Basic Localization Terms You Should Know
If you are a newbie in the localization industry, you might not know all the terms commonly used in this business and it’s no surprise that they give you a headache (Well, trust us, we have been there…). So to help you get started quicker, shall we give you an overview of some most-used terms in the localization business?
Table of Contents
1. Computer-Aided Translation Costs (CAT Tools)
A Computer-Assisted Translation Tool (CAT tool) is a program specifically designed for translators and linguists in the translation of documents. CAT tools aim to help translators improve their productivity and the quality of translations. CAT Tools allow translators and linguists to edit, manage, and store previous translations. Trados, MemoQ, XTM, or SmartCat to name a few are some of the most popular CAT tools that are indispensable to professional linguists.
2. Translation Memory (TM)
A Translation Memory (TM) stores the source sentences and their translation of the previous projects so that translators will then make use of these data for future projects. The Translation Memory can be a phrase, a sentence, a paragraph, or a heading.
A Translation Memory brings various benefits to translators:
(1) Translators never have to translate the same sentences twice which helps reduce the time for translating;
(2) CAT Tools stores all previous translation so the consistency of translated future projects remains. In general, the overall quality of translation improves;
(3) Translators can share assets with other translators while working on high volume projects.
3. Context Match (or Perfect Match)
Context Match is when the context and meaning of a sentence match 100% with the previous translations in Translation Memory. To put it in other words, it’s not only that the sentences were translated before but the CAT tools can also recognize the sentences around it. These are usually headings, tables, and titles. With Context Match sentences, translators can use the previous translations without changing anything.
4. 100% Match
A sentence that has the same words and format with the sentence that was translated is called 100% Match. The context of the sentence may be different so you need to check the 100% Match sentences again to avoid some surprising differences. But most of the time, translators don’t have to translate that TU again.
5. Fuzzy Match
It is called the Fuzzy Match when some words in the sentence match the previous translations. Translators have to translate these new words. Fuzzy Match is mostly divided into 4 groups: 95-99% Match, 85-94% Match, 75-84% Match, and 50-74% Match.
A termbase (TB), is a searchable database or glossary integrating into CAT Tools. To some extent, it is similar to dictionaries. It can store a single word or a short-expression for your use. While Translation Memory restores all types of words, a Termbase focuses on only terminologies. In other words, a termbase is a special type of Translation Memory. A termbase also contains reference notes and rules about the terms’ usage. When translating, the termbase suggests to you what a word or expression, say, brand names or product-specific terms should be translated accurately.
7. Machine Translation
Machine Translation is a tool or software that does all the translating tasks automatically from one language to another. No human involvement in the translating process is needed. The machine does it all for you. Google Translate, Bing Translator, or Yandex Translate to name a few are translation machines that millions of people are using.
8. Internationalization (i18n)
Internationalization refers to the technical process of planning and implementing products and services to adapt to a new language and culture. This process makes sure your products can be adapted to new languages without changing the source codes. Creating plugs suitable for new electric outlets, or allowing space in user interfaces for languages requiring more characters are some examples of internationalization. In short, internationalization can be considered as the preparation step for translation and localization.
9. Localization (L10n)
Localization is one step further than translation. Besides translating words to guarantee the accuracy of meanings, localization specialists also make changes in the layout, images, time formats, etc. to meet the target countries’ culture, social, political, legal properties and requirements. In a nutshell, localization includes translation and culture adaption.
Desktop Publishing (or DTP) is the process of using DTP and photo-imaging software to put text and graphics (including tables, graphs, pictures, etc.) together according to a certain layout and spelling rules. DTP give translated and localized documents a perfect, eye-catching, and ready-to-publish look.
Post-Editing is the process that takes advantage of both human translators and machine translation to guarantee a high-quality translation. Translation by machine cannot provide good quality since the machine cannot understand the overall context of documents. Therefore, after translated by machine, the documents will be edited by professional human linguists to bring the best result in a short time.