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By Fabiano Cid
May 1, 2020

Glossary of Translation Industry Terms

If you are new to the localization industry, we hope you will enjoy this brief localization glossary with some frequently used words and phrases.

100% Match

If the content of a segment in the translation memory is an exact match to the segment in the document being translated, we have a 100% match. To qualify as a 100% match, the entire content (text and formatting) of both the source segment and the segment in the translation memory must be exactly the same.


Acronym that stands for Beginning of Business. This is frequently used to specify the delivery time of a project.

CAT Tool

CAT means Computer Aided Translation, referring not to machine translation (see MT below), but to the translation done with the help of a software tool whose features increase the translator’s productivity, reduce costs and provide quality assurance capabilities, terminology databases and more.


Acronym used to refer to the following languages: Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean.

Context Match

A context match is better than a 100% match. To qualify as a context match, the segment in the translation memory (see TM below) must be a 100% match for the segment in the translated document, and the two segments must be in the same context; namely, both segments must be preceded by the same text in the source document. Context matching is only possible because context information is stored in the translation memory. When you add a new translation to the TM, three segments are added: the segment in the source document, the translated segment, and the segment preceding the segment in the source document. If there is no preceding segment, other contextual information is available, such as information that the segment was the document header, for example.


Deliverable is a term used in project management to describe a tangible or intangible object produced as a result of the project that is intended to be delivered to a customer (either internal or external). A deliverable could be a report, a document, a server upgrade or any other building block of an overall project.


DTP stands for Desktop Publishing. It is the process of replicating the layout and formatting of the source document in the translated document.


The second step of the translation process. In the editing phase, the translated text is checked against the source text. This task is also called review, when two texts in different languages are compared.


Acronym that means End of Business. This is also used to specify the delivery time of a project.


Acronym used to refer to the main European languages: French, Italian, German and Spanish.

Fuzzy, Fuzzy Match or Fuzzy Matching

Fuzzy matching is a technique used in computer-assisted translation and other information technology applications. It works with matches that may be less than 100% perfect when finding correspondences between segments of a text and entries in a translation database. It is used when the translator is working with a translation memory (TM), and the fuzzy scales according to the level of matching.

INI File

Tag settings file containing information needed to process documents according to a particular DTD (Document Type Definition) or schema. Translator’s Workbench, for example, requests an INI file to process XML/HTML/SGML files in batches. Also known as initialization files, they have the *.ini extension.


Process of designing a software application so that it can be adapted to various languages and regions without engineering changes. Its abbreviated form is I18N, where 18 stands for the number of letters between the first I and the last N in internationalization.


ISO stands for the International Organization for Standardization. This organization defines internationally accepted standards for many fields that influence our daily lives. A large number of standards defined by this organization are named using the designation ISO followed by a number. Many organizations have sought ISO 9001 certification as a demonstration of their commitment to quality management systems. However, as the ISO 9001 standard does not address the sort of translation-specific processes that many translators consider important in determining quality outcomes, this standard has not become widely accepted as a “guarantee of quality” in the industry.


The process of adapting internationalized software to a specific region or language by adding locale-specific components and the text translation. Its abbreviated form is L10N, where 10 stands for the number of letters between L and N in localization.


Acronym that stands for Language Quality Assurance. It refers to the quality assurance step carried out during or after the translation process. The goals are to identify the level of quality being provided by the vendor, provide valuable feedback to the vendor and help them improve quality. LQAs should never be applied to the whole batch of documents, but on samples of the total word count.


Acronym that stands for Language Sign-off. This is usually the final step in the translation process, when all outstanding language-related issues have been resolved to ensure that once the text is compiled to be displayed in the software, online help or website, for instance, no further language changes are required. Ideally, the LSO (also called sign-off) should be done in the final format to create the same environment that will be presented to the end user.


Acronym that stands for Machine Translation. MT is a subfield of computational linguistics that investigates the use of software to translate text or speech from one language to another. Human intervention happens only at a later stage, after the files have already been translated by the machine. Google Translate is a well-known example of machine translation, but OXO doesn’t use free MT engines.

Perfect Match

A perfect match is a form of context match that compares updated source files to a corresponding set of old bilingual files instead of a translation memory. Matching segments, known as “perfect match” units (or XUs), are checked for context, i.e. the surrounding entries are checked to ensure that they are the same. They are then extracted from the old bilingual documents and transferred to the updated source files. Since the matching process of a perfect match segment includes a contextual check, XUs do not need further translation or editing and are often blocked for the translator.


Acronym that means Project Manager. PMs are responsible for project budgets and schedules and are the main interface between OXO and its customers.


After a file or batch of files is translated by the MT, we enter the post-editing stage. At this point, a human editor (who is not necessarily a qualified translator) does the post-editing of the files in order to ensure that the text makes sense and is grammatically correct.


The third step of the translation process. The proofreader literally reads through the translation as if they were the end user, checking for any changes that could enhance the reader’s experience. At this stage, source and target texts are not compared.


Set of tasks included in a project or activity.


Acronym that stands for Turn Around Time. Also known as the deadline, the TAT is the time taken to complete a certain task.


Acronym that stands for Translation, Editing and Proofing, the three standard steps in the localization process.


Acronym that stands for Translation Memory. A TM is a database that stores source texts aligned with one or more corresponding translations. The use of a translation memory makes it easier to leverage previously translated material to facilitate translation and reduce costs.


An external service provider, a vendor can be a person or a company.


Acronym that stands for Vendor Manager. VM duties include vendor selection, rate negotiation, quality checks and resource allocation.


Acronym that means Weighted Word Count, a word count that applies different percentages according to the different types of matches (fuzzy matches, repetitions, 100% matches, new words). The resulting number is the calculation of all such percentages and categories.

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