Saving time with glossaries

Saving time with glossaries

Everyone wants to work better and smarter, and glossaries are an easy way of doing it. After all, looking up unfamiliar words, technical terms, acronyms, synonyms and abbreviations is time consuming and boring, particularly when the text does not make it clear what they mean. If you build subject and client-specific glossaries at least you’ll only have to look them up once.

Glossaries are also called ‘lexicons’, ‘term bases’ and ‘terminology collections’, and they are invaluable for ensuring translation consistency and quality. Used in collaboration with translation memories, they shorten the time you spend translating a text. For example, I know nothing, or virtually nothing about golf, but a couple of times a month I translate press releases for a golf club in Andalusia. Rather than waste time, I spent a few minutes searching for a ready-made bilingual golf glossary on Google, exported it to Excel and then converted it into a Multiterm termbase to use with Studio 2019. It worked brilliantly, and if you think that sounds like a lot of work, I can assure you that it is far easier, satisfying and efficient than looking up endless golf terms like tee box, water trap and fairway.

It may sound weird, but this may also be a healthier way of working. Just as writing things down in a notebook, and even keeping some paper and pen by your bed frees you from having to keep important information in your mind, creating accurate memories and glossaries frees you to think about the text you are translating rather than keeping new words and expressions floating in the front of your mind. As far as I am concerned, anything that relaxes me and relieves stress is a plus.

I also like to include strings of text and names of regulations and organisations that come up over and again in certain types of translations in my glossaries. Examples of these “The General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 (“GDPR”)” and “Anti-Money Laundering Directive” which I must have translated hundreds of times.

I find remembering the Spanish names of trees and uncommon plants almost impossible. It’s understandable, because beyond the usual palm, pine, mimosa, orange tree and geranium, I don’t have many conversations about them. But translating environmental reports has been a breeze since I found and created a glossary.

I love the quick term add feature (lightening bolt) in Studio 2019, that allows you to add terms as you go along. If you haven’t experimented with glossaries and term bases yet, I thoroughly recommend you take a little time to do so because in this case, a stitch in time really will save nine.

Juliet Allaway

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