What is the use of a glossary?

What is the use of a glossary?

December 2019

Terminology plays a fundamental role in virtually every translation project. It is therefore highly recommended that clients build a glossary in cooperation with a translation agency.

You could ask yourself the question: “Why should I still approve a series of possible translations if I already outsourced my translation work?” Allow us to clarify our suggestion below.

What it entails

A glossary is a list of terms whose translation into one or more languages has been approved by you with regard to one or more translation or localisation projects. A glossary may contain several elements, such as definitions or abbreviations, which have also been approved by you. Ideally, a glossary will evolve along with your company and will be regularly updated and enriched throughout the translation work. It is usually made in Word or Excel.

Its purpose

A glossary should pursue three objectives:

      • to respect your company’s specific terminology, especially in terms of your technical field or key messages conveyed by your brand (e.g. slogans and phrases that are typical of the brand);
      • to ensure the consistency of the terminology throughout the entire translation project (and any subsequent ones);
      • to guarantee coherence with existing content within your company (e.g. brochures, website, etc.).

As a bonus, a precise and up-to-date glossary is also very interesting in terms of SEO. After all, a well-considered use of terms helps to strengthen your presence and visibility online.

The benefits for you as a customer

You can expect consistent terminology, even if there are several translators working on your project or if there are multiple translations going on at the same time. In addition, glossaries save translators time, reducing delivery times. And least but definitely not least: you save costs. After all, it costs more to make terminological adjustments to documents after they have been translated. This can be avoided if there is a glossary available that you approved in advance.

The image shows a pictogram of a glossary