Terms used in the translation industry

A

Accreditation

Accredited translator

Apostille

B

Back Translation

Bilingual

C

CAT (Computer-aided translation)

Certified Translation

Consecutive Interpretation

Controlled Language

Copywriting

Court interpreter

D

Desktop publishing (DTP)

Diacritic

Dialect

Dongle

E

Editing

Eurodicautom

F

Federal Court Interpreter

File transfer protocol (FTP)

First Language

Freelance Translator

Full match

Fuzzy match

G

Gist Translation

Globalization

Glossarisation

Glossary

H

HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

I- J- K

In-house translator

Internationalization

Interpretation, Interpreting

Interpreter

ISO-639

L

Language pair

Lexicography

Lingua Franca

Linguist

Linux

Localization

M

Machine-aided translation (MAT)

Machine translation (MT)

Morphology

Mother Tongue

N

Native Language

Neutral Spanish

Notarized Translation

Notary Public

O

OCR (Optical character recognition)

Operating System

Outsource

P

PDF

Per-word rate

Plug-ins

Project Manager (PM)

Proofreading

Q

Quality assurance (QA)

R

Repetitions

S

Segment

Simultaneous interpretation

Source Language

Standard Spanish

T

Target Language

TMX (Translation Memory eXchange)

Translation

Translation memory (TM)

Translation unit (TU)

Translator

Typesetting

U

Unicode

Universal Spanish

V

Voice-over

W

Word Count

X – Y – Z

XML

 

Accreditation

A formal process for evaluating the competence of a translator. This may include elements such as examinations and a review of educational qualifications and professional experience, etc.

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Accredited Translator

A translator who has received accreditation from a professional association.

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Apostille

A simplified and standardized form that is used for the purpose of providing a certification of certain public documents relating to adoption, including notarized documents, that is used in countries that are in compliance with the provisions of the Hague Convention. This simplified form contains standardized numbered fields of certain common and essential types of information, which allows the data to be understood by all participating countries regardless of the official language of the issuing country. The completed apostille form certifies the authenticity of the signature on the documents, the capacity in which the person signing the documents has acted, and identifies the seal and/or stamp that the document bears.

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Back Translation

Back Translation is the process of translating a document that has already been translated into a foreign language back to the source language – preferably by an independent translator.

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Bilingual

A description applied to a person who is able to speak a primary language fluently and a secondary language with native or near-native proficiency in lexicon, semantics, phonology  morphology/syntax, and pragmatics.

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CAT (Computer-aided translation)

Also known as “Computer-assisted translation”. Computer technology applications which assist in the act of translating text from one language to another.

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Certified Translation

In the United States, a certified translation consists of a statement signed by the translator and notarized by a Notary Public, attesting that the translator believes the translation to be accurate and complete. This should be attached to the original document and translation. Sometimes this statement is called a “Certificate of Accuracy.”

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Consecutive Interpretation

The interpreter waits for speaker to pause and interprets each section immediately afterward.

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Controlled Language

Language with a restricted vocabulary and restricted rules of formulation. Used, for example, in technical documentation to make the text easier to understand for users or for nonnative speakers and to facilitate translation. Refers also to Common Logic Controlled English (CLCE) where the design goal is to stay as close as possible to precise, carefully written English while supporting automated translation to first-order logic.

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Copywriting

Copywriting is the process of writing the words that promote a business, opinion, or idea. It may be used as plain text, as a radio or television advertisement, or in a variety of other media. The main purpose of writing this marketing copy, or promotional text, is to persuade the listener or reader to act – to buy a product or subscribe to a certain viewpoint, for instance. Alternatively, copy might also be intended to dissuade a reader from a particular belief or action. Advertising copy for non-English speaking target markets should always be created by someone familiar with the language, culture and colloquialisms of the target country or region.

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Court interpreter

A court interpreter interprets for people who come before the courts and cannot communicate effectively in the language used during the hearing. These include defendants and witnesses in criminal courts as well as litigants and witnesses in family and civil courts. Interpreters also work in out-of-court settings such as attorney-client meetings, depositions, witness preparation sessions, and interviews with court support personnel.

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Desktop publishing (DTP)

Using computers to lay out text and graphics for printing in magazines, newsletters, brochures and so on. A good DTP system provides precise control over templates, styles, fonts, sizes, color, paragraph formatting, images and fitting text into irregular shapes. When translating a document, a bilingual DTP service is needed.

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Diacritic

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.

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Dialect

A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists: A regional or social variety of a language distinguished by pronunciation, grammar, or vocabulary, especially a variety of speech differing from the standard literary language or speech pattern of the culture in which it exists: Castillian is a dialect of Spanish.

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Dongle

A security or copy-protection device for commercial computer programs. Programs can use a dongle query at the start of a program to determine if the registration is valid and to terminate if the correct code is not present.

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Editing

The process of making changes or corrections to a document’s existing content in order to improve the final results or to fit a format (this includes elements such as the flow and organization of text, , continuity of content, grammar, spelling and punctuation.) The editor also ensures that the content no longer reads like a translation, but reads as if it was originally crafted in the target language.

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Eurodicautom

Eurodicautom is the European Commission’s multilingual term bank. Eurodicautom covers a broad spectrum of human knowledge, but is particularly rich in technical and specialised terminology (agriculture, telecommunications, transport, legislation, finance) related to EU policy.

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Federal Court Interpreter

A court interpreter who has passed the examination to assess competency to interpret during federal court proceedings, given under the Court Interpreters Act of 1978.

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File transfer protocol (FTP)

File transfer protocol (FTP) is a common way to move files between host computers and sometimes personal computers.

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First Language

A person’s first language, native language or mother tongue is the language that was learned first by the person. Thus, the person is called a native speaker of the language

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Freelance Translator

Self-employed translator, who works for a variety of clients on a per-project basis.  Often specializes in one or more particular fields, such as legal, financial, medical, or technical.

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Full match

Also known as “100% match.” A source text segment which corresponds exactly (100%) with a previously stored sentence in a translation memory (TM) tool.

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Fuzzy match

Refers to the situation when a sentence or phrase in a translation memory (TM) is similar (but not a 100% match) to the sentence or phrase the translator is currently working on. The TM tool calculates the degree of similarity (or “fuzziness”) as a percentage figure.

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Gist Translation

A less-than-perfect translation performed by machine or automatic translation.

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Globalization

Globalization refers to a broad range of processes necessary to prepare and launch products and company activities internationally. It addresses the business issues associated with launching a product globally, such as integrating localization throughout a company after proper internationalization and product design.

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Glossarisation

Refers to the process of locating and translating product specific terminology. All available materials undergo a linguistic review, then are compiled and translated to ensure consistency and fluency among different versions.

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Glossary

A translation glossary is intended to ensure consistent terminology in the translation – that a particular term in English always becomes the same term in the translated text. It eliminates the problem of referring to the same concept or same component by different names in different places in the documentation. Glossaries are essential tools for translators.

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HyperText Markup Language (HTML)

HyperText Markup Language (HTML) is a markup language that uses tags to structure text into headings, paragraphs, lists and links, and tells a web browser how to display text and images on a web page.

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In-house translator

In-house translators generally work a fixed, full-time schedule at a company. These positions offer the promise of guaranteed income and a steady flow of projects, plus a support team at the company that takes care of all the logistics that a freelancer must manage alone. In-house translation positions allow linguists to acquire lots of experience, but translators in this environment generally focus on just one subject.

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Internationalization

Internationalization is a way of designing and producing products that can be easily adapted to different locales. This requires extracting all language, country/regional and culturally dependent elements from a product. In other words, the process of developing an application whose feature design and code design do not make assumptions based on a single locale, and whose source code simplifies the creation of different local editions of a program, is called internationalization.

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Interpretation, Interpreting

Interpretation, or interpreting, is an activity that consists of establishing, either simultaneously or consecutively, oral communications between two or more speakers who are not speaking the same language.

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Interpreter

An interpreter provides oral (spoken) translation of a speaker’s words from one language into another.

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ISO-639

ISO 639 is one of several international standards that list short codes for language names.

ISO 639: Two-letter Language Codes

Sorted by Language

Sorted by Language Code

Abkhazian AB AA Afar
Afar AA AB Abkhazian
Afrikaans AF AF Afrikaans
Albanian SQ AM Amharic
Amharic AM AR Arabic
Arabic AR AS Assamese
Armenian HY AY Aymara
Assamese AS AZ Azerbaijani
Aymara AY BA Bashkir
Azerbaijani AZ BE Byelorussian
Bashkir BA BG Bulgarian
Basque EU BH Bihari
Bengali, Bangla BN BI Bislama
Bhutani DZ BN Bengali, Bangla
Bihari BH BO Tibetan
Bislama BI BR Breton
Breton BR CA Catalan
Bulgarian BG CO Corsican
Burmese MY CS Czech
Byelorussian BE CY Welsh
Cambodian KM DA Danish
Catalan CA DE German
Chinese ZH DZ Bhutani
Corsican CO EL Greek
Croatian HR EN English, American
Czech CS EO Esperanto
Danish DA ES Spanish
Dutch NL ET Estonian
English, American EN EU Basque
Esperanto EO FA Persian
Estonian ET FI Finnish
Faeroese FO FJ Fiji
Fiji FJ FO Faeroese
Finnish FI FR French
French FR FY Frisian
Frisian FY GA Irish
Gaelic (Scots Gaelic) GD GD Gaelic (“Scots Gaelic”)
Galician GL GL Galician
Georgian KA GN Guarani
German DE GU Gujarati
Greek EL HA Hausa
Greenlandic KL HI Hindi
Guarani GN HR Croatian
Gujarati GU HU Hungarian
Hausa HA HY Armenian
Hebrew IW IA Interlingua
Hindi HI IE Interlingue
Hungarian HU IK Inupiak
Icelandic IS IN Indonesian
Indonesian IN IS Icelandic
Interlingua IA IT Italian
Interlingue IE IW Hebrew
Inupiak IK JA Japanese
Irish GA JI Yiddish
Italian IT JW Javanese
Japanese JA KA Georgian
Javanese JW KK Kazakh
Kannada KN KL Greenlandic
Kashmiri KS KM Cambodian
Kazakh KK KN Kannada
Kinyarwanda RW KO Korean
Kirghiz KY KS Kashmiri
Kirundi RN KU Kurdish
Korean KO KY Kirghiz
Kurdish KU LA Latin
Laothian LO LN Lingala
Latin LA LO Laothian
Latvian, Lettish LV LT Lithuanian
Lingala LN LV Latvian, Lettish
Lithuanian LT MG Malagasy
Macedonian MK MI Maori
Malagasy MG MK Macedonian
Malay MS ML Malayalam
Malayalam ML MN Mongolian
Maltese MT MO Moldavian
Maori MI MR Marathi
Marathi MR MS Malay
Moldavian MO MT Maltese
Mongolian MN MY Burmese
Nauru NA NA Nauru
Nepali NE NE Nepali
Norwegian NO NL Dutch
Occitan OC NO Norwegian
Oriya OR OC Occitan
Oromo, Afan OM OM Oromo, Afan
Pashto, Pushto PS OR Oriya
Persian FA PA Punjabi
Polish PL PL Polish
Portuguese PT PS Pashto, Pushto
Punjabi PA PT Portuguese
Quechua QU QU Quechua
Rhaeto-Romance RM RM Rhaeto-Romance
Romanian RO RN Kirundi
Russian RU RO Romanian
Samoan SM RU Russian
Sangro SG RW Kinyarwanda
Sanskrit SA SA Sanskrit
Serbian SR SD Sindhi
Serbo-Croatian SH SG Sangro
Sesotho ST SH Serbo-Croatian
Setswana TN SI Singhalese
Shona SN SK Slovak
Sindhi SD SL Slovenian
Singhalese SI SM Samoan
Siswati SS SN Shona
Slovak SK SO Somali
Slovenian SL SQ Albanian
Somali SO SR Serbian
Spanish ES SS Siswati
Sudanese SU ST Sesotho
Swahili SW SU Sudanese
Swedish SV SV Swedish
Tagalog TL SW Swahili
Tajik TG TA Tamil
Tamil TA TE Tegulu
Tatar TT TG Tajik
Tegulu TE TH Thai
Thai TH TI Tigrinya
Tibetan BO TK Turkmen
Tigrinya TI TL Tagalog
Tonga TO TN Setswana
Tsonga TS TO Tonga
Turkish TR TR Turkish
Turkmen TK TS Tsonga
Twi TW TT Tatar
Ukrainian UK TW Twi
Urdu UR UK Ukrainian
Uzbek UZ UR Urdu
Vietnamese VI UZ Uzbek
Volapuk VO VI Vietnamese
Welsh CY VO Volapuk
Wolof WO WO Wolof
Xhosa XH XH Xhosa
Yiddish JI YO Yoruba
Yoruba YO ZH Chinese
Zulu ZU ZU Zulu

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Language pair

Language pair is the term used to denote the source language and the target language involved in text translation. The source language is translated into the target language. For example the language pair English-Spanish (en-es) means that English will be translated into Spanish.

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Lexicography

The science or practice of compiling dictionaries, based on a study of the form, meaning, and behavior of the words in a given language.

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Lingua Franca

A language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different.

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Linguist

Someone who is proficient in several languages. A student or practitioner of the subject of linguistics (the scientific study of languages and their structures).

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Linux

A free open-source UNIX-type operating system which runs on a number of hardware platforms.

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Localization

Localization is the process of adapting a product or service for a particular country or region. This includes translation, but goes beyond it. Localization means making sure that graphics, colors, and sound effects are culturally appropriate, and that things like dates, calendars, measurement units and monetary notations are in the correct format.

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Machine-aided translation (MAT)

Computer technology applications which assist in the translation of text from one spoken language to another, based on the concept of translation memory (TM) and the reuse of previously translated terms and sentences.

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Machine translation (MT)

A technology that translates text from one human language to another, using terminology glossaries and advanced grammatical, syntactic and semantic analysis techniques.

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Morphology

The branch of grammar which studies the structure or forms of words. The main branches are inflectional morphology, derivational morphology and compounding.

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Mother Tongue

A person’s first language, native language or mother tongue is the language that was learned first by the person. Thus, the person is called a native speaker of the language.

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Native Language

A person’s first language, native language or mother tongue is the language that was learned first by the person. Thus, the person is called a native speaker of the language.

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Neutral Spanish, Universal Spanish, Standard Spanish

Neutral Spanish, commonly referred to as Global Spanish, Standard Spanish or Universal Spanish, is a variation of the Spanish language used to allow the majority of Spanish speakers to understand the message without the use of local terminology and certain verb tenses.

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Notarized Translation

A notarized translation is a translation that is signed and dated by the translator in the presence of a Notary Public.

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Notary Public

A Notary Public is an officer who can administer oaths and statutory declarations, witness and authenticate documents and perform certain other acts varying from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Generally speaking, a notary public in the United States of America has powers that are far more limited than the role of a civil law notary in the rest of the world. A Notary Public may notarize a Certified Translation if required.

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OCR (Optical character recognition)

The translation of optically scanned bitmaps of printed or written text characters into character codes such as ASCII. Most OCR systems use a combination of hardware and software to recognize characters.

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Operating System

The software that drives the hardware associated with a computer system.

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Outsource

To hire a third-party provider to perform tasks or services often performed in-house.

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PDF

Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) allows users to convert any PostScript Language output into an online hypertext document. PDF documents can be shared across all platforms while maintaining the documents’ printed look and feel. PDF is code page, application, and media independent—PDF files are viewed in Adobe Acrobat Reader, which can be downloaded and distributed from the Web for free.

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Per-word rate

Industry standard for assessing cost of a translation.  The per-word rate can be quoted based on the word count in the source text or in the target text.

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Plug-ins

Software modules that add a specific feature or service to a larger system.

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Project Manager (PM)

In the translation industry, this is the person in charge of managing a translation project. He/she is responsible for liaising between customer and translators, coordinating the translation work, maintaining the terminology database and ensuring consistency of style and terminology.

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Proofreading

Proofreading means the critical revision of a text. In translation, this task mainly consists of checking aspects of spelling, grammar and syntax plus the general coherence and integrity of the target text. Some translation agencies include proofreading by an independent translator in their translation service.

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Quality assurance (QA)

All those planned and systematic actions necessary to ensure that a product or service will satisfy certain quality requirements.

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Repetitions

A sentence or phrase that occurs more than once in the source text, but has no corresponding match in the translation memory.

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Segment

A discreet piece (chunk) of text, such as a phrase, sentence or heading that is stored as a unit in a translation memory together with its translation.

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Simultaneous interpretation

The interpreter usually sits in a booth in front of a microphone, listens through headphones to the incoming message in the source language and communicates it over the microphone to whoever is listening in the target language.

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Source Language

The language in which the document that is to be translated was originally written.

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Target Language

The language in which the document that is to be translated is converted to.

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TMX (Translation Memory eXchange)

TMX (Translation Memory eXchange) is the vendor-neutral open XML standard for the exchange of Translation Memory (TM) data created by Computer Aided Translation (CAT) and localization tools.

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Translation

The process of translating words or text from one language into another.

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Translation memory (TM)

A special database that stores previously translated sentences which can then be reused, in full or in part, on a sentence-by-sentence basis. The database matches source to target language
pairs.

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Translation unit (TU)

A segment of a text that the translator treats as a single cognitive unit for the purposes of establishing an equivalence. The translation unit may be a single word, a phrase, one or more sentences, or even a larger unit.

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Translator

A translator converts written material from one language into another. This is not to be confused with an interpreter, who performs the same function with spoken material, such as speeches, presentations, depositions and the like. Although there is a connection between the abilities involved in translation and interpretation, translators cannot necessarily interpret, nor can interpreters necessarily translate.

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Typesetting

Typesetting involves the presentation of textual material in graphic form on paper or some other medium. With advancing technology nearly all “typesetting” is now done by computer.

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Unicode

Unicode is the universal character encoding, maintained by the Unicode Consortium. This encoding standard provides the basis for processing, storage and interchange of text data in any language in all modern software and information technology protocols.

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Voice-over

Voice-over is used as a form of language transfer or translation. Viewers of news programs are familiar with the voice-over translation of statements or responses of interviewees who do not speak in the language of the viewing audience. Inherited from radio, this form of language transfer allows the first and last few words in the original language to be heard, and then fades them down for revoicing a full translation. The voice-over should be synchronous with the speaker’s talk, except when a still picture is used to replace footage or live broadcast.

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Word Count

A standard measure of the size of an original or a translated text. Since word count can vary between languages, it is crucial to specify whether the per-word rate being quoted refers to the source or target language. In general, a Spanish document will be twenty percent longer than its English counterpart so, if you are translating a document from English to Spanish, make sure that the translation provider charges per source word. Also, in this way, you will know the cost for your translation project in advance.

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XML

XML eXtensible Markup Language, a programming language/specification, is a pared-down version of SGML, an international standard for the publication and delivery of electronic information, designed especially for web documents.

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