Glossary of Translation Memory Terminology

See also our glossaries on Globalization, Localization, Machine Translation, and Translation.

Alignment. Matching segments or sentences in translated documents for importation as translation units or sentence pairs in a translation memory tool.

Bidirectional language. Languages that are read right-to-left but which support left-to-right words for European terms.

Computer Aided Translation. (CAT) Use of a translation memory tool by a human translator. The TM tool promises that the translator need never translate the same sentence twice. More importantly, it guarantees that translations will be identical, when consistency is a requirement for the material, and yet enables a different translation when literary quality and creativity are prized.

Full match (100% match) A segment or sentence in a source document for which the translation memory tool has a perfect match in the target language, including font style and various attributes like context. See fuzzy match.

Fuzzy match (partial match) A segment or sentence in a source document for which the translation memory tool can match some of the words in the target language, including font style and various attributes like context. See fuzzy match.

Input Method. A language-specific computer keyboard or a software tool that allows any standard keyboard to inout the characters or ideographs of a language. When the symbols exceed the number of keys as do Asian languages, the software presents a selection of possibilities for clicking with a mouse.

Markup language. Surrounding text with beginning and ending tags, typically set off in angle brackets. This is bold. Translators must take care to leave the words in the tags alone. Translation memory tools that are markup aware (e.g., Trados TagEditor) do not change tags, except for certain quoted material inside a tag's attrributes. For example See markup languages like HTML, SGML, and XML.

Match. See full or fuzzy match.

Segment. A part of a document, usually limited by punctuation - periods, tabs, paragraph marks, or custom tags. The segment or sentence is the fundamental unit of information stored in translation memory with its corresponding bilingual matching segment.

TBX An XML standard for terminology database exchange.

Termbase. A terminology database, usually multilingual. The contents of Terminology Managers. Includes fields in the database record for each term to define the concept, provide glosses appropriate to a subject field, source information, etc.

Terminology Manager. A software tool like Atril TermWatch, STAR TermStar, or Trados MultiTerm.

Term list. A terminology list, usually bilingual. The input/output text files or TBX files of Terminology Managers. Usually in a format like comma-delimited or tab-delimited files suitable for use with a spreadsheet.

Text expansion. Recognizing that some languages are more verbose and have greater average word lengths, web page designers must leave room for the extra text space need in German, for example.

TMX An XML standard for translation memory (sentence pairs) exchange.

Translation Unit. (Trados) A segment or sentence pair in source and target languages.

Unicode. The 16-bit standard capable of encoding the characters of the world's major language scripts. It is designed to be a universal character set. Version 3.0 contains 49,194 characters and 8,515 code points for private uses and future expansions. The limit to 16-bit encoding is 65,536 characters. Unicode is supported on all the major computer operating systems, as well as by HTML 4.0, XML, and X-HTML.

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