# What is the English name for a statistics term that I'm looking for?

I'm helping my father to translate a text from my own native Latvian language to English. Even though I'm a fair English speaker and have a bit of mathematics in my past, I never did have a firm grasp of statistics. :(

The term I'm looking for has something to do with error calculation. A GPS device is measuring coordinates and then trying to estimate the error. In wikipedia I've come across two different likely terms - Mean squared error and Root mean square error. From what I can understand, they are not one and the same thing, but what each of them means is beyond me.

A direct translation from Latvian language would be "average (mean?) squared error estimate". No idea what that means either, I'm afraid.

Perhaps someone here has a better idea?

• There are a lot of terms which could be what you are after, but without more details or at least more context (how is the estimate calculated?) I don't see how anybody could help you. – Glen Wheeler Apr 1 '11 at 9:05
• @Vilx-, can you provide the latvian term in the comments? I am Lithuanian, so I might guess better. Also in what context that term is used? Maybe there is some data on which it is calculated? It would be easier to guess precisely what it is. – mpiktas Apr 1 '11 at 9:08
• Give a few examples, without seeing some numbers and the process we can't help – jimjim Apr 1 '11 at 9:08
• The Latvian term is "vidējo kvadrātisko kļūdu novērtējums". I'll try to get some formulas, though I doubt my father will know them. It's just something that the device does. :P – Vilx- Apr 1 '11 at 9:14
• @Vilx-, I suspect this is root mean square error, if we assume that latvian statistical terminology is based on russian, as lithuanian is. Unfortunately without formulas or data examples it will be impossible to tell for non-Latvian. There is a strong possibility that this term was translated from English by non-statistician with liberal interpretation, so exact meaning might be lost. – mpiktas Apr 1 '11 at 9:34