Basics: Using glossaries for consistency, clarity

Need help using Gengo? Hitting a snag with text translation or site localization? In this series we’re taking it back to the basics.

Instead of repeatedly explaining terms in the comments section, you can maintain term consistency across multiple translation jobs by using a glossary. A glossary is a collection of words with special translations or definitions, and you can create your own in a simple spreadsheet.

There are two kinds that you can use with Gengo:

Bilingual glossaries

Bilingual glossaries are one-to-one (word in one language alongside word in another). You can either link to these glossaries in your job’s comments section using a tool like Google Docs or use Gengo’s Term Glossary tool, which automatically replaces text for you.

Example: In Japanese, Gengo is not rendered in kana: Gengo in English is still written Gengo in Japanese, not ゲンゴ, げんご or another variant. You can note this in a bilingual glossary.

Definition glossaries

Definition glossaries help define uncommon words or jargon. These glossaries are incompatible with our Term Glossary tool, but equally useful for ensuring translation accuracy. You must link to these glossaries in individual job comments sections.

Example: a blog post full of technical terms might need clarification for accurate translation, i.e. In this context, a bug is a computer error, not an insect.

Common traps

For both kinds of glossaries, it’s important to choose your terms wisely:

  • Watch out for homonyms (words with the same spelling but different meanings), particularly when using Gengo’s Term Glossary tool. These can slow down translators or make texts incomprehensible.
  • For the same reason, be careful with words that can occupy different parts of speech. For example, “lock” can be both a noun and verb in English, but multiple words in a language like Japanese.
  • Don’t make the common mistake of choosing only frequent terms. Ambiguous, specialized and branded terms are sometimes more useful to include in glossaries.

To help you get started, we’ve created two comprehensive glossaries for mobile apps and fashion. Download and customize them here. If you need more help or would like to set up our Term Glossary tool, feel free to drop us a line below.

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Sarah Siwak

The author

Sarah Siwak

Sarah manages content production for Gengo's marketing team. A native Detroiter and fluent trilingual, she's passionate about finding creative ways to communicate ideas across different media and languages. She spends her free time exploring digital worlds and whipping up late-night omelettes.

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