When to Start a Translation Glossary

By Sarah-Claire Jordan

When to Start a Translation Glossary artThese days, it is impossible to get ahead in any sort of industry as a small business or start-up without thinking about globalization. If you are the owner of a small business or start-up, the first thing that comes to mind when you hear globalization is probably something along the lines of “how many languages will I have to translate into?” You are on the right track, as without translation and localization, globalization does not happen, and globalization is the key to your business’s survival in this world.

Unless your company is a translation company, you probably won’t be doing much yourself in terms of translating any text. That doesn’t mean, however, that there is nothing you can do and that you have to leave it all up to whichever translation service you end up choosing. One thing business owners can do to contribute and manage translated material is to set up a translation glossary. A translation glossary is simply a document or even a tool that helps to clarify which terms specific to your business are to be used when talking about certain concepts, and what their translations are in various target languages.

But why do you need one of these? How will it help? Well, for starters, it will make sure everyone who works for your company understands what terms to use and exactly what they mean. There are tons of examples of words that, depending on the context, mean something completely different. With so many industry sectors these days, a word that means something in one industry may mean the opposite in another, and with that come miscommunications. Once everyone in your company understands the terms used and what they mean, you will see how important and helpful it is to have everyone on the same page in terms of, well, terms.

Beyond that, a translation glossary is specifically to help save you time and money when it comes to getting any documents or text translated. It could be a manual for your product, or the Spanish version of your company’s website. Whatever it is, the language needs to be consistent, and industry-specific terms cannot be replaced with synonyms as this interferes with clarity and might even cause translation errors later on. The translation glossary needs to be clear and concise, however, and not repeat words or add any that aren’t necessary.

So, when is it that you should start a translation glossary? The best answer is as soon as possible. Even if you don’t have any intention of getting anything translated any time soon, when you do decide to, the translators you work with won’t make any mistakes by using the wrong terms for anything, and will have a guide for how you want certain words to be translated. The statistics on translation costs show that about 15% of the money you pay is due to translators having to go back and fix errors that translation glossaries prevent. Keep your time and money for better things, and start working on your company’s translation glossary today.

For an overview of Alpha Omega Translations’ expertise, visit our media and marketing translation page.


Category: Business Translation

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