Translation Terminology

A Guide to Commonly Used Terms in Translation

As any linguist and translator knows, every field has its own unique vocabulary. Here are some helpful terms to understand components of the translation industry.

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Are translation and interpretation synonymous?

 No. Translation refers to written texts and requires analytical skills, although it does include subtitling multimedia files. Interpretation refers to verbal communication and requires a quick response. Consecutive interpretation is done after someone has finished speaking, often used for meetings. Simultaneous interpreting is done while the speaker is speaking, often used for multi-national conferences like the World Summit.

What’s the difference between proofreading and editing?

Proofreading is a bottom-up activity, correcting and checking for the smaller linguistic units of a text such as spelling, word-usage, and grammar. Editing is a top-down activity and checks the content of the text for consistency, phrasing, and conciseness.

Checking– In translation, this means checking both the translation and source to ensure the translation is accurate, complete, and natural.

Document Review– This refers to ensuring the layout of the translation matches the source, checking for images, text overlap, completed translation, and that the numbers match. One does not need to know either language to perform document review.

DTP– Desktop Publishing. Once a document has been reviewed the desktop publisher makes the changes to the document to fix layout issues. DTP can be done on common software like Microsoft Word or digital design software like InDesign or Photoshop.

QA– Quality Assurance. This refers to a number of activities such as proofreading, checking, editing, and document review.