Acronyms and co.

Clients have been very generous with me over the years. They’ve identified for me countless things that I should or should not do and most of all they’ve taught me the importance of acronyms and abbreviations in this business.

I’m joking of course. Yet to be honest with you I never cared much for acronyms used on a regular basis. Those who make use of them have always seemed to me to be a little pretentious and whenever I hear people making a large use of acronyms I always think that they don’t really give much importance to the effect that their choice of words will have on their audience.

But, be that as it may, one cannot deny that our job is fraught with acronyms that identify tasks and functions. We have PM for Project Manager, to start with the most obvious one. Then we have TEP for Translation, Editing and Proofing, possibly the most common set of tasks for a translator. We have LSO, which stands for Language Sign-Off, and which is a kind of proofing whereby the translator reviews and then endorses the linguistic quality of a translated text. Among the most recent ones we’ve learnt are PLP, which also refers to a kind of proofing, but unfortunately we’ve not worked out the exact meaning (or it was simply forgotten) and now we simply perform PLP without asking too many questions. The very latest one is TAT, which stands very aptly for Turn Around Time, a very nice and very important latest addition to our list of localization acronyms.

There are others of course, many others, though sometimes and for some of them I find it hard to make out whether they have been made up and spread by a single client or whether they are indeed widely used in the business.

Yet at the end of the day, this massive use of acronyms does nothing to advance clarity of purpose while it does, in fact, make you feel that it is sometimes more important to know what a few initials stand for than to perform a task that somebody else is asking you to perform.

[Tue, Jan 12th 2010]
PLP = Post-Layout Proof

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