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The Importance of a Glossary for Translation Services

If you are considering using a translation service provider for your multilingual content creation needs, make sure they include glossary development as part of their translation process. Maintaining a proper multilingual glossary helps ensure the consistency and correctness of your translations. In this blog, we will explore some important points about translation glossary development and localization.


What is the Purpose of a Glossary?

A glossary, or a termbase, is a vocabulary or collection of key terminology that’s specific to an industry and products/services. The purpose of a glossary is to define these industries- and product/service-specific terms with context in a universally approved form for use when the content is localized into other languages.

During the translation process, the translators will translate these terms into the target languages, and the terms are then stored in a database for future reference. Each time a translator uses a term, the translated version automatically appears thanks to computer assisted translation and terminology management tools commonly used today.

A glossary helps to ensure the consistency of the translation, both within a singular document or files, and even across documents or files. Developing a glossary is especially useful in industry-specific and product/service-specific areas such as technology, finance, medical, manufacturing, and many more, but you can benefit from using a glossary with any type of content.

Importance of Glossary for Translation Services

Using a Glossary along with a Style Guide

Translators will find that using a style guide along with a glossary is useful as well.  A style guide defines certain linguistic rules to follow, which are either specific to the industry or the organization.

For example, let’s say that a hospitality group creates a style guide. In it, they define the rules about naming and translating their properties, facilities, restaurants, and more, both in the source language and the translated versions. So a hotel may be named “The <hotel name> of <city>”.

When a hotel name comes up in the glossary, the translator will know how to translate it by following these rules. Translators can find a universal way of naming throughout the properties in either the source language or other languages.


Benefits of Using a Glossary

The content development and translation teams use a glossary and style guide as supporting tools to deliver consistent and high-quality content. The teams use these tools to improve translation quality as well as save time in future projects since they’ve already established terminology that has been approved for use. Clients can then reduce their translation costs in the long run while also increasing efficiency.


Developing a Glossary

A translation company will go through several key steps to develop a glossary:

  1. Extract Terminology

Translation team members, usually language leads, will review all of the reference materials provided by a client and create a list of key terminology, brand names and special trademark registered names. Usually select client-side reviewers will review the extracted terminology to determine their relevancy and add/subtract them to/from the glossary accordingly.  Some terms may require terminology research and/or a client discussion to confirm relevance, exact meaning, etc.…

Note: You can create a glossary in a variety of formats, such as Word, Excel, Trados MultiTerm, and more.

  1. Localize the Glossary

Once the terms are identified, the localization team translates these terms into the target languages. Again, some terms may require terminology research or a client discussion to confirm relevance, exact meaning, etc.…

  1. Review and Approve the Terms

In each of the target languages, the client’s in-country reviewers will then review the localized glossaries to approve them or make recommendations. Once approved, we’ll import the glossaries into the client’s terminology memory (translation memory) database to ensure accuracy and consistency on all future projects.

Importance of Glossary Translation Services


Learn More about Glossaries

GPI has extensive experience in developing multilingual style guides and glossaries for a range of clients across many industries.  To learn more about translation glossary development, check out how we helped the International Cricket Council (ICC) develop and create a multilingual glossary for the governing body of the world’s 2nd most popular sport.