<span id="hs_cos_wrapper_name" class="hs_cos_wrapper hs_cos_wrapper_meta_field hs_cos_wrapper_type_text" style="" data-hs-cos-general-type="meta_field" data-hs-cos-type="text" >How to Create a Translation Glossary (And Why It’s Important)</span>

How to Create a Translation Glossary (And Why It’s Important)

Tone, voice, and style are critical components of your company's brand connecting with your audience. These three components demonstrate your organization's confidence, expertise, sense of humor, or any other attribute you want to convey to your customers. Within a single language, maintaining a consistent tone, voice, and style prevent the dilution of your organization's message. Translated across multiple languages (sorry for the pun), the difficulty of maintaining this consistency only compounds. Developing a translation glossary for your company ensures that your translations are of the highest quality and meet both your technical needs and brand.

New call-to-actionA glossary is your company's list of standardized terms in the source language. It may also include definitions of those terms or company-approved translations for those terms. When dealing with translating complex or technical ideas, glossaries become a crucial element in your translation process. 

Creating a glossary at the beginning of a translation is a helpful way to make sure that your company's most important terms are translated accurately and consistently. It can also be useful with future translations, letting linguists know how those words and phrases were used previously. While a client typically creates a glossary, your a Language Service Provider (LSP) can assist in selecting terms for inclusion in the glossary or in determining the best translations for critical terms.


A translation glossary should include the following: 

Key Terms:

At its heart, a glossary is a list of the most important words, phrases, products, and services in your file. If you have concepts in your documents that are highly specific to the subject matter or your company's culture, your glossary should contain a thorough list of all such relevant items. 


Definitions of these key terms are critical to making sure your linguist fully understands each concept completely. (Click Here to read about 5 Global Marketing Failures) This added context dramatically reduces the odds of misunderstanding a term. Providing definitions results in the most accurate possible rendering of your text into the target language.  

Preferred Translations:

Your company may have preferred translations for specific terms in your glossary, which need shared with your translator. It's essential that the client and the translators are on the same page regarding the preferred translations of important or frequently used phrases before the regular translation begins. This helps with the consistency of word choices, and it ensures that the concepts that matter most to you are translated the way you want them — the first time. 

What Shouldn't Be Translated:

You may want to leave certain products, services, or proper names in the source language. Including such preferences in a glossary is the best way to make sure that only the phrases that you want to be translated are translated. 

What's New:

Your glossary should be a living document, which is built and updated on over time. Adding new phrases before each translation will help it reflect your company's latest concepts and preferences. 


Having a translation glossary can be an indispensable part of any company's translation strategy. When used together with a style guide, it can make the in-country or in-house review process much quicker and simpler. The right translation provider will help you at every step of the way, whether it's with the initial creation of a glossary or deciding on standardized translations of key terms. That way, you can make sure that your translation says precisely what you want it to say. Contact Us to learn more about how LinguaLinx can help with your next translation project.


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