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Localization Glossary – Localization Terms You Should Know

Posted by Anne Q. on December 19, 2023.

The localization world is full of terminologies, acronyms, abbreviations, and phrases that can be a challenge if you are inexperienced in the industry. The localization world is full of terminologies, acronyms, abbreviations, and phrases that can be a challenge if you are inexperienced in the industry. Don’t worry, though; we have created a localization glossary with the most common and basic localization terms that will help you get some insights into the localization industry.

Translation (t8n)

Translation is the process of converting words from one language to another so that the target audience can understand the meanings of them. Translation refers to written language while interpreters refer to spoken languages. The ultimate goal of translation is to guarantee the meanings and accuracy of the source documents.


Localization (L10n)

Localization is the process of adapting a product or services to a specific country or region. It can be said that 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.

The aim of localization is to give a product the look and feel of having been created specifically for a target market, no matter their language, culture, or location.


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.

Localization and Internationalization


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.


Back Translation

Back translation is the process of re-translating a document which was previously translated into another language, back to the original language. Back translation is a quality assessment tool that helps you identify errors, ambiguities, sensitive details, and cross-cultural misunderstandings, giving you accurate and precise translation before you published the translated document.


Style Guide

A translation style guide is a guideline that clients made for translators to follow while handling the translation projects. A style guide usually includes a set of rules about writing style, translation tone, spelling, punctuations, brand voice, and other textual and visual elements. It helps translators remain a consistent brand voice for the documents as well as reducing time for sending back-and-forth emails to discuss the basic rules or reworking after the first delivery.

Learn how to create a good style guide.


Translation Glossary

A translation glossary is a list of standardized key terminology appeared in documents that need translating. It may also contain your company approved translations for those terms or their definitions.

The format of a translation glossary includes 3 elements:

(1) Terms in the source language (Required)

(2) Terms’ definition (Required)

(3) Approved translations of the terms (Optional)

Some people might be confused between this localization term and the term ‘style guide’. While a translation style guide focuses on the presentation of your content, a translation glossary includes terminologies or words that have unique meanings in the content’s context.

Get free translation glossary guide and sample.



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.



LQA stands for Linguistic Quality Assessment. LQA is the process of evaluating the translation quality by identifying areas for improvement then implementing the necessary changes. An LQA form is usually used during this process. Reviewers will check the translated documents to find errors and fill them in the LQA in the suitable error categories and error severity.



API is short for Application Programming Interface. It is a software intermediary that allows different applications to interact with each other and share data.


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.


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.


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.


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.

100% Match


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.

Fuzzy Match - Localization term



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.



Single language vendor (SLV) is a translation agency offering translation and localization services for only ONE language pair, for example, English to Vietnamese.



Multi-language vendor (MLV) is a localization term for agencies offers localization services for various languages, for instance, English to all Asian languages. MLV sometimes outsource tasks to SLVs and focus on project management.



LSP stands for Language service provider. This is a general localization term used to refer to any company providing translation, interpreting, localization, and other language services.

Whether you are a newbie in the localization industry or a company starts going global and looking for a translation partner, we hope this localization glossary including some of the most commonly used localization terms will help you quickly get familiar with this industry.

Wrap up

Localization Glossary - Localization Terms

GTE Localize has supplied high-quality translation and localization services for all major languages to various B2B customers globally. We make use of CAT Tools and other latest technologies for all translation and localization projects to guarantee clients the best translations at the most budget-saving price and quick turnaround time.

Let us be your translation and localization partners in global markets. Talk to our localization experts and kick off your localization projects today!