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Terminology Management: Get It Right The First Time


If your company works internationally and uses translation on multiple occasions a for different types of documents, having a glossary for the translator will be very helpful. It helps them to follow your company brand, voice, and style.

The importance of a term base

  • Consistency – web, print, and multimedia all maintain the same expression throughout when the glossary is in place for both the original and the translated words/phrases. It also ensures the proper language and dialect are being used.
  • Preference – translations with a glossary assist the translator in ensuring no marks are missed when it comes to your company’s style.
  • Clarity – Faster turnaround times for the translation are always a bonus for companies. Every time a translator has a question, it slows down the process. Providing a clear meaning and removing the “grey area” will help speed up the process.
  • Speed – Reducing the chance of error, and the need to make corrections helps speed up the time. Having the preferred terms and phrases beforehand will leave less corrections and edits to make in the final review phase.

Creating the Glossary

Defining the important terms is the first step in creating a glossary. Style guides and previous material can be used to extract the terms needed. While this process was once done manually there are now Language Service Providers that are able to use tools to speed up the process. The tools help identify repeated phrases, nouns, and verbs used routinely throughout your text. These terms are then reviewed by a specialist and cleaned up for a final list of the recommended terms. These terms then need to be approved. These terms are then translated into the target language for the appropriate audience, with the proper meaning so misinterpretation is less likely to occur.

While we would prefer to have this completed up front it could also be completed after your first project, that way it can be utilized going forward on future projects.

Glossaries should Include

  • Company name, product name, specific services, unique terms to your business. Brand specific slogans, taglines, abbreviations, and brand terminology
  • Industry specific terms, words to be clarified as synonyms, and slang terms
  • Words not wanted to be translated
  • SEO keywords. This ensures that keywords will be properly used and effectiveness will increase.

Glossary can include more than just terms, too! Some have also included dates, name of the reviewer, context, and definitions. Context is specifically important if definitions are not included. This allows the translator to properly understand how to appropriately use the term through the translation.

Updating Glossary    

Glossaries are not constant, they should be updated with the business as it evolves, as well as when new products are offered, services are modified, new technology is brought in or marketing approaches are updated. Also, if any suggestions are made or questions are asked regarding the glossary, add them into the glossary for future reference.

A glossary becomes a dependable item for future translations and adding additional team members on to the work you need completed down the road.

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