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Abbreviations glossary

The T&I (translation & interpreting) industry has lots of specific abbreviations that we use without considering whether or not someone outside the industry or just breaking into the industry will know. I have used or will probably use the following abbreviations in my posts:

asap = as soon as possible
ATA = American Translators Association
.bak = the backup file for Trados, which contains both the source and target text
CAT = computer-assisted translation (the preferred term for a CAT tool is now TEnT, see below)
CV = curriculum vitae (commonly referred to as a resume)
EOB = end of business (universally considered 5 or 6 PM at the client’s location, unless otherwise specified)
EOD = end of day (see above)
ISP = Internet service provider
LISA = Localization Industry Standards Association
LSP = language service provider (can be a freelance translator and an agency)
MT = machine translation
NOTA = Northeast Ohio Translators Association (local ATA chapter of which I am currently the president)
OCR = optical character recognition (OCRing is the verb I use when talking about scanning a document in ABBYY FineReader and creating a usable file in Word that I can then translate using Trados)
PM = project manager
PO = purchase order (your PM should be issuing you one – or you should issue you one – for each job)
SL = source language
SOB = start of business (translation should be in your PM’s inbox when they get into work)
TBX = termbase exchange format
TEnT = translation environment tool (term coined by Jost Zetzsche)
T&I = translation and interpreting
TL = target language
TM = translation memory
TMX = translation memory exchange format. This standard enables the interchange of translation memories between translation suppliers.
WYSIWYG = an acronym for What You See Is What You Get, used in computing to describe a system in which content displayed during editing appears very similar to the final output

I may have forgotten something, so please let me know if I use an abbreviation that you don’t understand so that I can add it to the glossary. If you don’t understand it, chances are someone else might not either.



1. Cristel E. John - January 4, 2010

HI, I found your blog very interesting and enjoyed all your musings and also the hilarious doggie clip. I’m just in the process of setting myself up as freelance translator (German to UK English), initially based in Frankfurt, Germany, but am relocating to Wales later on this year (where I’m originally from, though my mum is German by birth).

I wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year 2010.

Best wishes,


2. Fernando Martinez - August 1, 2010

Ich finde Deinen Blog einfach klasse. I möchte mich vorstellen: Übersetzer Deutsch-Englisch-
Spanisch aus Havanna, Kuba, mit über 30 Jahre Erfahrung, lebend in Louisville, Kentucky
Viele Grüsse

3. Natalie - November 30, 2010

what is OCRing??

Jill (@bonnjill) - November 30, 2010

Good question, Natalie. It stands for Optical Character Recognition. I’ll have to add it to the glossary.

4. Adriana Pio Borges - March 20, 2011

i found your blog really interesting and helpful, so I’d love to subscribe by email to this site.

5. Amanda - June 14, 2011

What do “TT” and “ST” stand for?

Jill (@bonnjill) - June 14, 2011

Without knowing which blog post these abbreviations occur I would probably have used them when referring to the Target Text (translation) and Source Text (file from the client).

Faissal - August 28, 2017

ST : source text
TT: target text

6. Charlie - July 18, 2012

Your site is a really fantastic find. I’m currently involved in an undergraduate to graduate interpreting/translation track. I’m trying to soak up any information about these industries that I can. Thanks for the wealth of industry specific knowledge!

7. Tiyana Kiara - December 28, 2020

Hello, is there an abbreviation to add next to a text that is already in the target language. For example I am translating from Spanish to English a couple of words that are already in English so I would like to make notice of this. Thank you!

Jill (@bonnjill) - January 7, 2021

No, in this case I add a Translator’s note in brackets and either say “original text in English” or “see source text for English”. It depends on what the client wants me to do. But we do not have an abbreviation for something like this. It’s best to spell it out.

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