//Quality Assurance in Translation – Glossary

As stated in my last blog entry, there are many ways to provide a good, quality translation.  At Vocalink, one quality assurance strategy we use is the creation of a glossary. Glossary development is a step that comes before the translation of the source text. It is used throughout the entire translation process. The glossary is a vital tool that should be used in all translation processes because it provides consistency and therefore a more professional translation.

By definition, a glossary is “an alphabetical list of terms or words found in or relating to a specific subject, text, or dialect.” In the language industry, the glossary includes the translation of the terminology used in the source text. At Vocalink, the glossary is completed by the translator and then is sent to the client in order for the client to provide approval.  Once the glossary has been approved, the translator uses the approved terminology throughout the translation. By using the approved terminology, the translation will be consistent and use the company’s terminology. These glossaries can be specific to one translation project, or one can be created for an entire company. However, it is important that the glossary is updated and keep current with the company’s terminology.

The glossary is an important step because of the numerous words in any language that can describe the same object. For example, if you were to look up the word “cloudy” in a thesaurus, there are many different words and phrases, such as overcast, cloud cover, gloomy and not sunny, that could be used to describe that same weather situation. Since the translations are completed by translators who do not work within the company, it is hard to determine which word should be used. A glossary will clarify what word your company prefers to use.

Also, many companies have their own terminology that they have created and consequently cannot be found in a dictionary. This makes the translation process very difficult because this new word will have to be created in the target language. This type of translation is difficult for obvious reasons, and usually consists of borrowing the source term from the source text and using the term in the target text. By establishing a translation of the term before the translation starts, the translation will be more consistent and also establish the term in the target language – with the client’s approval.

To conclude, glossary development is a process that in the end pays for itself. It creates consistent, professional translations that are clear and easy to understand. For more information, please use the comments box below or contact me.