What is a Translation Glossary?

Whether you’re new to the translation and localization process, or have been working on projects for years, it’s important to understand the lingo associated with the language industry, and equally important that you be familiar with the tools used to improve the quality and efficiency of your translation projects.

Lionbridge FAQ - Translation GlossaryI’ve already covered some of the terminology (for instance, Some Differences Between Interpretation and Translation, and Translation and Localization, What’s the Difference?), so today I thought I’d talk about Translation Glossaries, and provide you with a link to a fantastic Lionbridge FAQ on the topic.

First of all, what is a translation glossary?
It’s essentially a list (like a spreadsheet or database) of your company’s key terminology in the source language (most often this is English), and the approved translations for that terminology in all of your target languages. The glossary may also contain other metadata such as the definition, context, part of speech, and approval/review date. It is one of the key tools language experts use to assure all translated materials meet your quality requirements.

Okay, but what good is it? (aka, “who cares?”)
There are many advantages to having a Translation Glossary. For instance, they:

  • Help eliminate uncertainty in the translation process
  • Enforce consistency
  • Shorten the time it takes to translate a document
  • Reduce the overall cost of translation over time

Even if you’re brand new to the world of translation, you can just tell those are all good things.

There’s a lot to know
I’m no mind-reader, but I can take a pretty good guess about a few other things you may be wondering:

  1. How is a Translation Glossary created?
  2. How is a Translation Glossary used?
  3. How big should a Translation Glossary be?
  4. What makes a good Translation Glossary?

Rather than answering those questions here, I’d rather just give you the link to a really good Lionbridge FAQ on the topic, What is a Translation Glossary? It’s free, it’s really well written, and it’s all yours with the click of your mouse button.


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