When working with any sort of technical or official document written in another language, translators always use a glossary of terms. A glossary is a sort of mini-dictionary containing a list of terms and their corresponding translations. The translator reads the glossary definition and inserts the correct version in the translation, ensuring consistent and accurate use of terms.
Creating a glossary of terms used to be a manual task. But now glossaries can be created and shared more easily. When a large team of translators is working on a big project, instead of spending time asking questions or performing independent research, a translator can simply find the glossary definition and continue working. This makes translators more productive and results in quicker delivery of high-quality files.
Another advantage of glossary use is that it helps to automate the translation process. Texts on complex topics can be translated consistently and at a rapid pace, thanks to the glossary dictionary.
Technical documents require a very different approach to translation than literary texts. All wording must be clear and precise. So it is no surprise that technical, financial, scientific and medical documents benefit the most from having a glossary of terms. The entries usually include:
To ensure consistency and clear communication when writing with foreign business partners, it is crucial to be careful with terms. A glossary of terms can enable you to achieve better results in technical correspondence, manuals, medical findings, scientific articles, and other documents filled with special terms.
Corporate glossaries are in use today by large companies, which use glossary dictionary databases in-house to maintain clear communication and coordination during international projects.
Translation of technical documents these days always involves use of a glossary of terms – usually available directly in the interface window of CAT tools for automated translation. The translations of the terms in the glossary have already been verified and approved. So using this specialized tool, which is designed specially for accelerating translation of large volumes of complicated texts, results in faster turnaround and delivery.
This approach has some added benefits for translation clients as well. Creating a glossary definition list means that the involved departments and stakeholders have to come together and discuss the best equivalents and phrasing. This coordination smoothes the entire process and helps to harmonize expectations. And of course, the glossary itself serves as a knowledge base that, if properly managed, improves quality and consistency.
Tools for CAT and machine translation allow managing glossaries in different ways. For machine translation, a glossary acts as a sort of translation memory for generating correct output. Even better, if you have existing source files and translations from previous work, you can “align” files and create termlists automatically.
Since CAT tools can use glossaries for automated tasks, you need to perform a little bit of configuration to specify how to use your glossaries. You can create glossaries yourself and import them, or use a glossary from elsewhere.
To work on large volumes of text most efficiently, it is best if the entire team uses the same CAT software. This simplifies glossary maintenance and training, while minimizing compatibility issues.
For companies with a presence in many international markets, today's CAT programs allow creating multilingual glossaries with word lists in many languages simultaneously. Searching for the necessary terms and finding the right equivalents is easiest when you cross-reference existing translations. Using texts that have already been translated, you can go through these bilingual versions and choose the most appropriate terms to carry over into a glossary dictionary.
The most advanced CAT tool for this purpose is smartCAT. To get started with it, sign up on the smartCAT website. Registration is free and quick. Users have a wide range of tools for technical translation and ensuring consistent terminology on even the most complicated and difficult texts. Learn more about terminology management and quality assurance features here.