ULG’s Language Solutions Blog

Glossary Creation & Its Importance to Localization; A Four-Part Series

This blog marks the first in a four-part series. Meant to introduce the topic “Glossary Creation & Its Importance to Localization,” this blog will be followed by three subsequent blogs in the coming weeks. Each blog will cover one of three related topics in detail: 1) The Glossary Creation Process, 2) Glossary Management Best Practices, and 3) Common mistakes with glossary creation & management. The topic for this blog is: What is a Translation Glossary & How Do Clients Benefit?

What is a Translation Glossary?

Language, and individual words, can be inherently ambiguous. Often, words carry multiple meanings, depending on the context of their use. Take the word “field,” for example. When used as a verb, it carries multiple meanings: to open for questions, to catch or pick something up, to give an impromptu answer or solution, and more. “Field,” also carries multiple meanings as a noun. To add to the confusion, many organizations have their “own language” that includes company or industry-specific technical terms. Managing all of this in English is extremely complex in and of itself; when translation is introduced, it can become downright unmanageable. To help ensure accurate, contextual translations, many companies use a translation glossary.

A translation glossary is an index of specific terminology with approved translations in target languages. The glossary is used by a Language Service Provider (LSP) and their clients to ensure consistent translation of important terms across localization projects. Typically, a glossary is created in collaboration between an LSP and the client company. Glossaries are often reviewed by the quality assurance team at an LSP before a new project. In addition to company-specific and industry-specific technical terms, a glossary may also include names, trademark terms, non-translatable terms, or acronyms.

Glossaries are particularly useful in highly technical fields like medical device and industrial manufacturing, legal and finance sectors, and information technology. A glossary drives the technical clarity and consistency required in such industries. In the global marketplace, translation glossaries are a high-value tool with uses that extend beyond content development.

What are the Benefits?

In short, translation glossaries aid translators in ensuring that each time a defined term appears in any language, it is used and translated correctly and consistently. This consistency, in turn, eliminates uncertainty throughout the translation process, which allows the process to flow more effectively and efficiently. Over time, through the use of consistently maintained glossaries, clients will realize several benefits:

  • Drive consistent messaging
  • Enhance and protect a company’s brand image and trademarks
  • Limit the needs for and costs associated with in-country review
  • Reduce rework and waste throughout the content development and translation processes
  • Lower the overall cost of translation projects
  • Reduce time to market for new products or content

The glossary development process can be time-consuming upfront, but with the support of a strong Language Service Provider, the creation time can be minimized. More importantly, the glossary, if well maintained, will save you time and money in the future. To learn more about the glossary creation process, subscribe to United Language Group’s blog and follow us on LinkedIn to tune into the next part of the series – Managing the Glossary Creation Process.

Topics: Localization, Service