Localization strategy

Translation and Localization Glossary: Key Terms Everyone Should Understand

Get a better understanding of translation and localization: Our glossary will keep you abreast of the industry's key terminology from A to Z.
Localization strategy blog category featured image | Phrase

Industry insiders really love using terminology that others don’t immediately understand, but what about beginners? No worries, we've created a brief glossary that should keep you abreast of some key terminology used in the localization industry.


Short for Application Program Interface. “An API specifies how software components should interact and APIs are used when programming graphical user interface (GUI) components.” (Source: Webopedia)


Short for computer-assisted translation. CAT is translating with the help of a computer tool, with the goal of increasing the speed and quality of translations.

CAT tools may offer such features as creating translation memory or the recognition of repetitions and matches in files.

Users may be project managers, translators, or technical teams.

Concordance Search

Concordance searching describes the searching of phrases, words or sequence of words within the translation memory database.

Fuzzy Matching

Fuzzy Matching (very similar to approximate string matching) is a technique used by CAT tools to look for phrases, words, or sequence of words within a Translation memory Database with similar meaning and spelling. It may not be 100% accurate.


Short for Graphical User Interface. Visualization of programs makes it easier to use. It makes the knowledge of command languages unnecessary.


Short for Internationalization. "I" followed by 18 letters ending with "N". People really don't like long words.


The process of designing a product or content to ensure, that it can be localized into various regions and countries with minimal efforts.

Language Code

A code assigned to identify languages. E.g., the scheme ISO 639-1 code for English is EN.


Even though this term looks similar to the majestic big cat (read: Lion), its meaning translates to something different: Localization. Simple math: L + (10 Letters) +n = L(ocalizatio)n. As you can see, the 10 represents the ten letters in between the “L” and “n”.

Yeah, we really really don't like long words.

Localization (l10n)

A quick look at the Wikipedia page shows many different categories for localization.

We understand the term “localization” (l10n) as the process of adapting content or products for a target region or country. This includes the language but also takes into consideration cultural preferences related to customers as well as a number of other specific nuances.


LSP is an acronym for "language service provider."

Companies that offer translations, interpretations, or even learning programs for languages.


MT is short for "machine translation." This refers to translation processes that are automated by software. Since this does not involve any human, translation quality and accuracy is very questionable.

Google Translate is a classic example of machine translation.

Post-Edited MT

An approach that will cut costs, first, by using MT, and afterwards, by hiring a language expert who reviews the finished translations and checks for quality.


Pseudo-localization is a method to test the preparedness of a given piece of software for Internationalization.

Instead of really localizing text strings, the original text is replaced by an altered version, which simulates the foreign language.


Short for right-to-left. This describes languages' for which the writing systems are read and written from right to left such as Arabic, Urdu, Japanese, or Hebrew.

It is extremely important to adjust content and products when translating from RTL languages into LTR (Left To Right) languages and vice versa.

The space requirements can vary tremendously and you don't want to have to completely overhaul your entire product or website in the event of a lack of preparedness.


Short for simultaneous shipping.

The term is used when content or a product is released for the domestic market and the foreign market at the same time. This shipping method has become more standard.


A relatively new term in the world of localization. It is used by marketers and advertising specialists to describe the transfer of the meaning of a message into another language without altering its original intent, style, and tonality.


The process of adapting content or products from one (source) language into another (targeted) language.

Translation Management System

A Translation Management System (often abbreviated as TMS) manages the localization process from the beginning of a translation process until the finished product.

Depending on the TMS in use, it can automate and streamline the workflow, therefore optimizing the tasks.

Different systems can offer different features, which may include a good API for easy integration or a wide variety of supported formats.


Short for Translation Memory. Refers to a database containing past translations. These may be used by the translator in future projects resulting in time savings. Also resulting in cost savings for businesses. TMs can be part of CAT tools or Translation Management Systems.