Glossary of Translation Terms

You’ve ordered a translation of the annual report and the translation agency has told you they would perform an analysis of the original in their CAT tool and inform you of the price. Confused yet? To make things easier for you, GORR has prepared a glossary of the most common translation terms.

In today’s first part, we’ll look at the general terms you will need right at the start. In the next part, we will focus on more specific terms from the field of translation technologies. Happy reading!?


Language combination/pair

The source language (the language you want your text translated from) and the target language (the language you want your text translated to).



The text you want to translate. The translation service provider will perform an analysis of the original. In the analysis, the translation tool calculates the number of no-match words, fuzzy and exact matches, and repetitions according to the already existing translation database. It then determines the price based on the analysis. We will look more closely at the matches in the second part of our article.


Certified translation

An official translation that is legally valid and can be used in legal proceedings at home and abroad. It must be prepared by a sworn translator. The sworn translator confirms its suitability with a stamp. In addition, depending on needs, they tie the translation with string to the original, certified, or plain copy (the latter at your own responsibility). Certified translations are usually needed for certificates of no criminal record, marital certificates, extracts from the register, etc.


Editing or Revision

Reading a text to identify incorrect grammar or inappropriate style. In the case of a translation, conformity with the source text is also checked.



Acronym for a three-step process of translation, editing (or revision), and proofreading (checking the text before printing to ensure that no mistakes have been made in typesetting).



Localisation is the daptation of a text (usually part of a product or service) to the cultural specifics of the target market.



Translating oral spoken or signed communication from one language to another. We distinguish between simultaneous and consecutive interpreting. During simultaneous interpreting, the interpreter translates the text while the speaker continues to speak. The interpreter usually sits in a soundproof booth and speaks into a microphone. In consecutive interpreting, the interpreter stands next to the speaker of the source language, listens to the speech, and writes it down. Only when the speaker pauses does the interpreter translate the text into the target language.



List of terminology from a certain field with definitions and/or translations.


Computer-assisted translation – CAT

All programs that translators use to help themselves at work. These include electronic monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, thesauri, and collocation dictionaries, as well as translation programs with translation memories, terminology databases etc.  The most well-known translation programs are memoQ and Trados. Unlike machine translators (such as Google Translate), CAT tools do not translate texts automatically but only serve as tools to aid in the translation process.


Machine translation

Automated translation, in which a machine translation program translates text instead of a translator. Nevertheless, translation is still not completely possible without human help and a new method called post-editing has been developed, in which a human translator edits the machine translation.


Read more in our next blog!



How to distinguish between a good and bad translation quote