Integrating Glossary and Reserved Words into a Translation projects

Integrating Glossary and Reserved Words Into your Projects

One of the very early requests we had from both translators and clients was the integration of a Glossary and reserved words function into the translation workflow process. First question, what is a glossary and reserved words:

A Glossary is essentially a pairing of words/phrases between 2 languages that the client (or our team) develop to ensure consistency of phrasing particularly for company/industry specific terminology.  The glossary ensures  that terminology etc is standardised, particularly if  a project is split across multiple translators.

Reserved Words are essentially terms that the client doesn’t want translated. So words like product names, acronyms, partner names, brand names etc. 

Historically glossary and reserved words are dealt with by providing a listing of the terms and allowing the translator to reference these when doing the translation, our challenge was how to ensure these terms are  utilised by the translators whilst  at the same time  ensuring we stick to our core ethos of ensuring we don’t build tools that impact negatively on the translator efficiency (find out more about our per hour pricing model and why translator efficiency is important here). 

In collaboration with the translators we looked at a solution that involved highlighting the text inside the workbench making it far more efficient for the translators to quickly identify reserved words/glossary terms and adjust as they see appropriate.  Below is an example of how a glossary term is tagged inside the Pre-translated/Memory content and exposed to the translator. 


Building a Glossary

Reserved words lists are actually quite easy to build as it tends to be self-evident which terms need to be blocked from translation. Building a glossary however is somewhat trickier. There are a few factors to consider

1. If the client doesn’t have one how do you determine in content which terms should be added (i.e. are industry specific, are acronyms or repeated regularly). The fastest way we have found is to run a frequency scan on the test and build a list of terms that either appear regularly or meet specific criteria we set down before doing the scan.  The client can then review that list and highlight the terms they want added to a glossary – our team then do the translation of these terms.

2. What if there are terms that the translator identifies as needing to be added to the glossary whilst the project is ongoing. To solve this problem we added the ability for translators to add terms to the glossary on the fly. By clicking on the terminology option inside the workbench the translators can modify, add, delete individual items inside the glossary.


As new terms are added translators can see the new terminology and interact to determine if it is appropriate or not.

The most important metric for us when looking at incorporating this important functionality was to do it in such a manner as to leverage the fact we have all the translators working inside the one platform (collaboration) and integrate the glossary/reserved words in such a way as to ensure we are not distracting the translators or slowing them down unnecessarily.

To date we have actually seen a small improvement in our cross language per hour efficiency rates whilst getting higher outputted quality rankings on projects using the glossary functionality.