33 Useful Translation Industry Abbreviations

We always try to be efficient in our use of language.  That’s why we make use of so many acronyms and abbreviations.  Here is a list of the most common abbreviations you may run into when working with a translation company.

API Application programming interface; a set of programming instructions that allow web-based software applications to communicate with each another.

CAT Computer-assisted translation; when a human translator uses computer software to help make the translation process more efficient. Not to be confused with MT, but typically uses TM.

CJK Chinese, Japanese, and Korean – a common Pan-Asian language combination.

CMS Content management system; tool that stores, manages, organizes and retrieves data, such as content for websites.

DNT Do not translate; a label to assign certain phrases and words that are typically not translated, such as trademarks

DTP Desktop publishing; the use of software, such as InDesign, to create precision layouts of documents, such as brochures or manuals.

FIGS French, Italian, German, and Spanish – a common European language combination. 

GE Graphic editing; the process of editing graphic files to update text elements with translated copy. 

GILT Globalization, Internationalization, Localization and Translation 

G11N Globalization; in the hierarchy of L10N and I18N, the overall planning context by an organization to develop products and support customers in multiple language markets. Also used in macroeconomic contexts to refer to the expansion of international trade. 

ICE In context exact; used in reference to a TM match that occurs in exactly the same context 

I18N Internationalization; the design and development of a technology or product that enables easy localization in different languages, such as externalized text strings.  

ISO International Organization for Standardization; ISO 639 is a standard to classify languages in two or three letter codes. Some of the more common 2 letter language codes include:ar – Arabic
de – German
en – English
es – Spanish
fr – French
hi – Hindi
ja – Japanese
pt – Portugueseru – Russianzh – Chinese

L10N Localization; Process of adapting content or a product for a locale or market. Translation is a step in the L10N process, which may include modifying design or layout, adapting formats such as dates and phone numbers, or addressing legal/local requirements.

LE Layout editing; adjusting a text and graphics layout in documents and websites to accommodate text changes after a translation.    

LSP Language service provider; a company that provides services such as translation, localization, and/or interpretation.

MLV Multi-language vendor; a language service provider (LSP) that offers services in multiple languages. 

MT Machine translation; the automated translation of text by software.

OCR Optical character recognition; the conversion of printed or written text by a computer into machine-readable format.

PEMT Post-edited machine translation; when a human translator edits machine translation (MT) output for the purpose of improving the accuracy and/or readability.

PM Project manager; an individual who manages and coordinates all tasks of a translation project. 

PPW Price per word.

RBMT Rules based machine translation; machine translation systems based on linguistic information about source and target languages commonly retrieved from dictionaries and grammars.

SLV Single language vendor; a language service provider (LSP) that provides translation and/or localization into only one language.

SMT Statistical machine translation; statistical probability models for how text should be translated by machine translation. 

TEP Translate-edit-proof; a common set of steps to ensure translation quality. 

TM Translation memory; pairs of previously human translated text segments stored in a database for reuse.

TMS Translation management system; the combination of tools, typically including a glossary tool and translation memory, that are used to manage a translation project. 

TMX Translation memory eXchange; a standard data format enabling the exchange of translation memories between translation technologies. 

UI User interface; the means by which a human interacts with a computer or software, typically meaning the text elements to be localized.

V/O Voiceover; the voice of an unseen narrator. 

XLIFF XML localization interchange file format; an XML-based data format to standardize the way localizable data are exchanged between tools during the localization process 

XML eXtensible markup language; a markup language that defines a set of rules for encoding documents in a format that is readable to both machines and humans