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Founded in 2002, the Association of Language Companies is a national trade organisation representing businesses that provide translation, interpretation, localisation, and language training services. Website.


ATA, founded in 1959, is the largest professional association of translators and interpreters in the U.S. with over 10,000 members in more than 90 countries.


According to the Hague Convention of 5 October, 1961, each Contracting State shall exempt from legalisation documents to which the present Convention applies and which have to be produced in its territory. The only formality that may be required is the addition of a certificate, named "Apostille", issued by the competent authority of the State from which the document emanates.


This French term refers to portable equipment used for simultaneous interpreting without a booth. The interpreter is in the meeting room and uses only a microphone and sometimes headphones. The advantage of this system is that it is portable (making it possible to accompany those listening whilst visiting a factory, for example). The disadvantage is that it does not permit sound isolation. This system should only be used when the number of meeting participants is small and/or the meeting room has appropriate acoustics, and/or the meeting conditions make it necessary (e.g. a short meeting where consecutive interpreting would not be appropriate).

Briefing day

In the interpretation service, it refers to a meeting requested by the client to update the interpreters on the terminology that will be used during the conference.


It stands for Computer Aided Translation, and refers to the translation process performed with the aid of specific supporting tools called CAT tools. Not to be mistaken with machine translation.

CAT tools

A CAT tool is a computer program that helps the translator work efficiently, ensuring uniformity. The operating principle is based upon the analysis of reference texts (for example previous translations) and the creation of translation memories, which are then used to ensure linguistic consistency. The main functions of these programs are: extraction of the content; segmentation of the text, i.e. the text is broken into segments (sentences or sentence fragments) also called translation units; association of the source segments with the corresponding translated segments; filing the pairs of segment in a translation memory.


Also called "swearing", it is the oath made by the translator before the Court stating that the translated document is true to the original. A certified translation consists of the following three parts: the source language text, i.e. the original document; the target language text, i.e. the translation; the statement signed by the translator, with the seal of the government entity.

Computer aided translation

See CAT.

Consecutive interpretation

The interpreter providing consecutive interpretation sits at the same table with the delegates or at the speaker's platform and interprets a speech into the target language after the speaker speaks. For this purpose the interpreter may take notes.


It is a large collection of writings of a specific kind or on a specific subject used for linguistic analysis.

Cultural mediation

The objective of cultural mediation is to facilitate relations between local and foreign citizens; this profession is intended to promote reciprocal knowledge and comprehension aimed at favouring a positive relationship between subjects of different cultural backgrounds. The main characteristics of cultural mediators are communicative competence, empathy and good knowledge of both the hosting country and country of origin (culture, laws, traditions, etc.)

Daily subsistence allowance

Subsistence allowance due to interpreters working away from their professional address when the conference organiser does not pay the interpreter's accommodation and board directly.
See also per noctem.


In linguistics, the term "domain" indicates a set of words of a language referring to the same area. For example, the linguistic domain of the word "river" comprises: canal, watercourse, mouth, delta, and the like.

Double Relay

Double relay refers to a method whereby the speaker's language reaches the listener after two successive interpretations. Example: the speaker speaks in Hungarian, the Hungarian is interpreted into German and the German is interpreted into English. Although double relay must sometimes be used for certain so-called "rare" languages or where interpreters of these languages only work into one language, it increases the risk that the initial message will be distorted. Therefore, it should be avoided whenever possible.

Extensible Markup Language

See XML.


A freelance interpreter/translator is an interpreter/translator who is recruited on a limited basis. He or she works for many employers/clients, depending on his/her area of expertise and on demand. In most of the agreement sectors (CCAQ, European Parliament, etc.), freelance interpreters are considered to be staff members (agents, officials) of the organisation for the duration of the contract. Freelance means that the interpreter is free to accept or refuse offers of work and that, outside the period of contract, is accountable to no one and is responsible for his/her own taxes and social contributions (subject to certain statutes such as "salarié à employeurs multiples" in France).

File Transfer Protocol

A standard Internet protocol to exchange files between computers on the Internet. It uses the Internet's TCP/IP protocols to enable data transfer. File Transfer Protocol (FTP) is commonly used to transfer Web page files from their creator to the computer that acts as their server for everyone on the Internet. It's also commonly used to download programs and other files to your computer from other servers.


See File Transfer Protocol.


Ideally, a product or service should be developed so that localization is relatively easy to achieve - for example, by creating technical illustrations for manuals in which the text can easily be changed to another language. This enabling process is termed internationalisation. An internationalised product or service is therefore easier to localise. The process of first enabling a product to be localised and then localising it for different national audiences is sometimes known as globalisation.


A glossary is an alphabetical list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge (science, technology, etc.) with the definition (i.e. the conceptual information) for each term. See also termbase.


It stands for HyperText Markup Language. It is a markup language used to structure text and multimedia documents and to set up hypertext links between documents, used extensively on the World Wide Web.

HyperText Markup Language



I18N is an abbreviation of the term "Internationalization" by means of a so called numeronym, a way of replacing the middle letters of a word (in case 'nternationalizatio') by naming the number of letters between the first and last letter of that word (in case 18): Internationalization.


Internationalization, as defined by LISA, is the process of generalizing a product so that it can handle multiple languages and cultural conventions without the need for re-design. Internationalization takes place at the level of program design and document development.

Jours chômés

See Non-working day.


A keystroke refers to the single action of pressing a key on a computer or typewriter keyboard. The number of keystrokes can be used as a measure of work.


L10N is an abbreviation of the term "Localization" by means of a so called numeronym, a way of replacing the middle letters of a word (in case 'localizatio') by naming the number of letters between the first and last letter of that word (in case 10): Localization.


Legalisation is the formality by which the diplomatic or consular agents of the country in which a document has to be produced certify the authenticity of the signature, the capacity in which the person signing the document has acted and, where appropriate, the identity of the seal or stamp which it bears. See also Apostille.

Liaison interpretation

Liaison interpretation is similar to consecutive interpretation. It is normally used for conversations or negotiations between smaller groups. However, the individual sections to be interpreted are shorter than for consecutive interpreting; sometimes the interpreter might even translate sentence by sentence, and he/she translates back and forth between two languages.


Localization Industry Standards Association. Website.


Localization is the process of adapting a product or service to a particular language, culture, and desired local "look-and-feel". In localizing a product, in addition to idiomatic language translation, such details as time zones, money, national holidays, local color sensitivities, product or service names, gender roles, and geographic examples must all be considered. For more information, see the LISA website at

Machine translation

Machine translation is a sub-field of computational linguistics that investigates the use of computer software to translate text or speech from one natural language to another. The tecnologies used can be of different types: rule-based systems (such as SYSTRAN) and statistical systems.
The rule-based machine translation is based on linguistic rules, which means that words will be translated in a linguistic way — the most suitable (orally speaking) words of the target language will replace the ones in the source language.
Statistical machine translation tries to generate translations using statistical methods based on bilingual text corpora, such as the Canadian Hansard corpus, the English-French record of the Canadian parliament and EUROPARL, the record of the European Parliament. Where such corpora are available, impressive results can be achieved translating texts of a similar kind, but such corpora are still very rare.
Nowadays, machine translation cannot replace human translators.


An allowance paid to the interpreter when he/she has to spend the best part of a day travelling to and from the location of the assignment. Also called "travel allowance".

Non-working day

The term non-working day refers to the allowance payable to the interpreter for a day on which he / she does not work, but which is part of a contract. For example when the same recruiting organisation needs the interpreter for several successive sessions separated by one or more non-working days.

Note Taking

Note-taking is an essential element of consecutive interpreting. It consists of noting on paper the logic and structure of a speech in order to help the interpreter remember the contents of the speech. Note-taking is a singularly individual exercise: some interpreters use a lot of symbols, while others prefer drawings and still others restrict themselves to certain words.


It is the machine recognition of printed characters. OCR systems can recognize many different OCR fonts, as well as typewriter and computer-printed characters. Advanced OCR systems can recognize hand printing.
When a text document is scanned into the computer, it is turned into a bitmap, which is a picture of the text. OCR software analyzes the light and dark areas of the bitmap in order to identify each alphabetic letter and numeric digit. When it recognizes a character, it converts it into ASCII text.

Optical character recognition

See OCR.


An option is a preliminary or provisional request made to an interpreter by a recruiter, without any binding commitment, to (a) indicate that the recruiter may intend to recruit the interpreter and (b) find out whether the interpreter is available on the relevant dates at the time of the request. In order to avoid misunderstandings or abuse, it is recommended that the interpreter always ask the recruiter whether the request is an option or a firm offer and, if it is an option, when it will either be cancelled or turned into an offer of recruitment. The potential recruiter must understand that the option is binding on neither party and that the interpreter only undertakes to inform the potential recruiter if he/she accepts any other contracts in the meantime.


A typewritten page (25 rows, each containing 50 to 60 keystrokes). In the translation sector, the unit of measurement generally used in Italy. In the rest of the world the preferred unit of measurement is the word.

Per Noctem

This term refers to the allowances paid to the interpreter per day of absence from his/her professional address.


When relays are used, the French term pivot is used to designate the interpreter who interprets not only for those listening to his/her target language, but also for the other interpreters who take the relay. The pivot's role is even more demanding since he/she knows that colleagues are entirely dependent on the quality of his/her work.


Checking a proof before printing to ensure that no mistakes have been made in typesetting.


From the Oxford dictionary: "1) a high standard – SYN: excellence; 2) a feature of sth, especially one that makes it different from sth else". To learn more about how we implement quality... »»»


Relay refers to double or indirect interpretation into the target language of the audience. The speaker is first interpreted into one language, which is then interpreted into a second language. AIIC discourages the use of relay because of the risk of errors creeping in as the number of intermediate languages increases. Nevertheless, this technique must sometimes be used for certain languages.


To examine a target text for its suitability for the agreed purpose and respect for the conventions of the domain to which it belongs and to recommend corrective measures.


Person who reviews.


Person who revises.


To examine a translation for its suitability for the agreed purpose, to compare the source and target texts, and to recommend corrective measures.

Simultaneous interpretation

Simultaneous interpretation means that the presentation given by the speakers is translated into another language in real time (simultaneously). The interpreter sits in a booth with a clear view of the meeting room and the speaker and listens to and simultaneously interprets the speech into a target language. Simultaneous interpreting requires a booth (fixed or mobile) that meets ISO standards of acoustic isolation, dimensions, air quality and accessibility as well as appropriate equipment (headphones, microphones).

Special Language

Special language is a language used in a subject field and characterized by the use of specific linguistic means of expression. Special languages are, for example, professional jargons and technical or scientific languages.

Sworn translation

See Certification.

Style guide

A style guide is a set of standards and guidelines for design and writing of documents, either for general use or for a specific publication or organization. Not widely used in Italy, it is diffused in English countries. A very good style guide is that of the Economist. You can find it at


It is a specific database for filling and managing terminology cards. Sometimes it is incorrectly called glossary, but this term exactly refers to a simple list of words and not to a databank.


Terminology is one of the disciplines that study terms, i.e. words and compound words, used in specific contexts. ISO 1087-1:2000 defines terminology as "set of designations belonging to one special language" and designations as "representation of a concept by a sign which denotes it". To learn more about terminology see the Pavel Terminology Tutorial.


The act or process of converting an oral communication (such as, for example, a court hearing recorded on an audio tape) into a (type) written or printed form.


To render information in the source language into the target language in written form.

Translation memory

A translation memory, or TM, is a database that stores segments that have been previously translated. The translation memory stores the source text and its corresponding translation in language pairs called “translation units”.

Translation unit

Also called TUs, they are the basic elements of a translation memory.

Translation service provider

Person or organisation supplying translation services.

Travel allowance

See Manque-à-gagner.


See Translation service provider


The UNI – Ente Nazionale Italiano di Unificazione (Italian Organization for Standardization) is a private non-profit association whose more than 7000 members include companies, freelance professionals, associations, scientific and academic institutions, and bodies connected to the public administration. UNI carries out standardization activities in all industrial, commercial and tertiary sectors, with the exception of the electrical and electrotechnical sectors which are the competence of the Italian Electrotechnical Committee, CEI.


The term refers to any conference whose participants are located at several different venues and who communicate via telecommunications.


A stamp or mark put in your passport by officials of a foreign country that gives you permission to enter, pass through or leave their country.


Voice-over describes the technique by which any disembodied voice is broadcast live or pre-recorded in radio, theater, industrial shows, fashion shows, presentations, television commercials, television programs, animation and live-action films.

Whispered interpretation

During whispered interpretation - sometimes called by its French name “chuchotage” - the interpreter sits beside the attendee and whispers the interpretation to him or her during the meeting. This interpretation does not require technical equipment.


XML is a markup language for structuring arbitrary data. XML was designed to replace HTML, which was deemed too restricted with its fixed set of elements and attributes. Because HTML is based on SGML, but SGML itself was considered as being too complex for direct application on the WWW, XML was defined as a functional subset (a "profile") of SGML.


Founded in 1994 by Stanford Ph.D. students David Filo and Jerry Yang, Yahoo! began as a hobby and has evolved into a leading global brand that has changed the way people communicate with each other, conduct transactions and access, share, and create information. Today, Yahoo! Inc. has become the world's largest global online network of integrated services with more than 500 million users worldwide. The company is headquartered in Sunnyvale, California, with a presence in more than 20 markets and regions around the globe.


It is the extension of a compressed file. There are many programs for compressing files, such as for example PKZIP, WinZip, Stuffit, gnu zip. They make a file or a data stream smaller for faster transmission or less storage space.

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