Translation Terminology and glossaries. Vital things you need to know

Translation Terminology has an important place in the translation process. We can even say that, if it had not been any translation terminology at all, translation of any text would not have been possible.

Some countries have strict rules regarding the terminology of different fields. For instance, there is a terminology board in each French ministry that sets reference terms and suggests French equivalents for foreign words.

The translators must take into account a few important steps related to the terminology of every text they receive:

  • The translation  terminology used by the translator should be the correct one for the area of specialization of the text
  • Specialized dictionaries have been used
  • Consistency of terms
  • Abbreviations and acronyms are adapted to the target language
  • The translation is clear, logic and understandable from the terminological point of view
  • Existing client-specific glossaries provided by the Project Manager have been used (applies to in-house translators)

A glossary is the ace up every translator’s sleeve and eases up his/her work during the translation process. It is usually compiled for large specialized projects such as technical, medical, marketing, legal, etc. translations.

The glossaries are sent to the client for revision before delivering the translation in order to check if the client agrees with the translation terminology used. This usually happens when the client does not provide his/her own glossary. If a glossary is provided, the translator must follow the terminology choice of the client.

It is recommended to create a master file for each specialization field after you finish translating the text. This way, next time you receive a similar text, the glossary can save you a lot of time you would otherwise need to spend searching for the right definition of certain terms. You also need to remember to use the Trados translation memory, which proves to be a very good assistant for your translation job. The Trados translation memory stores the structure and context information of a document and connects the segments with their position within the document. Remember that, now, the translators can use a large variety of terminology glossaries which can be found on different websites.

See below a few links to glossaries/dictionaries which can help you in the future:

Next step: search the terms via Google and check their accuracy in several reliable sources. So, we recommend creating a glossary and a terminology database each time you receive any type of text, document or file. This will help you save time in the future.