Glossary Of Terms

Glossary Of Terms

Ad-hoc interpreting

Also referred to as Business or Liaison interpreting, this style of interpreting is where the interpreter will relay a few sentences at a time into the other language. It is commonly used in business negotiations, site visits and court.


Back translation

This is a technique used to ensure accuracy of translation. A text is translated initially into the required language. The translated text is then translated back into the original language by a different translator. The back translation and original text are then compared to check the accuracy of the original.



This is a commonly misused term, which used accurately refers to a person who has native speaker proficiency in two languages rather than a person who merely speaks two different languages.


Business interpreting

See Ad-hoc interpreting.


CAT (Computer Aided Translation)

This refers to a process that uses previously translated text to assist a human translator to maintain consistency of terminology across subsequent documents translated in the same language combination. Translations are stored in a database, known as a translation memory, which the translator can access to compare previous translations with the one they are working on. It can also result in time and cost savings for the client. It should not be confused with machine translation.


Consecutive interpreting

This type of interpreting is used predominantly for conferences or large meetings. The interpreter listens to the speaker delivering their speech and makes notes. At the end of the speech, the interpreter then renders the content of the speech in the other language.



In the field of translation, this refers to using the same translated terms throughout all your company’s documentation for items, such as pieces of machinery or products, or concepts, such as types of services provided, in order to maintain your brand identity and ensure information is easily understood by the reader. In the field of interpreting, consistency may refer to ensuring the same terms are being used and will also refer to having the same interpreter present at subsequent meetings dealing with the same issues, so that the interpreter is familiar with the topic and the people involved.


Liaison interpreting

See Ad-hoc interpreting.


Machine translation

This is translation generated by a computer without any human input. The results vary in terms of accuracy depending on the languages involved and complexity of the original text. It is not as accurate as human translation and should be used with caution. It should not be confused with computer aided translation.



This is the process of editing and correcting the output from machine translation to make it fit for purpose.



This is the process of examining the revised target translation and applying the corrections.



This is a bilingual examination of the target translation against the source document to ensure its suitability for the agreed purpose.



This is a monolingual examination of the target translation to ensure its suitability for the agreed purpose.


Simultaneous interpreting

This type of interpreting is used in large-scale conferences or multi-lingual meetings. The interpreters will work in teams using an interpreting booth. As the speakers deliver their speeches, the interpreter conveys the message simultaneously in the booth and the delegates listen through headphones in the conference room.


Source language

This is the language in which the original text required for translation is written.


Target language

This is the language into which the translation is required.


Translation memory

This is a database of translation units, built using human translations commissioned over time, stored according to each language combination, and used to maintain consistency in subsequent translations.


Whispering or ‘chuchotage’

This is a form of simultaneous interpreting in which the interpreter whispers simultaneously to one or two listeners. It is used for situations where consecutive is not appropriate, such as multi-lingual settings, and booths / headphones are not available or appropriate. It is important with this type of interpreting to consider the seating arrangements for the delegates and the interpreter, particularly if more than one language is being interpreted.

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