See also our glossaries on Globalization, Localization, Translation, and Translation Memory.
Computer Aided Translation. (CAT) Use of a machine translation system to provide an initial gist of the document for a human translator.
Controlled language. The limitation of vocabulary and syntax to a small subset of human language to facilitate machine translation and translation memory tools. Used for technical documentation, e.g., software manuals, instructional materials, where consistency is preferred to originality and creativity in language.
Gist. A machine translation that is used to get the essential information from a document. A gist is useful even if it contains serious errors in vocabulary, syntax, and grammar.
Machine translation. The use of computers with databases of bilingual or multilingual terminology and software algorithms for conversion of syntax between languages. There are two basic schools of MT technology, rules-based and examples-based. The first stresses the structure of languages, looking for things in common. One rule system translates a source language into an intermediate language, then uses standard rules to create the target language version. Examples-based systems attempt to compile vast numbers of usage examples, and then match the source text with the closest and most common match in the target language.