localization glossary
Localization Insights

What Localization Terms Do You Need to Know? A Basic Glossary

Localization Insights

Localization is much more than run-of-the-mill translation. It is a process of adapting a product, application, or document-related content to meet linguistic, cultural, and any other target market requirement. The purpose of localization is to give the service or product essence and value that meet the needs of a target market, and to make it feel native for local readers, users, or customers.

A Basic Localization Overview

Small and midsize businesses, or SMBs, which are looking to invest in quality localization or have just initiated the localization process, are often still unfamiliar with the terminology surrounding the concept. While localization is primarily aimed at quality translation, it also involves many other technologies that complement the process.

Without further ado, here is a detailed look inside the professional terminology and glossary surrounding the localization process. 

Localization Glossary: Basic Localization Terms to Know

Agile Localization

Agile localization is a combination of practices that integrate localization and translation into an agile product development process. Here, the localization is implemented as part of the agile process, whereas in continuous localization, it is entirely incorporated into the software’s continuous performance and delivery. 


API, or Application Program Interface, specifies how software components should interact with one another. APIs are used when programming GUI, or graphical user interface, components. 

CAT Tools

The term CAT stands for Computer-Assisted Translation, and it is often used for the translation of ordinary documents. CAT Tools can include Crowdin, Memsource, XTM, Smartcat, OmegaT, Trados, Metatexis, Wordfast, and other software. 

Continuous Localization

Continuous localization integrates the translation into software development cycles. Instead of adding a separate localization workflow to an existing agile software development process, localization teams work with content as soon as developers make it available.

Concordance Search

This process allows you to search any word, phrase, and wording sequence within the translation memory.  You can find the translation units by searching and see how they have been translated before. 

Collaborative Translation

Collaborative Translation refers to the process of a group of people working together on a particular translation process to improve content quality. It is considered the utmost time-saving translation process.


This term stands for ‘do not translate,’ and it refers to trademarks, brand names, slogans, and other phrases that don’t need to change and can use their original language.

DTP (Desktop Publishing)

DTP, short for desktop publishing, is the concept of reformatting the localized documents in the target language in the original design. This is done by a design specialist and is necessary when the source text is part of a layout, to ensure that the text in the target language is still formatted nicely as text length or direction may change when it is translated.

Fuzzy Matching

Fuzzy Matching is the most significant benefit of using a TM. It is the process of matching a segment after the localization project is submitted. Each segment is compared with the new translation content.


Globalization is the adaptation of a particular resource that meets the requirements of multiple cultures and locales. 


A glossary is a list of terms and definitions from the localization industry intended for a specific localization process. Glossaries explain each related localization term, along with a suitable translation for it wherever possible. 


GUI is short for Graphical User Interface. This process involves translating the text strings that appear on text boxes, windows, icons, or dialog boxes, and resolves every error message that appears on the screen. 

Internationalization (i18n)

The process of internalization refers to designing content or products to make sure that they can be localized into numerous countries and regions without implementing any engineering changes.


This process describes the combination of a language and a particular country where the terminology is adapted, whether for a specific design or content. 

Localization (l10n)

The process of culturally adapting products, services, content, communications, and other business aspects to make them speak the language of a potential customer in your target market.


The acronym LSP stands for Language Service Provider. LSP refers to companies that offer translation and widespread linguistic services. These can include anything from interpretations to translations and language program learning.


MT is the acronym for Machine Translation. The MT process involves translating content from one language to another. Since it does not include any human translation, the quality of the generated content can be debatable. 


NLP, or Natural Language Processing is the automatic manipulation of natural language, like speech and text, by software.


NMT is a fully-automated translation technology that uses neural networks, which provides more accurate translation by taking into account the context in which a word is used, rather than just translating each individual word separately.


NMTPE or Neural Machine Translation Post-Editing is another form of MT or Machine Translation. Much like MT, NMTPE revolves around machine translation, which can process generous volumes of text, followed up by a review from a human translator as an added layer of quality assurance. 


This term refers to the process of verifying if your product is ready for localization. Instead of translating the product into a different language, the original text is replaced with an altered version.


RTL or right-to-left term is a process used for languages that are read and written from right to left. These languages include Hebrew, Arabic, Urdu, and Japanese. Because of these languages, it is crucial to adjust content when translating from right to left and vice versa. The layout of these languages can also affect UX and design of various written materials or websites.


Segment refers to a sentence, piece of text, or phrase, that represents a cognitive unit. It is utilized when searching for a match in the translation memory.


Simship refers to simultaneous shipping. This shipping method term is used when content is released for both domestic and foreign markets. It became standard in the language and IT sectors.


Transcreation is a relatively new term within the localization world. Many advertising translation specialists and marketers use this term to describe keeping the meaning of a message by translating it into another language without changing its original tonality, style, and intent. In this way it is a combination of translation and creation of content from scratch – rather than translate word for word, sometimes the content needs to be created in a new way that keeps the original meaning instead.


Transcription is another term in the localization glossary that refers to the process of converting audio or non-editable content into written form – all in the same language.


TM, or Translation Memory, is a database that keeps the original content that is translated for a language pair in translation units. Translation Memory is utilized to eliminate unnecessary translations or preserve relevant and already translated content.


Translation Management System or TMS is software for automating the translation process. This software supports complex projects and eliminates unnecessary and repetitive tasks from manual translation.  

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