22 Acronyms and Common Translation Industry Terms That May Puzzle You

You would probably think that the translation world is the best place for simple and effective communication, where there’s no use of slang or abbreviations etc.

However, you will soon find that professional translators use a load of gibberish in their conversations, which can be difficult for anyone who is not experienced in this field to understand.

Here we have an alphabetical guide of 22 of the most used words and terminology in the translation world. Let’s get into it.


DNT is simply an abbreviation for “Do not translate”. This is commonly used for words or expressions that the client wants to keep in the source language (see below). This could include business names, trademarks or sometimes just leaving parts of the text in its original language.


This definition may seem a little strange at first, but in the translation world, the document is our foundation for everything. It’s not really to do with an official document, but more to do with what’s being translated or worked on, and this can come under many different formats (Excel, Word, PDF, plain text, audio files, videos, subtitling, web pages etc). Generally, the document is first analyzed before deciding the best way of tackling the translation, while also considering the cost and resources required for the process. It really is the foundation for a translator.

Fuzzy Matching

Fuzzy matching or “fuzzies” is the term used when certain parts or phrases in a translation have partial matches from previous work.  They are stored in the translation memory (see below) and are therefore not considered as new translations or new words. Fuzzy matching can contribute to reductions of fees, just like repetitions.

The translation tools identify fuzzies which help to speed up the translation process. All repeated phrases and expressions that are saved in the translation memory are shown to the translator when carrying out the translation. Any phrase or segment that has a match of between 70% and 99% is considered a fuzzy match.


In the same category as the style guide (see below), glossaries will save you a heap of time while also ensuring your work is accurate. As a general rule, a glossary is your own personalized bilingual dictionnary which consists of the most used terms in your specific field of translation, both in the source language and the target language.

Many businesses will have their own glossaries so important terms will always be translated in the same way, no matter who the translator is. Due to this, translators are encouraged to come up with their own glossaries. Creating a glossary requires a little effort, but once you have done so, you’ll soon find it’s your most prized asset for producing fast and accurate translations.

Style Guide

A style guide is a very useful document which explains the rules and layout instructions for different documents to be translated or edited, related to a particular client, business, publication or organization. It covers everything from grammar, punctuation, spelling and number formats to ensure that the final document is of the highest quality.

So before starting any translation, it’s always a good idea to double check if a style guide is available, as it can save you a lot of time and energy.

Source Language and Target Language

Let’s go right back to basics. Sometimes the terms that appear the most obvious are the ones that are never actually explained to you. But don’t worry, if you have struggled to grasp these terms in the past, read on so it all becomes clear.

In simple terms, the source language is the language of the original text, and the target language is the language of the translated text. For example, for a translation from French to English, which is the source language and which is the target language? Easy. The source language is French and the target language is English. These terms are usually abbreviated to SL (source language) and TL (target language).


Localization is a whole new level to just translating. If translation is to be defined as a written conversion of one language to another, then localization is adapting that content by using concepts and ideas aimed at a specific target market. Localization changes products based on the country or region it is aimed at. It takes into account traditions, beliefs, customs : basically the culture of that area. And it’s not just applied to written text, but everything from colours, the layout, numbers and all other elements that make up a web page. Also adverts and videos need to be localized.

What sets localization apart is shown through the simple translation of an advert broadcasted in the US (from English to Spanish to reach the Spanish speaking communities) and the small changes made to its content depending on which Spanish speaking country or person watches it. This allows you to reach a particular target market in a whole different way.

New Words

“New words” are words, phrases or segments in a text that are not recognised by the translation software, as they haven’t previously been used in other texts. Once used, they are added to the translation memory.

The main body of a project is mostly made up of “new words”. The number of “new words” is what is used to calculate the overall price of a translation.

CAT Tools

This is one of the most used acronyms in the translation world. CAT stands for computer-assisted translation, nothing to do with your pet cat, of course! CAT tools basically make the translation process happen: they are the best friend of a translator. Maybe they are more like your pet cat than first thought.

CAT tools speed up the process by dividing the source text into small sections and organizing them in a way that makes the translator’s work a lot easier. As a result, the entire process of translating becomes more time-efficient. Some CAT tools are capable of editing and managing your translations; a collaboration between the translator and machine makes the whole process much more efficient. However make sure to not confuse CAT tools with machine translation. They are definitely not the same thing!


This abbreviation stands for desktop publishing, which basically means making use of different pieces of software such as Adobe FrameMaker, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Publisher and Adobe InDesign, to edit text and images according to the client’s needs.

DTP is often used for documents such as brochures, web pages and instruction manuals. The layout of these types of documents may need to be changed after translating, as the length of certain segments or the overall style can differ from source text to target text.


The project manager (PM) is the person responsable for assigning and managing all translation projects for a client and the translation company. Some of their many responsibilities include assigning the most suitable translator or translators to a specific project, keeping their clients informed on the progress, and to ensure that the translation process is carried out efficiently and of the highest quality.


Post-editing is the analysis and correction of translated texts produced by machine translation (see below). It’s really all about correcting texts translated by machines such as Deepl or even Google Translate which use algorithms to carry out their work. Therefore, it’s necessary that a translator goes through the text produced and make corrections to ensure that the final translation is produced by a reliable source.

Post-editing is vitally important to ensure that the translation follows grammar rules, punctuation, spelling, overall meaning, context, sentence structure and meaning, etc. The person responsible for post-editing is called the post-editor.


This is the process of preparing a text before it is translated by a machine. The document is prepared so that the source text can be modified to enable a more efficient post-editing process (see above). It also can involve taking out or adapting certain phrases, but is mainly used to review the format and layout of the text.

Price per Word

The price per word, or PPW is the cost for each translated word. This is one of the most important ways of determining the cost of translation. However, it’s likely that a French-speaking translator won’t use this abbreviation.

When the translator has fixed their PPW, they must explicitly state whether it’s related to the source text or target text. The PPW varies depending on the target language. For example, Germanic languages often have higher costs due to their sentence structures and lack of qualified translators for these languages.

PPW also varies according to the size of the document. For example, documents of more than 10,000 words will have lower fees, and on the other hand higher fees for documents of only a few phrases (in these instances we can even determine a fee that’s not based on the number of words).


As the name suggests, repetitions are words, phrases or segments that are repeated in a text and don’t usually need translated again. Repetitions contribute to a reduction in translation costs.

However, even if you find that there’s a 100% match between segments of the source and target texts based on what’s saved in the translation memory (see below), it’s still extremely important that the translator checks that the text is suitable for the style of the translation, and to make any changes if necessary.


This is the process of going back through the almost finished text in the target language. This process involves verifying spelling, grammar, punctuation, terminology, register, style etc, and may also involve re-organizing the layout of the text taking into account images, illustrations etc. It can also involve taking out or adding text in order to meet the requirements of the available space.

Re-reading is a way of finding errors made during the translation of a text, sometimes including typos or lack of attention to detail. These mistakes are then corrected by the reader. The aim is to check the translation with a fresh pair of eyes so the final piece of work is of the highest quality.


Here we come to one of the most important abbreviations in the translation world for producing quality content; TEP, which stands for translation, editing, proofreading. This process consists of the three most important steps for a translation project.

These three essential steps represent the standard way in which a translation company works and the quality of a translation is dependent on these steps. If they are not carried out properly, the end result will not meet the required standard.

TM (Translation Memory)

The translation memory (TM) is the database where different segments from CAT tools are stored. These two tools work together. The saved segments can be phrases, paragraphs, titles and subtitles, or anything else that has already been translated.

A translation memory is a bilingual file that stores all translations. It carries out an analysis of new texts from a client and ensures consistency between repeated segments. It is also used to calculate the amount of repetitions in a text, which leads to reductions in translation costs.

Machine Translation

Machine translation is different to using CAT tools. It is often written using the abbreviation MT. MT is only useful for translating words from one language directly into another. It is not capable of recognizing idiomatic phrases and expressions which have to be translated in their own specific way.

Throughout our blogs, we are constantly talking about the many advantages and drawbacks of MT. It should be said, it is a sector with a lot of promise and has seen a lot of progress over the last few years, however many people are still not convinced that MT will ever replace the work of a professional translator.

Back Translation

Back translation is the process of translating the target text back into the source language. This may sound a bit strange, but let’s discuss why this is sometimes necessary. Back translation is generally used when carrying out a quality control of a translation so that any inaccuracies can be identified. However it is always carried out by a different translator to the original.

Back translation is not used for all projects as it costs a lot and is usually not even necessary. It is mainly used when the final document needs to be as precise and exact as possible, for example, for legal documents or technical guidelines.


As we read earlier, localization is about adapting content based on its target market. Well transcreation goes even further than that. So we know that localization is all to do with adapting, but transcreation basically starts from scratch. It takes ideas and messages and completely reinvents them according to their target market.

As the name suggests, it’s all about being creative. Examples include funny slogans, songs, rhymes, or even a phrase you can get tattooed further down the line.


The transcription is the result of converting an oral script or file into written form. This text may, or may not, then be translated into another language. The transcription is a valuable tool to have for things like translating an audio file, voice overs or producing a dub of a video.

We hope that this short introduction into the important words and terminology of the translation world has helped you to better your understanding of the foundations of any translation. Are there any other terms that you are still struggling to grasp? Let us know!

Are you looking for quality translation services? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information, or request a free, no-obligation quote today on our website BeTranslated.