Every industry has its own specific language. Translators and interpreters are no exception.

This translation glossary offers you a selection of specific terms and generic industry terminology.

We hope you will find it useful!

    A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Z
  • Aback to top

    A language
    The mother-tongue or language of habitual use of a translator or interpreter.

    accredited translator
    Translator who has received accreditation from a professional institute such as the Italian ITI or the American ATA. Accreditation – a requirement for membership – is usually issued on the basis of examination and experience.

    Association of Court and Police Interpreters (UK).

    active interpretation
    Generally into one’s native language or a language of which the interpreter has an equal command.

    Modifying a text to make it suitable for a different purpose, target readership, region or country. Regional adaptation is a part of localisation. In translation, the adaptation can be carried out, for example by the translator, an editor or a copywriter.

    In linguistics, combining short words or word elements into a single word in order to express compound ideas.

    Italian Translators and Interpreters Association.

    alignment, text alignment
    Text alignment is the process of organising different language versions of a text in order to be able to identify equivalent terms, phrases, or expressions.

    Ambiguity is a state whereby a word or sentence can be understood in different ways; the former because the word has more than one meaning or the latter because either the ambiguity of a word is not resolved by the context of the sentence or the structure of the sentence can be analysed in such a way as to convey more than one meaning. Ambiguity can only be resolved by understanding context. The word within its sentence, the sentence within the discourse.


    ASCII is the worldwide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the uppercase and lowercase Latin letters, numbers, punctuation and other symbols.

    American Translators Association.

    Association of Translation Companies (UK).

  • Bback to top

    B language
    A language that a translator or interpreter can speak, read and write almost as well as their native language ( or A language) and well enough to translate into as well as out of.

    back translation
    The process of translating a document that has already been translated into another language back to the original language – preferably by an independent translator.

    background information
    Information relating to the subject matter of the source text or the topic of discussion. Facilitates the translator’s or interpreter’s task by providing context, terminology, definitions.

    background text
    Text in the source or target language providing background information about the subject matter of the text to be translated.

    bidirectional text (bidi)
    A mixture of characters within a text where some are read from left to right and others from right to left. Bidirectional refers to an application which allows for this variance.

    Mobile digital simultaneous interpretation system, consisting of a microphone and headset for the interpreter and receiver headsets for listeners. Extremely manageable, the system can be used when the interpreter needs to move around in order to follow the speaker and participants, for example during a factory visit, or for short meetings with a limited number of people, but since this system does not allow any degree of soundproofing, it is only recommended when a fixed interpretation system with booths is impractical.

    Someone with communicative skills in two languages. The term is often reserved for someone with native or near-native proficiency in two languages. Bilingualism is one of several requisite abilities of an interpreter.

    Short line or paragraph that appears below a link, summarising the content of a web page about to be visited.

    booth, mobile booth
    Booth for simultaneous interpretation consisting of modular panels, to be installed only for the duration of the event. Mobile booths must be designed in full compliance with ISO 4043.

    BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China).

  • Cback to top

    C language
    For a simultaneous interpreter, the C language is a passive language, namely that from which they translate.

    The caption or subtitle that accompanies a photo in a book, newspaper or magazine, but also in brochures, leaflets or websites.

    carbon copy
    Literal translation which reproduces the structure of the source language in the target language.

    Computer Aided Language Learning.

    A form of education in which the student learns by executing special training programs on a computer.

    Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

    certified translation
    A translation that has been reviewed by a translator or translation company and considered an accurate and correct reflection of the source text. To have legal status, certification must be performed before a notary public.

    characterset or charset
    A defined set of characters used by a specific computer system where no coded representation is assumed. It is a mapping of characters from a writing system into a set of binary codes such as ANSI or Unicode.

    chef d’équipe
    In a team of simultaneous interpreters, this is the chief interpreter who liaises with the conference organiser and is in charge of coordinating the other interpreters, acting as spokesperson with speakers to request information and reference material, bringing attention to any difficulties encountered by colleagues and handling any unforeseen problems that arise during the translation service.

    chuchotage (whispered interpreting)
    Whispered simultaneous interpretation of spoken words into a language understood by the listener.

    Chartered Institute of Linguists (UK)

    computer-aided translation (CAT), computer-assisted ~, machine-aided or -assisted ~
    Translation with the aid of computer programs that contain a database in which all previously translated sentences are stored together with the corresponding source text. If, during translation, a sentence appears that is similar to or identical with a previously translated sentence, the program suggests the found target sentence as a possible translation. The translator then decides whether to accept, edit or reject the proposed sentence.

    CJKV Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

    CJKV Chinese, Japanese, Korean and Vietnamese.

    Cross-lingual Application.

    A system used to store and subsequently find and retrieve large amounts of data. CMSs were not originally designed to synchronize translation and localization of content, so most have been partnered with globalization management systems (GMS).

    combination, language combination
    The languages between which a translator or interpreter works.

    competence, specialised language competence
    Familiarity with the relevant subject matter and command of its special language conventions.

    competence, translating competence
    Ability to render text into the target language correctly in terms of language, subject matter and idiomatic style, having regard to the function of both the source text and the target text.

    computational linguistics
    The engineering of systems that process or analyse written or spoken natural language. It is concerned with the computational aspects of the human language. Its goal is to provide computers with the ability to produce and interpret human language.

    conference interpreter
    Interpreter with highly specialised skills who provides simultaneous or consecutive interpretation.

    consecutive interpretation
    Specialised oral translation of a speaker’s words, delivered when the speaker has finished speaking or during pauses left by the speaker for the translation. Compared to liaison interpreting, consecutive interpreting is more formal, with the interpreter taking notes to assist in the memorisation of long speeches, and is generally used for conventions and official events.

    controlled language
    Controlled language is language which has been designed to restrict the size of the vocabulary and/or the structure of language used, in order to make recognition and processing easier. This is an approach which is particularly valid in certain environments; typical uses of controlled language are in areas where precision of language and speed of response is critical such as the police and emergency services, aircraft pilots, air traffic control, etc. Nowadays, controlled language is also increasingly used in technical documentation, namely in the field of content management for producing industrial manuals.

    controlled vocabulary
    The standardisation of words which may be used to search an index, abstract or information database. There is usually a published listing of thesaurus of preferred terms identifying the system’s vocabulary.

    convention, text type convention
    Set of rules of grammar or terminology to be observed for the text in question.

    Adaptation of a text (in the case in point, a translation) aimed exclusively at marketing a product, idea or image. This is generally carried out post-translation by an advertising agency or copywriter.

    A corpus is a body of language, either text or speech, which has been collected and annotated for uses, such as: analysis of language to establish its characteristics, analysis of human behaviour (in terms of their use of language) in certain situations, training a system, usually to adapt its behaviour to particular linguistic circumstances, verifying empirically a theory concerning language, providing a test set for a language engineering technique or application to establish how well it works in practice. There are national corpora of hundreds of millions of words but there are also corpora which are constructed for particular purposes. For example, a corpus could comprise recordings of car drivers speaking to a simulation of a voice operated control system which recognises spoken commands. Such a corpus is then used to help establish the user requirements for a voice operated control system for the market.

    court interpreter
    Interpreter with special subject knowledge, providing interpretation during legal proceedings. Requirements regarding accreditation and certification for court interpreting vary from country to country.

    An external format that determines the layout of tagged file formats such as HTML.

  • Dback to top

    data mining
    Extraction of terms from a corpus of documents based on statistical and morpho-syntactic criteria, for the purpose of producing glossaries, dictionaries and databases.

    The delocalisation of a linguistic product stems from the fact that you are writing or translating a text into another language in relation to the spoken language in that particular country in which the editor or the translator of the text lives.

    desktop publishing (DTP)
    Desktop Publishing service provided in addition to translation which requires knowledge and use of specific programs.

    A mark or sign placed under, over or through a Latin script character which indicates a modification in the phonetic value of the character with which it is associated.

    A complex speech sound that begins with one vowel sound and gradually changes to another within the same syllable.

    The process of rewriting or reconstructing a sentence in order to rule out one of its possible meanings.

    A knowledge domain that a user is interested in or is communicating about.

    dominant language
    language of habitual use – The language in which a person habitually expresses himself.

    Document Type Definition states what tags and attributes are used to describe content in an SGML document, where each tag is allowed, and which tags can appear within other tags.

    A procedure whereby the original voice contained in an audiovisual product (advertisement, film, TV series, etc.) is replaced with that of a dubber.