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Translation Glossary

When developing your own professionally translated materials, please share our translation glossary with your translation company. Using the consistent terms for CTE programs and concepts helps to ensure that information is understandable across languages.

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Translation FAQ

Why use a translation glossary? A translation glossary ensures that translations with be consistent and high-quality. This is vital to ensuring that families and students understand and recognize what you’re talking about.

How does translation consistency facilitate understanding? Specialized terms and program names have a specific meaning. For example, although Health Assisting and Medical Assisting sound similar, Health Assisting has a focus on providing direct care to patients while Medical Assisting combines administrative support with office-based tasks such as recording height and weight and taking patient vitals. It would be very confusing if schools referred to programs in “Patient Care-giving” or “Physician Assisting” or “Healthcare Support Services” while others used the standard terms Health Assisting and Medical Assisting. Using consistent terminology is important in English and any other language.

Is it ok to use machine or computer-generated translation such as Google Translate? These apps should only be used for very informal communications where inconsistency will not create confusion or misinformation. This is because computer-generated translations rely on artificial intelligence / AI systems that are not sophisticated enough to understand the context of an individual word or short phrase.

For example, the phrase “Superintendent of Boston Public Schools” makes sense to longtime residents of Massachusetts. However, not all countries have public school systems, and those that do may not be overseen at the level of cities/towns. Further, the title “Superintendent” might exist in other countries but it might not commonly refer to an educational context. Therefore, a computer-generated translation of this phrase might end up implying “Police superintendent of Boston open-to-the-public schools.” A professional translator would know to rephrase the sentence to communicate the concept of an education official who leads the schools within a community.

Will translation ensure that families understand? As with the example above, understanding involves both consistent language and the culturally-specific experiences of those you are communicating with. It is wise to explain as many specialized terms as possible and to provide opportunities for families to ask questions and digest any differences between the U.S. context and their country of origin. Bilingual staff members or cultural ambassadors can help ensure that families truly understand in a deeper way than what is possible through translation alone.

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