Dos and Don’ts in Multilingual Terminology Database Creation

February 27, 2017

There are so many reasons why businesses should bother creating terminology databases for their localization program; especially when their source content volumes increase. From helping to create brand consistency to saving your in-country reviewers’ time, the reasons are almost endless. In our webcast on Terminology Management we go into more depth on this subject, including how the terms are selected and the overall process involved, but for now we give you our do’s and don’ts that we believe are vital when creating a quality-focused terminology database.

Don’t Fall Into Temptation 

It might be tempting to include everything possible in your glossary, but that would be the wrong approach. The emphasis needs to be on quality, not quantity.  So select your terms carefully and make sure they are the terms that need to be kept consistent for the sake of your brand’s image.

Concepts and Acronyms

Your list should include key concepts and acronyms which are commonly used in your business.

Keep is Short

Terms should be between 1 and 4 words in length and should not include prepositions and articles which can alter the meaning of the term depending on the context.

Don’t Create Conflict

You should look to avoid duplicated entries or conflicting entries where a term is listed in singular and plural forms, but where conceptually the terms are the same.

Compound Your Entries

Your list should include compound entries in full. For example, in construction and farming machinery terminology, the term “Loader” – while a term in its own right– is translated differently in many languages in its compound forms such as “front loader”, “wheel loader” or “backhoe loader”.

Product Names vs Feature Names

Be careful to manage the difference between product names and feature names carefully – for example, a product called “Slide Show” might not be translatable, but when it describes a feature of the product such as running a “slide show” in the tool it might still need to be translated.

Assign Ownership

Be sure to assign owners for each target language. These people are then responsible for reaching a consensus and making the final decision on what the correct translations for terms are. Glossaries are easily corrupted once multiple in-country persons make terminology choices based on their preferences at a given time. This leads to inconsistent translations and a lack of coherent communications.

For more information on Terminology Management, watch our free webcasts: Terminology Management in Your Localization Process Part 1 and Terminology Management in Your Localization Process Part 2, or read the blog post: Top Tips on Terminology Management.


Noel Finnegan
Enterprise Sales Director

+353 (1) 503 0978
+353 87 255 5603
Teresa Lawless
Key Account Manager

+353 851 311 124