Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT)
A method of translation where a human translator uses software to support the translation process. CAT software packages incorporate translation memory and terminology database functionality, as well as tools which help with project management and formatting, for example. CAT tools enable multiple linguists to work seamlessly on the same project.
A specialist type of interpreting in the context of events such as international summits, multilingual conferences and high-level meetings. There are different ‘modes’ of conference interpreting, including consecutive and simultaneous. Because of the specialist nature of conference interpreting, it is essential that interpreters undergo training at postgraduate level. All our conference interpreters are fully qualified in this regard.
The largest users of conference interpreting are international organisations like the UN and EU institutions. However, other organisations (both large and small) may have occasional need for special events.
Interpretation of a speech or presentation once the speaker has finished. The interpreter listens to the speaker, (usually) takes notes, and then presents in another language as if he or she is the speaker. Due to advances in technology, this mode of interpreting is often replaced by simultaneous interpreting, but it is still used in certain contexts.
Listening to what someone says in one language, and reproducing it in another language. Interpreting is purely concerned with the spoken word – think of it like ‘verbal translation’. Many people use the terms ‘interpreting’ and ‘translation’ interchangeably, but this is not correct! Although the basic principle of changing one language into another is the same, translation and interpreting are two distinctly different concepts.
Sometimes also referred to as ‘bilateral interpreting’, liaison interpreting is most commonly used for smaller group settings. The speaker will pause at frequent intervals to allow the interpreter to interpret. One interpreter will usually interpret from and into both languages being spoken, so there is also a ‘mediating’ aspect to the work of the interpreter, who is essentially acting as a go-between. This type of interpreting is well suited to business meetings, workshops, interviews, negotiations and site visits, for example.
Machine Translation (MT)
The use of software to translate a text without the need for a human translator. You will probably have come across MT engines which are widely available online. Different systems use different approaches (e.g. rule-based, statistical), but the basic idea of entirely automated translation is the same. Although the quality has improved in recent years, it is still unsatisfactory for most texts; software cannot intelligently handle essential factors/textual subtleties such as tone, register, accuracy, idiom etc.
Public Service Interpreting
Interpreting which is provided in a public service setting such as a hospital, police station or court. All our public service interpreters are on the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.
The process of interpreting in real time with the help of specialist audio equipment, often in a sound-proof booth. The interpreter listens (usually through headphones) to what is being said in one language and (almost) simultaneously speaks the interpretation into a microphone. Those requiring interpretation listen through headsets tuned to the audio channel of their chosen language. Simultaneous interpreting is so intensive and demanding that interpreters work in teams of two or more.
Simultaneous interpreting comes under the umbrella term ‘conference interpreting’.
Termbase (or ‘terminology database’)
A database for storing special terminology (and related information) which may be client-specific or industry-specific, for example. Termbases make it easy to accurately manage and implement your terminology requirements.
Taking what is written in one language, and expressing it in another language. Translation is only concerned with the written word.
Translation Memory (TM)
A kind of database which stores phrases or sentences in one language together with their translation in any other language. This means that a given phrase or sentence is only ever translated once. If it appears again within the same document, or even in a different project, it is automatically inserted from the database.
At Aardvark, we have a client-specific TM for each language pair we have worked in. A TM helps a human translator ensure consistency across a client’s projects, even if other translators have previously worked for that client.