Technical glossary

Technical glossary of translation terms

Technical glossary

Occasionally, you’ll come across some unfamiliar terms on the intercontact website or when talking to people in the localisation and translation industry. You’ll find many of these terms listed here with short explanations.

Technical glossary

In the translation sector, the term adaptation refers to creative changes to a piece of text to meet the requirements of a local target market. A translation contains the most important information of the source text. An adaptation, however, is further tailored to the respective country or region in terms of style, tonality and creative expression. Adaptations are often found in the marketing sector, whereas an adaptation would not be appropriate for legal documents, for example.
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Adaptive MT is a self-learning machine translation engine, currently available from translation software experts Lilt and SDL, which adapts to the user's writing style and learns from the translator in real time. Words, sentences, context, style and terminology are adopted and applied to future translations. AdaptiveMT, the name of the software offered by SDL, is available for a number of language pairs and is particularly useful for translations from English.

The ALT attribute is written copy that describes images and graphics found on a website. If an image is not displayed/not displayed correctly (e.g. due to outdated browsers or activated tracking protection), the short description stored in the ALT text is displayed as an alternative (hence the "ALT"). Programs for people with visual impairments also use this alternative. ALT attributes are important for the search engine optimisation, because search engine crawlers and bots can read the image content. A good ALT attribute includes a short description of the image and a keyword.

Synonyms - ALT tag

Every document to be translated is analysed in order to calculate the word count, or number of words, and establish the match rate. To do this, the text is imported into a translation program and automatically cross-checked with the existing translation memory. This process analyses whether words, sentences or entire text passages have been translated before (these are "matches") and whether there are repetitions. The resulting analysis assigns all the words to the categories new words, repetitions and matches with percentages. Repetitions and matches generally cost less for the customer, as they require less manual intervention in the translation.

Synonyms - Source text analysis

An API is an "Application Programming Interface" that creates a connection between computers or computer programs. It connects software and hardware components and unifies the transfer of data between different modules or programs during programming. APIs translate software into machine language, making it readable by different components. As data transmitters, APIs act as an exchange point between different websites and programs.

See also: REST API

Synonyms - Application programming interface
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