The importance of a translation terminology list

use a translation terminology list
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Questions have emerged whether a translation terminology list is needed to be added to a translation project and whether or not it is an important part of the project. But, what exactly is a translation terminology list and how can that help with translating the document?

why use terminology lists

Why translation terminology is important

Independent checking steps are recommended by Translation Standard EN15038. It requires that a translator have a process for revising work which should normally entail a second person editing and a third person proofreading. In most cases, however, the translator doubles as the proofreader when a second person have edited. There are however still instances where there is no second person to edit and the translator must do it all. Even though this is not advisable, a translator must learn to use tools such as QA Distiller and XBench, especially when they have a project using a translation terminology list.

Requirements for translators

  • Ensure you are okay with the style of language and the subject. This should be confirmed to the manager of the project. If you take a job outside your subject matter, because you want to expand, you should put in the time needed to be an expert in their terminology. Revision and checking for quality must also be done in this case. Most professional translations are only very good in few subjects, which they become perfect in within some time. Based on this, they don’t take any job outside their sphere.
  • Be used to the format of the file. When you are employed by a translation agency, you might get the file in a format that is friendly for translation along with a memory for the translation. The CAT tool specified by the client should not be changed. A manager for a translation project will always feel bad if he has to start reformatting a translated work afresh. Even when you are using a tool that promises complete format compatibility, you should only use it for client jobs after testing them yourself. This is to avoid losing clients and wasting the time the project manager could have used for other things. A Complete formatting of a bulky document could be time consuming and even if you did a perfect job, the client could still leave because of your poor formatting.
  • Use of terminology database, glossaries, style guides and reference material. You should ensure that the glossary sent alongside the source document is used.
  • Consistency with style and terminology is key when it comes to translation jobs.

Problems could arise if a translation terminology list is not used

If you do not manage terminology properly, the problem in inconsistent terminology can arise. You will end up spending more resources and time, if you do not make use of terminology while translating. Clients could reject you work or be unsatisfied with it.

Many people use CAT tools only because they encounter recurring text. Even though this was their initial aim, a lot of new features have being added in recent times, that you can exploit as well.

CAT tools advantages

Some benefits of using CAT tools


When a client gives you a translation terminology list, it could make your job easier. It could also be frustrating shuffling between a list of terminology and the job being translated. There are even cases where you might get more one list of terminologies.


There is the need to be consistent even when there are no recurring texts. You can look for phrases or words with your CAT tool with the concordance feature, to know how they were previously translated. This is possible even without a list for terminologies.

Quality Control

You have better options for controlling quality with recent CAT tools. Some of the things you could check for include terminology consistency, tags, number conversions and correct punctuation amongst others.

CAT tools and the use of translation memory could cut the work for translator and therefore you as a client will get a much better price for translation services.

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