Why keep glossaries?

To round off our tech series, we consider the benefits of keeping glossaries and delve into what they actually are.

A glossary is a list of your organisation’s key words and terms in their source language, alongside approved translations in a target language or languages. It will often contain information about the context and usage of a term, so it can be easily standardised.

Glossaries are an asset for our linguists, helping them to ensure important terminology is translated consistently and in accordance with your brand messaging across all translations. This ultimately saves time by eliminating uncertainty during the translation process and helps you as the client to establish a strong, global brand identity.

If your organisation offers industry-specific services or has key terms or phrases that are particular to your brand identity, we would always start the translation process with glossary creation.

How do we use and create glossaries?

Many clients keep their own glossaries and provide them to us to assist with the translations. This is always helpful, but if you don’t have a glossary, we can work with you to create one.

When you ask us to create a glossary, we will use our translation management software to extract repeated terms from the material you provide us. This might include content from your website, style guides, internal documents, or any branded material that has been previously published. And if you have worked with us before, we can also use any previously translated material.

We will then “clean” that list of terms to identify those we think relate to your particular industry or brand, and provide them to you with a list of translations for your approval.

The approved list becomes your glossary. When we continue to work with you, we will use the same glossary for all future translations, adding and updating the terms as we go along. This will reduce the long-term cost and ensure consistency of our translation services.

What should a glossary look like?

Your glossary should be as concise as possible, and contain only key words and terms specific to your brand identity or industry. This will be especially useful if those words have multiple meanings in the source language, as it will save the translator time in selecting the right words.

It should also specify words and terms that should not be translated (for example your brand name, or terms that are universally understood). The glossary should be regularly updated as your brand evolves.

The more information available to our linguists, the more accurate the translation. While you will always want to review the translations we provide, a glossary can help you diminish the time involved in the task, as many translated terms will already have been approved.

Our ultimate goal as a language service provider is to help you communicate clearly and consistently to anyone, anywhere you choose. Glossaries are one of the vital tools we can use together to reach that goal.

If you would like to learn more about our glossary creation and other translation services, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


Read our other articles in this Tech series here:

Translation Memory

Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)