The importance of a glossary


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The importance of a glossary

  1. 1. The Importance of a GlossaryThis article was originally published on the Acclaro blog.Category: Marketing, Websites, Software, Documents, Training &eLearning, Multimedia,Localization Tips Those of you who are new to localization may think that a glossary is only used for term papers and reference books. You have yet to discover how this very simple item can revolutionize your daily work life by sparing you countless redundancies and/or inconsistencies in the original English, as well as in the foreign language versions of your products and documents.Creating a glossary of approved terms in each target language at the beginning of yourtranslation project is essential. It will not only save you time and money (not to mentionheadaches and sleepless nights), it will also guarantee successful branding of your products inforeign markets.A glossary (from the Greek glossa, meaning obsolete or foreign word), ensures a consistentstyle and voice, an accurate rendering of the original text and a level of translation quality thatis even throughout. Glossaries are especially critical in the case of technical translationsand marketing communications, but should really be employed for any localizationproject.Let’s take the example of a social media game. Say you have designed a Medieval fantasy gameset in the 21st century that has met glowing success in the U.S. You naturally decide to takethis game to other language markets, such as Europe and Latin America, to increase revenues.You begin the process of translation into Spanish, French, German and Italian, assuming thatadapting the game to these markets is as easy as translating the script in a linear fashion frombeginning to end…until you initiate the testing phase and realize there are major inconsistenciesthroughout the game.You discover that “warlock” was translated three different ways in German and that thevariations are used randomly throughout the game in dialogues. “Sorcerer” is sometimesreferred to as “witch” in French. Even the name of the game itself, “Potion”, is translatedinconsistently — though the title is always correctly referred to as “Potion” in Spanish, the wordPage 1: The Importance of a Glossary Copyright © Acclaro 2012
  2. 2. itself is used interchangeably with other terms within the game, such as “magic brew” and“concoction”.To your chagrin, you notice that these same vocabulary inconsistencies are rampant in yourpublic relations campaign, which has already been launched. One press release uses the tagline“Casting a spell on the 21st century” for the Italian translation, while a later one reads,“Bewitching the 21st century”. Subtle difference?Perhaps, but the branding of your gamecontributes to its success and multiple versions of a tagline demonstrates an inexpert andpossibly, ineffective, global marketing campaign.While synonyms are highly prized in literature, using the same word consistently throughoutyour product and its supporting materials is clearly necessary. Such consistency is only possibleif there is a single translator working on the entire project across all languages (highly unlikely)or if you have invested in a glossary with predetermined foreign language equivalents for yourkey English words.Before establishing a glossary for the translation process, however, it is often important tobegin with an English glossary and company style guide. If the English version of yourcommunications is inconsistent, the foreign language versions are certain to be as well!This may seem cumbersome or daunting at first glance, but detailed work in the beginning willsave you missed deadlines and expensive blunders over the course of your localization project.So make sure your translation partner works with you on creating a glossary before translationbegins — you will reap the benefits of consistency both abroad and at home!About Acclaro: Acclaro is an international translation and localization company thathelps the world’s leading brands succeed across cultures. We specialize in websitetranslation, marketing translations, document translation and software localization togive clients an authentic voice in key language markets. North America: 1-866-468-5106 Worldwide: +1-914-468-0222 www.acclaro.comsales@acclaro.comPage 2: The Importance of a Glossary Copyright © Acclaro 2012