Learning the lingo of localization

While many of you have spent years working with your company’s translation workflows; learning best practices, creating smoother processes and expanding your global reach, we recognize that some of you may just be beginners.

While it can be an exciting time to watch your company grow globally, sometimes the “localization lingo” used in the translation industry can be confusing.

If you are new to the world of translation, let us help you out by defining the most common terminology, acronyms and numeronyms. After all, we are language experts.

Here are a few of the most common terms you’re bound to come across:

Language Service Provider (LSP)

That’s us! A language service provider is a company, agency or person who offers global communication services such as translation, interpretation or localization. It is not uncommon to see it referred to in the abbreviated version – LSP.

Localization (l10n)

Localization – sometimes referred to as l10n – refers to the process of adapting products or content to a specific language and location, by addressing the standards, laws, customs and other factors of a target market. This is essential in the world of global marketing. Take for example a product’s slogan. It may make sense in one language, but it could mean something completely different in another. For more insight on the importance of localization, check out our blog post Global branding: Have you done your homework?

Internationalization (i18n)

Technically speaking, internationalization – also known as i18n – is the design and adaptation of a product (such as a smartphone application or software program) to ensure it functions correctly in any international context. This process happens well before localization, so a product can later be easily localized and marketed worldwide. Take for example an iPhone app, while its functionality may be fit for English, after translating into a new language the navigation buttons could potentially have cut-off texts due to expansion. This is a result of inadequate internationalization.

Translation Management System (TMS)

Translation management system, or TMS, refers to a type of software system which helps host and manage aspects of your company’s translation projects and workflows; including resources, finances, projects, designs, analytics, terminology, etc . Some language service providers offer this software with their services at no added cost, while others sell such products individually. What is most important is finding a translation management system that can be customized to your specific company translation needs, helping you experience better cost savings, project delivery and translation quality.

Translation Memory (TM)

Translation memory is a type of database technology used to store segments of a company’s previously translated content. It is then leveraged on each of a company’s translation projects to reuse. This makes translating similar content a lot easier and cost efficient, by eliminating the need to retranslate previously translated phrases and segments. It also benefits companies by keeping their messaging consistent throughout all translated projects. Most translation memories work in collaboration with a translation management system. If interested in learning more, see our best practice brief Translation memory: Make your localization budget stretch further.

We could probably go on for days with terminology and buzz words that the localization industry uses, but we think this is a good start. Hopefully these terms will help you step into the world of translations with ease.

Have any other confusing localization lingo that you need us to “translate” for you? Share with us below!

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Sajan

About Sajan

Sajan is a leading provider of global language translation and localization services, helping clients around the world expand seamlessly into any global market.
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