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 order to be found on the Internet, a website or an online shop should be optimised for search engines. Terms (keywords) that a user searches for must be contained within the text. The most relevant keywords should not only be included in the national language of the website or online shop, but also in all the other languages it offers. It is important to note here that simply translating these keywords directly does not always work. Often, the words need to be localised for them to be found in other countries.

In addition to keywords, certain HTML techniques, e.g. metadata, contribute to a page being found more quickly. The so-called robots or spiders of the search engine operators search the internet (called "crawling"), read in the content and categorise web pages based on the text they contain.

See also: Localisation, HTML, Metadata, SEO translation

Synonyms - SEO, search engine optimization

In the field of translation, a segment is a unit of text. These can be sentences, sub-sentences, headings, or even individual words (e.g. in lists). When working with a translation memory, the TM breaks down the source text into separate, smaller sections, or segments.

The segment pairs (source text and translation) are stored in the TM and are automatically suggested to the translator as soon as the same source segment appears again. This enables the translator to work consistently and efficiently.

See also: Translation memory

SEO translation (Search Engine Optimised translation) involves translating a text from one language to another while using the keywords that the target audience is actually searching for locally in that country.

SEO translation is very important when introducing a brand to a global audience. It makes a website more visible and easier to find, creates a higher overall SEO ranking and makes sure that the product or service is properly understood and received in other languages and cultures.

See also: Search Engine Optimisation, Keywords

Synonyms - search engine optimised translation, SEO translation, SEO friendly translation

The source language refers to the original language of a piece of text which is to be translated.

See also: Source text, target language, target text


The source text is the original piece of text that a translator is given to translate into another language. A translator translates source text from the source language into the target text in the desired target language.

See also: Source language, Target language, Target text

A specialist translator is a translator who specialises in a particular subject area, e.g. marketing or technology, and has particular expertise in this subject area. Comprehensive technical and linguistic knowledge is required for each respective field.

A style guide sets out guidelines for a company’s uniform appearance, called their corporate identity. This includes the use of their logo, colours, typography and fonts as well as the visual language. The visual language goes beyond simple brand standards and defines the company’s chosen styles for illustrations, icons and data visualisation for everything connected to their brand. In addition to this, style guides include company-specific parameters for spelling, punctuation and tonality.

As an example:

  • Brand name always in capitals
  • Headings have no full stop at the end
  • Currency information given with the € symbol, placed before the digits, with a space in between
  • Weight information given in kg and pounds/ounces, placed after the digits, with a space in between
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