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Glossary of Terms

If you are new to translation, interpreting, editing, proofreading and/or transcribing, below is a glossary of terms that, hopefully, will help you understand my profession better. I am of course ready and able to explain any of them to you in more depth in order to provide solutions to your project needs.

CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tools: These are the latest technology in the translation field as they help translators complete repetitive work faster. These software programmes store previous translations that the translator has made in a translation memory. When a new text for translation comes into the translator, the CAT tool processes the text and creates two columns. The left-hand column shows the Source Text by sentence and the right hand column is for the Target Text. If the sentence to be translated already exists in the translation memory (TM), the translation will be filled in automatically in the equivalent target language cell. If the translation is close, it will still fill it in and the translator then only needs to change part of the sentence to match the source text. This then provides what are referred to in the business as 100% matches and “fuzzy matches” if they are less than 100%. As a traditional translator, I prefer to use my own brain to translate, but I can appreciate these tools and their usefulness, especially when speeding up translation work in urgent projects. I recently upgraded my skills in translation technology and trained in Trados Studio 2017, memoQ, and Memsource. Through another translation provider, I have already used MateCat, which I find quite intuitive.

Certified Translation: An official translation of a document made by a translator who has passed a specific and very rigorous exam, whose passing rate is usually around 20% among those who try it. This means that it is a very special accreditation indeed. Not every translator is able to offer the services of a Certified Translator.

Chuchotage: See Whispered Interpreting

Code of Ethics: A professional translator, like a professional of any recognised business profession, follows a set of rules to make sure that he or she treats his clients with respect, fairly, honestly and truthfully and complies with local laws and government regulations. Ethics are morals, rules of behaviour, if you like, including but not limited to keeping client files, trade secrets and intellectual property confidential. I follow the Code of Ethics of the Society of Translations and Interpreters of BC (STIBC), which can be found on their website page. I also have a separate page on this website dedicated to ethics.

Community Interpreting: See Escort Interpreting

Computer-Assisted Interpreting (CAI): A type of oral translation where human interpreters use computer software to help them interpret, to improve the quality of their interpreting and to increase their productivity.

Conference Interpreting: This refers to Simultaneous Interpreting (see below).

Consecutive Interpreting: This is very different from Simultaneous Interpreting (see below). Granted, it is still the oral transfer of one language into another, but usually a consecutive interpreter will go both into and out of each language of the Language Pair. For instance, if I have a French client who wishes to communicate with his English client and vice versa, I would interpret both from French into English and from English into French, so that both speakers can understand each other. I have done this type of work a lot, especially at very high level business meetings, in Asia, in Africa, and in Europe.

Court interpreting: This is interpreting that takes place at the courts. Clients are usually either witnesses or people being tried for alleged offences most often in front of a judge. It requires a special course and leads to certification. I have taken the course and have some experience in this type of interpreting, but I do not have certification for this special skill.

Editing: This is where I take your (usually English) manuscript, and make it better. I will read every single word, fix your grammar, correct your spelling errors, check your references, question your word use, if necessary, and generally transform your creation into a far better version, ready for publication. I have done this many times. One of my clients once said the following kind words about my work: (“[Angela] edited my second book with great skill and humour. I ended up with a far better product at the end of the process and also learnt a great deal about grammar ... If you want your articles or books to move from mediocre to smooth, streamlined, beautiful reading, get Angela to edit your work. She brings a ... very high standard of grammar, punctuation and general knowledge. She will make your writing sing. Angela is my secret!” - Jacoline L., Writer, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Editing Rate: If you have a translation into English that has been handed into you by another translator for whom English is not their first language, or if you have written a text yourself in English for publication and you would like me to check it over for grammar, spelling, cohesiveness, consistency or even to make sure it conforms to either British or Canada or US spelling, I have a rate for this too. My editing rates are normally one-quarter to one-third of my usual translation rate, depending on the technical level of the text. The higher rate will be applied if I need to double-check specialized vocabulary.

Educational Interpreting: This is consecutive interpreting between people who do not speak the same language and who are trying either to access or provide services related to education.

Escort Interpreting: I provide this type of interpreting when I escort you to doctor or dentist appointments or to lawyers' offices for legal advice, for instance. In fact, I can help you deal with any type of administrative body or professional by relaying your questions in English and then conveying to you their answers in your language. I have a certificate in this skill, which is also known as Community Interpreting. I have also heard it more recently referred to as Liaison Interpreting.

Interpretation: This is the oral transfer of one language into another. An interpreter speaks whereas a translator writes. (See references to Consecutive Interpreting and Simultaneous Interpreting).

Language Pair: This refers to the two languages involved in the translation or interpretation. One is the Source Language the other is the Target Language.

Language Service Provider (LSP): See Translation Project Management.

Languages of Lesser Diffusion: These are languages for which there are few speakers in a given country but who need, and have the right to, language assistance in order to access services.

Limited English Proficient (LEP): Someone who does not know or speak English very well and would therefore benefit from using an interpreter who speaks his or her language fluently and is also fluent in English.

Localization: This refers to the task of almost re-writing a translation in order to adapt it for a specific market. For example, a text may have originally been written (translated) for the UK market but now needs to be localized for the USA market. This may involve some vocabulary changes, perhaps even adaptation to cultural or local references. In any case, in terms of these two cultures specifically, the text will most definitely require some spelling changes. Also have a look at the Glossary entry for Software Localization.

Machine Translation (MT): Provided by large worldwide corporations like Google, Microsoft and others, these are translations that have been rendered by machines and are therefore still far from perfect. We human translators sometimes find ourselves giggling at the ridiculous phrases they come up with. I remember one that came up while I was working at the European Union. A machine had translated the French for “we had” (nous avions) as “we airplanes!” Some corporations and multinational governments do have to rely on machine translations, at time, especially when there is just too much work to be handled by human translators. In this case, multi-page documents are processed by these machines and then humans revise the resulting translations to the best of their ability in view of the usually short time factor involved. This job is known as Post-editing.

MateCat: A CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tool that I have used for one of my translation providers. A cloud-based application, I am quite comfortable working with it and find it quite intuitive, though more basic than either memoQ or SDL Trados.

memoQ: A CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tool that I learned to use during a course in Belgium recently. It is computer-based and can do more complicated tasks than MateCat or Memsource. People I have talked with and who use it find it a lot easier to work with than SDL Trados.

Memsource: A CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tool that I learned to use during a course in Belgium recently. A cloud-based application, I feel quite comfortable working with it and find it quite intuitive.

Minimum Charge: If a translation involves only a few words, for example if you want just a few words that another translator missed, or you have a new slogan for your marketing campaign, then I do have a minimum charge as I still need to communicate with you, write up an invoice, deposit your payment, etc. My minimum rate refers to translations under 100 words.

Mobile interpreting: If you have ever been on a tour in a noisy place where there are many groups and many tour guides possibly speaking in a cacophony of different languages, then you have probably worn one of those devices around your neck. You can hear your own guide's voice through your ear piece which is attached to a receiver set to a specific channel. This way, you don't hear any guides speaking to other groups. Now, picture yourself in a factory, say, in a foreign country where your host is explaining the factory set up, in a language you don't understand. I, as your interpreter, would stand beside the guide while he speaks and would almost simultaneously speak in English into my microphone which your receiver would pick up and you would hear me, instead of the guide. It is known as Mobile because you can walk around while you are listening to the interpretation.

On-Site Interpreting (OSI): Consecutive interpreting in person or face-to-face, used in healthcare and legal settings. This is the best way to interpret consecutively as everyone can see and hear each other and the interpreter can observe body language for extra visual clues regarding meaning.

Over-the-Phone Interpreting (OPI): Consecutive interpreting over a phone, usually used in healthcare settings. Potential problems are a compromised voice quality and cell phone service interruptions. Moreover, as the interpreter cannot see either of the interlocutors he or she is interpreting between, there are no visual clues to aid in meaning. Landlines are best for this type of interpretation method.

Payment: I am not set up to accept credit card payments, but I can accept Euros (by wire transfer or direct transfer if you are located in Europe), USD (by certified cheque) and Canadian dollars (by e-transfer). If you are located in British Columbia, Canada, I will be required to add 5% GST to my invoice.

Per-Hour Rate: This is how I would invoice you for Consecutive Interpreting, for Transcribing and for Subtitling.

Per-Word Rate: This is how I would invoice you for Translations, for Proofreading or for Editing your own writing and making it ready for publication. It is usually based on the number of words in the Source Text where translation is concerned or in the English text in the case of Proofreading or Editing.

Post-editing: This is what humans do after a massive complicated document has been machine translated and is therefore still far from perfect (see Machine Translation.)

Proofreading: Also known as Revision, this is a service I provide in which I check a translation that another translator has already completed. I carefully check the source text against the target text to check for errors, omissions, terminology issues, style, grammar, consistency, etc. Experience teaches us that four eyes are always better than two. Sometimes a proofreader has more experience than a translator and can suggest better words, check for overused words, or provide the exact terminology necessary when it is a case of a specialized subject that the original translator was not actually qualified for. Experience also teaches us that an inexperienced translator may sometimes stick too close to the original text and consequently the English translation does not sound “English” at all. It is usual for the translator to receive the translation back with the proofreader's comments and the translator then has the ultimate decision on whether to use the proofreader's suggestions or not. However, if the client is not satisfied with the original translator's submission and knows that a proofreading has been performed, he or she has the right to ask for the proofreader's comments and decide for his/herself if he would like a re-translation to be made.

Proofreading Rate: If you have a translation that has been handed into you by another translator and you would like me to check it over for grammar, spelling, cohesiveness, consistency or even to make sure it conforms to either British or Canada or US spelling, my proofreading rates are normally one-quarter to one-third of my usual translation rate, depending on the technical level of the text. The higher rate will be applied if I need to double-check specialized vocabulary.

Remote Simultaneous Interpreting (RSI): This type of interpreting is becoming increasing more fashionable, especially for global business meetings and conferences. Interpreters, located in one or more different places from the audience, convey the message simultaneously - i.e. at the same time as the speaker is speaking - and usually work in teams of 2 or 3 from different locations.

Revision: See Proofreading.

Rush Fee: Sometimes your project is really urgent (I note that some “rush translations” I receive are documents that were actually written two or three years ago (!) so a little foreplanning on your part is greatly appreciated.) If the deadline is really short, it means I will have to work over time and/or on my weekends so, since I am sacrificing my weekend for you, it would be only fair for you to agree to a mark-up for urgent turn around! For instance, if you send me a document at 4:59 p.m. PST and need it translated by 9:00 a.m. the next morning, or if you send it to me on Friday night and want it for Monday morning, or if you require a 5,000-word document translated in 24 hours, I will add a “rush” fee.

SDL Trados: A CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tool that I learned to use during a course in Belgium recently. Computer-based, it can do more complicated tasks than either MateCat or Memsource. However, the other students agreed with me that it is unfortunately still full of bugs compared to the easier-to-use memoQ.

Sight Translation: This is the oral translation of a written text. This might happen for instance in the middle of a meeting for which I am providing consecutive interpreting. The client hands me a document that he wishes me to translate orally into the Target Language right there and then, either so that he can know what the document is about or in order to let his client (also at the meeting) to know what it is about. This is included in the per-hour rate that I charge for Consecutive Interpreting. There is no additional per-word cost. Sight Translation could, in fact, be considered the opposite of Transcription.

Simultaneous Interpreting: This is the oral transfer of a Source Language to a Target Language performed almost at the same time as the speaker of the source language is speaking and very cleverly managed by pairs of linguists who take turns 30 minutes at a time and work in soundproof booths at conferences for the most part. I do not offer this service, but I do have colleagues who do, if you would like a referral. Just recently, actually, I had the privilege of joining some of my colleagues in a booth at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia to watch and listen to them in full working mode for three days. As a result, I was invited to join a training session taught by United Nations interpreters from Geneva and Vienna. Unfortunately, I had to decline due to not being available on some of the dates allocated for the training session and testing period. There is also such a thing as Simultaneous Interpretation by Whispering (see below).

Software Localization: A specialized form of translation that adapts a website or application (app) to another language. The translator will be provided with strings of computer code containing words in one language that need to be translated into another language. It helps a lot if the translator has learned some computer coding so as to know which words need to be translated and which need to stay in their original language. If certain words are part of the coding and are translated to another language, the code won't work. Measures, currency and dates may also need to be adapted for local use and a variety of versions may be required for use in different devices, such as Windows, Mac, IOS, Android and mobile apps. Localization for mobile systems is particularly tricky as more precise language is required to fit inside the limited screen sizes. This requires creativity on the part of the translator to make sure that meaning is not compromised.

Source Language: This is the language of origin, i.e. the language that is requested to be translated into another language, known as the Target Language. So when I translate from Spanish into English, for instance, Spanish is the Source Language and English is the Target Language.

Source Text: This refers to the document that you wish me to translate for you, and likely will be either in French or Spanish.

Standard Rate: This is the rate I charge for a translation that falls under one of my specializations and as long as the file you give me to translate is in Word format (.doc). It also means that your deadline is manageable in that I can complete the project within my normal working hours and I don't need to work over time to finish it. Excel files are little trickier so may require a higher per word rate. An Adobe pdf file is also slightly more time consuming because either I have to convert it to a Word format before translating (if it is possible - some Adobe files are not, especially if they have pictures), or I have to type from scratch and therefore my task takes more time. Consequently, if you can provide me with a Word format your rate will be the best I can give you.

Subtitling: Sometimes I am asked to add subtitling to videos so as to widen the video's audience. The entire project in fact is made up of three quite separate operations: 1. Transcribing, 2. Translating and 3. Subtitling. Sometimes I am asked to transcribe the original audio then translate it and then turn the translation into subtitles and add them to the text. This is tricky as the subtitling has to fit into the same time line as the original version. It is a long process but can be done. The pricing will be a combination of a Per-Word Rate and a Per-Hour Rate. The Transcription will be per hour, the Translation, per word and the Subtitling, per hour.

Target Language: This is the language that the text or speech is transferred into. In a translation from French to English, for instance, French would be the Source Language and English would be the Target Language.

Terminology Bank: This term refers to a database of single words, compound words or phrases and expressions made up of a number of words that are sometimes specific to a certain company or field of expertise. They might not, for instance, have the same meanings that they would have in general, every day use or in other fields of expertise. Specialized experts called Terminologists spend their careers building up these multilingual databases to serve Translators when they are looking for specific terms pertaining to their industry.

Transcreation: Used in the marketing industry, this type of service is basically adapting copywriting to market the same product to different audiences in different markets or countries. I do not provide this service....yet.

Transcription: This is an operation whereby a speaking voice is recorded in an audio file and a transcriber then listens to the voice and renders it (types it) into written form. There is no transfer of language. A French oral file is transferred into a French written file. This transcription can then be translated into English, for instance, once it is in written form. I have done this but it is usually best if a person who is from the same background as the speaker is the one to transcribe the oral version into the written form. If there is no video to accompany the audio file, it is sometimes difficult if the speaker has a thick accent or refers to people or places that the transcriber is unfamiliar with. I was recently asked to “translate” into English directly from an audio file of a French speaker from an unknown rural area somewhere in Africa. I was not even told where in Africa the speaker was and there was so much interference in the audio file that I was not 100 percent what the speaker was talking about during the 10 minute interview. As I was unable to feel I could do a perfect job, I turned it down. I requested that the job provider have someone else transcribe the audio file into written French, preferably an educated native French linguist from the same rural area as the speaker who therefore knew the place names he was mentioning. Once that task was completed, I would be comfortable with translating the written form into English. I discussed this with a colleague and he agreed that I had made the right professional and ethical decision by turning down this task. I am otherwise quite happy to transcribe understandable French, Spanish or English audio files into written form. This type of work will be invoiced at a Per-Hour Rate.

Translation: This is the act of transferring a written text in one language (known as the Source Language) into another written text in another language (known as the Target Language). It is different from Sight Translation (see above). In order to complete my Master of Arts in Translation degree, in addition to rigorous written, sight and oral exams, I translated a Que sais-je book published in 1985 by Presses Universitaires de France called Le Piano by Claude Helffer and Catherine Michaud-Pradeilles, most of it anyway as the thesis required translation of 100 pages. I was privileged to meet Mr. Helffer in person and to correspond with Mme Michaud-Pradeilles during the project.

Translation Memory (TM): This is a database that is created from a translated document through the use of a CAT (Computer-assisted Translation) Tool. The database contains “segments,” that can be full sentences, entire paragraphs or other units such as headings, titles, etc. This database can then be used for subsequent translations that contain the same segments in order to assist human translators and speed up their work, at least that is the aim.

Translation Project Management: Also sometimes called a Language Service Provider (LSP). This is not a service I offer as I am just one person. Translation Project Management tends to be handled by large companies with one or more project managers who can for instance accept medium- to large-size translations from you that need to be translated into several languages at a time. They divide up the work among their pool of translators and proofreaders, prepare the documents in whatever file format they need to be, create CAT tool-ready files if necessary and on the whole coordinate the entire project so that it can be returned to you on time in as many languages as you requested.

Translation Technology (TM): This term refers to the use of CAT (Computer-Assisted Translation) Tool or Machine Translation in a project, usually one that is large and complicated and may require to be divided up among several translators and proofreaders so that previously translated terms for the same client can be integrated from a Translation Memory or a Terminology Bank.

Video Remote Interpreting (VRI): Audio-visual interpreting via a computer using a headset (headphones and microphone), a camera and internet using a communications application such as Zoom. It is popular in healthcare settings where interpretation is provided consecutively. Some disadvantages are compromised voice and video quality, as well as potential interruptions in internet service.

Voice-over: This is where I record an audio file in a language other than the original language. I have created voice-overs for clients in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian and German. The subject matters in these cases were tourism, the translation industry, and the wood industry.

Volume Discount: I can consider offering a lower Per-Word Rate for larger projects, since it decreases my administrative costs and, if there is repetition, I can save some time with copy-paste operations. However, if I do accept a larger project, then, depending on its volume, I may ask for a deposit to cover the fact that I will have to turn down other projects while I am working on yours. Moreover, if it is a project that has the potential to take several months, I may ask for interim payments as the work processes.

Whispered Interpreting: Also called Chuchotage, this is Simultaneous Interpreting provided softly and quietly into the ear of the client when there is no booth and the client is the only one hearing (or needing to hear) the target language. This type of interpreting I have done, but I do prefer to go into English in this type of work.

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