Technical glossary of translation terms
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.
Once a company has identified its target market, it is essential to take the cultural factors into account. In most cases, a brand’s marketing strategy needs to be localised and adapted accordingly. Cultural target market research, analysis and understanding are key to creating relevant content and to gaining and retaining a potential customer’s interest.
See also: Adaptation, content, localisation, target market
A target market is a specific group of consumers with similar characteristics that a company has identified as potential customers. Their shared characteristics are based on demographics, including their age range, earning bracket, marital status, interests, purchasing behaviour and geographic location.
See also: Target audience
The target text is the result of a translation. When text is submitted for translation, it is referred to in technical language as the source text. The language in which the text is written is called the source language. Since different target languages have different grammatical structures and word lengths, the length of the target text can sometimes differ significantly from the length of the source text.
See also: Source language, Source text, Target language
A termbase (a contraction of “terminology” and “database”), or termbank, is a database in which product, service and company-specific terms are entered and stored. Individual terms are made available in the source and target language. Definitions, images, usage guidelines and other related information can also be added. Plus, unwanted terms can be blacklisted to prevent them from being used. At intercontact, we use several large, multilingual termbases, created by our terminology experts through their industry-specific, specialist knowledge.
In translation, terminology refers to a pool of terms used in a particular subject field, i.e. specialised words and expressions. It also refers to key phrases and terms used by a single company. Entries are created in the form of a glossary and digitally managed in multiple languages.
During the translation process at intercontact, every translator involved in a project has simultaneous access to the required terminology. Those in language lead roles can add and edit the terms and concepts in their language. These alterations are then double-checked before they are released to their colleagues.
Terminology management is an important building block in the translation process. Keeping multilingual terminology organised and up-to-date requires a system. Organising terminology – that is, establishing, defining, editing and using it – is called terminology management.
A terminology management system is a software tool where users can store, maintain and retrieve terminological data. It is used by translators, terminologists, technical writers, and various other users. The terminology is saved as separate termbases for specific industries and specific companies.
See also: Terminology, Termbase, Corporate wording
The title tag is one of the most important factors for achieving high rankings in search engines. The title tag is a part of the HTML code. Terms that are recorded in the title tag appear at the top of the browser’s title bar and are also offered as a suggestion when adding an HTML page to the browser favourites.
See also: HTML
A combination of the words translation and creation, transcreation describes a freer, more resourceful style of translation.
Most times, messaging written for one target audience won’t resonate with a culturally different group. A word-for-word literal translation could either miss the mark entirely or cause some huge, unseen problems. Transcreation, on the other hand, allows translators to capture your brand’s message and recreate it in a way that resonates with the new audience and is culturally appropriate, relevant and meaningful to the local market. They can inject their own creativity and cultural knowledge, all while staying true to the source text.
This is particularly true when it comes to translating idioms, sayings, expressions, slogans, taglines, product names and any form of marketing text.
In the linguistic world, transcription refers to the transmission of spoken language into written form, known as sound to script. Examples here include typing up a doctor’s recorded voice notes into a medical transcription, or the audio-to-text transcription of an advert. The person who performs transcriptions is a transcriber.
Phonetic transcription (also known as phonetic script or phonetic notation) is the visual representation of speech sounds using symbols. This can be a great help for non-native speakers, as it is designed to communicate the right way to pronounce words.
Learn more about: The meaning behind the term: transcription
See also: Transliteration
A translation management system (TMS) helps companies and language service providers (LSPs) to centralise and automate localisation projects and translation workflows. This is essential when projects involve multiple translation service providers, agencies, freelancers and larger language resources.
A translation memory is software that automatically records units of source text, and their translations, for future reuse. To do so, the software divides the source text into segments. The match does not have to be 100%. If the text is similar, it is suggested to the translator, who then decides whether to adopt or modify the text.
Learn more about: Translation Memories
Transliteration is the letter-for-letter transfer of words from one writing system to another (e.g. Greek to Latin letters). Transliteration is often used as an alternative to transcription.
See also: Transcription
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