Best Practices

Glossary Best Practices

This article is for Account Owners, Project Managers, Translation Resource Managers, and Translation Resources

Here are some best practices for improving your glossary quality:

Include industry or company-specific terms
Every company has its own lingo; terms that have a specific meaning when applied to your product or offering and might not always be clear to someone outside the company. Do you have any of those terms? Start listing them and add them to your glossary list with a definition.

Add terms you do not need translated
Smartling offers a "Do Not Translate" option for each term in the glossary. Use it for all those terms, such as industry or company-specific terms, acronyms, proper nouns, etc. that you do not want to be translated.

Go beyond a list of “Do Not Translate Terms"
While it can be very easy to just list the things that should remain in English, don’t forget that translation resources also use the glossary on an ongoing basis as a reference to translate key terms consistently.

More is better
There is no limit to the number of terms you can add to a Smartling glossary, so don’t be shy about adding to your glossary. The more terms you include the easier it will be for the translation resources team to understand your content and message.

Always add a definition to your terms
For a glossary term to be of any use to your translation resource team, always add one or more definitions, explain why it's in the glossary, and how you want it translated or not translated.

Include links to your definitions
Like the style guide, a glossary can teach the translation resource team a lot about your tone and style. Make sure you let them know which reference material to follow, for example, a certain version of a grammar or dictionary, even a specific site that uses similar terms.

Update your glossary often
Take full advantage of the fact that Smartling lets you update your glossary as you go, adding comments and new definitions whenever needed.

Clean-up your glossary often
No more excuses for not cleaning up the glossary! Smartling lets you remove terms manually or export your glossary so that you can clean it up offline. Take a bit of time regularly to remove or edit unnecessary terms, terms that are no longer current to make sure the translation resource team does not use erroneous or out-of-date definitions and translations.

Be language-specific if needed
From one language to another, conventions, like tone, punctuation, capitalization, active/passive voice, etc. might not be the same. Make use of Smartling's ability to add multiple definitions to list language-specific variations.

Let your translation team decide how to translate (and sometimes not translate) terms you’ve added to the glossary
Although you might be tempted to translate your own glossary terms, leave it to the pros! They know better what term fits your instructions, and they also know what terms may need to be translated for some countries and not for others. For example, Japanese teams may even translate Do Not Translate terms while Danish teams might leave a lot in English.

Let Smartling do the work
With the newest version of Smartling, the platform will automatically identify good candidates for words and phrases to put in your glossary. You can review this list and add items into your glossary, to make it better and more relevant for your content. Using this feature periodically will make it even easier to keep your glossary relevant.

Learn how to create a new glossary or import and existing glossary to Smartling

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