4 reasons why glossary creation before translation is so important
We’ve mentioned the use of glossaries in previous blog posts, but we thought it would be worth really going into why they’re so important. Glossaries play a huge part in making sure a translation is accurate and that specific terms are not only correct, but also translated and handled in exactly the way you need them to be. In translation industry jargon, they tend to be called a Terminology Base (or a TB), but it’s exactly the same thing.
The first reason glossary creation is so important is accuracy. Everyone wants their translations to be 100% accurate. If you work with your language service provider to develop a glossary of industry- and company-specific terms, the translation team is fully equipped to choose the correct term in the target language. Language is very flexible and everyone has different ways to refer to the same thing. This is a chance to give translators essential information about what a term means. For example, a ship builder may have their own specific names for elements of their process. Giving translators the best possible insight into what these mean and how they are being used is obviously extremely worthwhile.
Glossary creation will also help the translator convey the correct tone for your brand. A good example would be a toy manufacturer. All of their products would have their own brand-specific names. Names may already exist in overseas markets for the toys, and the client and language agency should work together to decide on how best to handle the product names for each target market. The more reference materials, explanations and information given to the translator, the better. Translators will study any materials provided and implement them to create a high-quality translation written in the tone of your brand.
Consistency will also improve if a glossary is created prior to translation. A list of key terms, along with their definitions, will help ensure that the correct terms are consistently used throughout the text. In the case of a technical translation, it would be unacceptable for a word to be translated differently each time. A good example might be a user manual for a product, referring to a “screen”. In English, this could be called a display, a visual display unit or a whole range of other terms. Similarly, in other languages there are a range of choices available and a glossary will make sure that the correct choice is made, and that the same term is consistently used throughout all translated materials.
How to create a glossary
A glossary is created in collaboration with your translation provider or sometimes created by a client themselves.
The point of a glossary is to improve the quality of the translation, so the selection of words to be put in it needs to be handled with care. A glossary list is based on the rule of ‘rubbish-in’ and ‘rubbish-out’. A glossary should be followed as gospel, so if the terms that go into the glossary are wrong or not fully considered, it will actually degrade the translation quality. We recommend that you only add specific, technical terms and other types of words you really wish to be translated in a specific way. There’s really no need to add basic or commonly used terms.
Physically creating the glossary is pretty straightforward. The process may differ slightly between different translation providers, but at a basic level, the files is simply a bilingual excel file, or within your translator’s Term Base. The safest way to start is by asking your translation company. They should be able to analyse your files, extract terms that may require clarification and get everything set up for you.
Think about your SEO too
The items on this can help your SEO massively. It should be easy for your language provider to run an SEO audit of the terms and give you not only the terms that are the most linguistically perfect, but also the terms that are being searched and that will get traffic and results, if that’s an objective for your business.