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Language Support 101: The Complete Language Services Glossary

The Complete Language Services Glossary.

There's no shortage of terms in the language services industry. Use this glossary to get familiar with commonly used words and phrases you may come across during your journey toward increased language access.


Localization  The process of adapting a translation to a specific country or region. For example, using common local terms, and leveraging local customs, slang, and idioms to foster deeper understanding and connection through language.
On-site / In-person Interpreting  Scheduling a set location and time for a language interpreter to meet with a customer or patient in person.
Telephone Interpreting / Over-the-phone Interpreting (TI, OPI) — A three-way conference call that includes two or more participants and an interpreter who provides interpreting services. For example, a doctor speaking through an interpreter to a patient via phone.
Transcreation  The process of adapting a message from one language to another without changing its intent, tone, or style.       
Transcription  The process of producing a written or printed representation of a conversation or other form of spoken communication.
Translation  A written or spoken rendition of a word, book, speech, or other text into another language.
Video Remote Interpreting (VRI)  A form of sign language interpretation that allows deaf or hard-of-hearing people to communicate with a hearing person through video conferencing.

Frequently Used Terms

Deaf  Lacking the ability to hear or having impaired hearing.
Desktop Publishing (DTP) — The process of creating electronic documents, books, brochures, presentations, and website content using computer programs.
Destination/Target Language  The language into which a text, written in a different language, is translated.
Hard of Hearing (HoH)  Loss of hearing with enough residual hearing remaining that a hearing aid or other auditory device may provide enough assistance for the person to process speech.
Health Disparities  Preventable differences in the impact of disease, injuries, violence, or opportunities to reach optimal health that socially disadvantaged ethnic, racial, and other communities and groups may experience.
Health Equity  Achieved when everyone has an equal, fair, and just opportunity to be as healthy as they possibly can be.
Human Translation (HT)  A human, rather than a machine, translating a text.
In-country Resources  Anything within a country's borders that has utility and adds value to life.
Interpreter  A person who translates another person's spoken words into a different language.
Language Access  Services that facilitate communication with persons who cannot speak, read, understand, or write in the language that is being used.
Language Access Plan  A blueprint for a language services provider to provide services to non-English speaking persons or those with limited-English proficiency.
Language Services Provider (LSP) — A company that partners with businesses and organizations to provide language solutions like interpretation and translation services.
Limited-English Proficiency (LEP)  Descriptive term for those with limited proficiency speaking and understanding the English language.
Machine Translation (MT)  Automated translation carried out by a computer.
Post-editing  Process of editing a machine (automated) translation.
Section 1557  Section of the Affordable Care Act of 2010 that details civil rights provisions.
Sight Translation  Translating a document or text out loud in the target language while reading it in the original language.
Source Language  A language that is translated into another language.
Translation Memory (TM)  A database that stores previously translated sentences, paragraphs, or sentence-like units in blocks that are used to help human translators.
Typesetting  The process of composing text by arranging physical type or the digital equivalent.
Translator  A person who translates written or spoken words from one language into another. 

Language Access, Simplified.

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Additional Resources

Additional Resources