines locale as the linguistic, cultural, technical and geographical conventions of a target audience.

The process of adapting a translation of software applications, technical descriptions, operating instructions, manuals and the like for the target group’s local market.

Orthography is the correct spelling of a language. A language often has regional variations and these can often differ in terms of orthography. Particular care needs to be taken when translating to ensure that the text in the target language fulfils the function that the customer expects.

Proofreading is the act of correcting a monolingual text, not a translation. This involves checking the same elements as a revision checks, just without the comparison between the source and target text.

A language often has regional variations and one of the things that distinguishes them is the way words are pronounced. However, as long as it is only the pronunciation that differs while the grammar and orthography of the language are standardised, no special consideration needs to be given to these regional variations during the translation process.

A translation is reviewed by a reviewer who assesses the suitability of the translation and recommends corrective measures. The reviewer only reads the translation, not the original. The review can consist of assessing the translation for register and respect for the conventions of the domain in question.

The person who revises a text. He or she must have the appropriate competence in both the source and target languages.

ISO 17100 defines revision as the examination of the translation for its suitability for purpose. During this process, the source text (the original) is compared with the target text (translation). Revision includes examining the translation for register and style, correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, checking that there are no omissions or errors (conformity with the source text) and terminological consistency. According to ISO 17100 this revision must always be carried out by a second translator or a specialist from the relevant field. Revision is frequently referred to as editing. A number of sources refer to “revision” as “proofreading.” Unlike “revising”, “proofreading” is limited to checking the text for spelling errors, correct punctuation, etc. If a translation is to go into print it is highly advisable to have the translator check it once again to detect and correct any typesetting errors. 

Source Language
Language which is to be translated or interpreted into another language. If an English text is translated into German, the English text is the source text.

Sworn Translation
A sworn translation may only be carried out by a court interpreter. A court interpreter certifies the full conformity of the translation with the original document with a round seal and his or her signature. The documents that most commonly have to be submitted to the authorities with a sworn translation are marriage certificates, proof of citizenship documents, certificates, birth certificates and contracts.

Target Language
The language into which a speech is interpreted or a text is translated.

Target Text
The target text is the result of the translation process. If an English text is translated into German, the German text is the target text.

Technical Writing
The production of technical documentation from one or several source languages in a target language taking into account the language of the target group and the target culture.

Terminology Database
The use of standard technology is an integral part of the corporate identity of large companies. Multilingual terminology lists or a terminology database are often created to ensure this consistency.

Transcription is the conversion of a spoken text into a written document.

The act of rendering written information from one language (source language) into another (target language). It is important that the translation communicates the same message as the original. On average, a translator can translate 2,500 to 3,000 words a day. During the translation process, the translator must pay attention to the specific domain and client terminology, grammar and lexis, style, locale, formating, target group and the purpose of the translation.

Translation Agency
A translation agency is a company that offers translation services and other related services such as revision, technical writing, etc. In many cases, they also offer consecutive and simultaneous interpreting services. The advantage of a translation agency is that it offers translations in many languages. Thus a customer who wishes to have a brochure translated into ten languages, for example, only has to deal with one contact and saves themselves the laborious search for ten translators. The translation agency carries out the entire project management. Another advantage is that translation agencies have several translators for each language pair, which is especially important during holiday periods or for large projects.

Translation Services Provider
This is the term for individuals or companies who provide translation services.

A person who renders a written text from one language (source language) into another (target language). It is important that the translation communicates the same message as the original. On average, a translator can translate 2,500 to 3,000 words a day. During the translation process, the translator must pay attention to the specific domain and client terminology, grammar and lexis, style, locale, formatting, target group and the purpose of the translation.