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Localization glossary

Localization is becoming an increasingly on-demand and sophisticated process of translation. It is used by businesses on their e-commerce websites, multilingual applications, and many other mediums. 

As a natural result of the development of localization, dozens of terminologies are constantly added to it. 

In this article, we’re providing a comprehensive list (glossary or a handbook) of these terminologies to assist beginners who might be intimidated by the amount of the jargon, and to assist clients and customers to be well aware of localization terminology that could benefit them when hiring for the best localizer for their needs.


What is Localization?

Localization is like an extra step to translation. It involves catering to the target audience beyond the linguistic aspects. Localizing a business product involves translating it while keeping cultural values in mind, which leads the company to decide on UI and UX design, to the way it brainstorms advertising campaigns. 


Read more: What is Localization and its process


101% Matching/ Exact Matching

In translation memories, this often refers to the percentage of matching between a source text, and a previously translated string text obtained from the translation memory database. Both the translation and its context are matched.


Fuzzy Match

Fuzzy matching is another type of matching in translation memories that refers to non-exact matches.


Agile Localization

Tools used for merging the best of the two worlds (translation and localization) into one place. This enables team members to work simultaneously on the same project.


API Application Programming Interface

API is a powerful set of protocols that allows software to communicate with one another. It is used in localization to integrate a variety of language-related processes like translation and transcription into localization workflow.


Back Translation 

Back translation, also known as ‘reverse translation’ is a process of translating a translated text back into its source language. It is often done as a translation quality assurance step.


Computer Assisted Translation CAT

Computer assisted translation is not specific for localization, but it is certainly used by translators and localizers in the process. It is a system that supports translation memory, editing, quality assurance, and other valuable tools.



Globalization in the context of localization refers to the way businesses tweak their platforms to make them flexible enough to suit global audiences. It’s an ambitious strategy that targets customers and users all over the world, speaking their language and offers a medium that suits all.

Read more: the pros and cons of globalization


Internationalization (I18n)

Relevant to above mentioned globalization. Internationalization (i18n) refers to the way developers structure internationalized software that is flexible enough for all localization processes.



L10n is the symbol for localization among developers, it refers to the 10 letters after the initial letter L, and before the final letter n.


Language Service Provider (LSP)

An LSP is an agency, a company, or a freelancer who offers a variety of language-related services for businesses like translation, localization, transcreation, editing, content writing …etc. 

Read more about Language Service Provider



It’s from where the term localization has its essence. A locale refers to the combination of the language used in a specific geographical region/country.


Localization Software

Localization software or translation management software (TMS) is a project management software that keeps project managers, clients, translators, editors, and other team members all in the loop in one smooth interface.


Localization Testing/ internationalization testing

A quality assurance step. It’s a process of testing localization is attempted by computer software or smart applications.



As the name suggests, localizability describes the extent a string can be translated or not in terms of difficulty or problems encountered. For example, if the strings is fixed and can’t be changed at all, there is a localizability problem.



A localization kit is a group of files given to the translator that include source files, term bases, and glossaries, in order to assist with translation.


Post-Edited Machine Translation MTPE

After the machine attempts its translation of a certain text, a human translator or linguist reviews it to look for inconsistencies and mistakes. 



Pseudo localization is in one way or another implemented in the software internationalization process to look for any i18n issues, and to test how the content will look when translated.



One important quality assurance step that identifies any grammatical or spelling mistakes, leaving the document polished and without silly typos.

Quality Assurance QA

In localization, quality assurance can mean many things, from testing a product to auditing it, and collecting user reviews in order to know whether the final outcome is up to the standard.


Right-to-left (RTL)

In the context of localization and internationalization, RTL refers to languages written from the right to the left like Arabic, Urdu, and Hebrew, in contrast to LTR Latin languages like English or Spanish.


Source File

A source file contains the original language text that needs to be translated or localized. It is opposite to the target files in which the translated outcome is stored.


Translation Memory (TM)

A translation memory is a database of translated strings that are stored and can be retrieved at any time by a translator when they encounter a similar translation. Instead of repeating the translation of similar strings or segments, the translation memory offers suggestions. The previously mentioned terms exact, and fuzzy matches are ways the TM retrieves the data. 



Unicode is a coding standard that is able to represent all the alphabet of languages, in addition to other characters like emojis for example in one character set. Unicode is often referred to in the context of software internationalization. 


Graphical User Interface GUI

Graphical User Interface is a process that involves translating strings that appear on icons, text boxes, windows, and dialogue boxes. 


Machine Translation MT

Refers to translating text from one language to another with the help of the machine, without any human intervention.



In the context of CAT tools, translation management software, and translation memories, the segment corresponds to either a whole sentence, phrase, a chunk of text that exists either in the source text or in the target text. 



Transcription is the process of converting audio into text in the same language.



Transcreation is a way of translation that tries to translate the tone of voice, intent, and style of the original language. In short, it is a translation loyal to the source text. 



Globalization, Internationalization, Localization, Translation. It is an acronym written in reverse for 4 essential steps to taking your business global, where translation is the first step.


XML Localization Interchange File Format 

XLIFF is a widely accepted XML-based protocol within the translation domain. It streamlines the exchange of data, fostering better collaboration among team members involved in localization. Notably, it serves as a conduit for seamless communication and data transfer between various translation tools and platforms.



Simultaneous Shipping is an increasingly popular strategy that refers to the syncing of content or product releases across regional and international markets. 


Language Code

Language code is a systematic assignment of alphanumeric identifiers and allows for distinguishing between different languages. For example, the language AR represents Arabic. 


Concordance Search

Concordance search is a fundamental aspect of translation memory utilization. It involves a careful retrieval of specific phrases, words, or sequences within the database. This capability aids translators in maintaining consistency and accuracy across translations by referencing previous linguistic contexts.


Content Management System (CMS)

Similar to TMS, a content management system is a software tool designed to streamline the management of website content. You can think of WordPress as a CMS platform that allows users to organize their content.


Continuous Localization

An important part of agile localization entails the automatic integration of localization processes while the product is being developed. This approach optimizes efficiency and ensures linguistic consistency across evolving products. 



An acronym denoting “Do Not Translate,” is commonly applied to safeguard brand names, trademarks, and other critical phrases that necessitate preservation in their original language. 


In-context Translation

In-context translation gives translators contextual insights by presenting source text within its intended environment/context, including relevant content elements such as images. 


International SEO

International SEO encompasses strategic optimization efforts to boost a website’s visibility and search engine ranking across diverse geographic regions. By tailoring SEO strategies to accommodate cultural nuances and linguistic variations, businesses can effectively expand their global reach and drive traffic and conversions across several international markets.



Keys are like special labels for text in code or files. They get replaced with the right words when translating.


Language Pair

 The languages a translator knows well enough to work with. English-Arabic is one example of a language.



In the context of software internationalization, a placeholder is a set of characters that represent a variable and is replaced by the actual value programmatically. They can search a database of translation files and retrieve them to display the correct language in the UI. 



Fast Trans localization services

That being said, Fast Trans has established itself as a leading translation company across the MENA and it’s offering an array of localization services like: transcreation, software localization, and SEO translation. 


Our team of translators implement the latest translation technologies, meet tight deadlines with the highest translation quality.


When working with us on any project, a translation sample is offered for free, in addition to that we proudly offer highly competitive quotes compared to others in the market! 


Your journey with Fast Trans starts here

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