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Technical glossaries and termbases

What are technical glossaries and termbases?

Glossaries are simple lists, or larger databases, containing words (terminology) preferred by each client. In other words, a list of words in a spreadsheet. Typically, preferred translations appear in the next column.

Some glossaries feature many languages, some are just bilingual. All glossaries contain terminology data in different languages. Depending on the topic and how technical it is, the size of a termbase can vary between one, and millions of words.

Ideally, a translation agency should create a glossary for every customer — at QuickSilver Translate, we do! After creating it, an internal reviewer (the client) should validate it. At this point, they can make any changes they like. Once the glossary has been approved, it is in use and on-going. It is important to keep a glossary up to date — to include new products or services your company are offering, for example.

The purpose of a glossary / termbase is to ensure consistency in your messaging.

Integration with CAT tools

Furthermore, a glossary integrates into Computer Aided Translation software. Therefore, regardless of which translator is working on your project, the translator will only use previously approved terminology in the translation. This enables us to increase both the quality, and consistency, of a translation.

For more information on CAT tools, see our recent blog post What is Translation Memory?

Always choose the same word

By using a glossary, our translators ensure that they use the same translation, each time that word or term is featured in the text. As well as across projects.

For example, the term medical condition should not be translated into Spanish in different ways. The translator could, of course, translate it as ‘enfermedad’, ‘afección’ or ‘problema de salud’. They are all correct. However, we should always choose the option agreed in the termbase, to maintain clarity and a consistent message.

Conclusion – Technical glossaries

To summarise, a glossary is a just a list of words in the form of a spreadsheet. Typically, preferred translations appear in the next column. A Glossary ensures accuracy and consistency across your documentation.

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