Why are glossaries vital for translators?

14 Dec 2011 | Tools

Müge Yildirim, freelance translator, shares her thoughts on the importance of creating glossaries in order to save time and efforts during our translation activities. Do not hesitate to share your comments on our blog. 

Almost all the texts are formed around a certain terminology. While translating technical texts, you definitely need the glossary of the related terminology. You can always say “There are hundreds of online/traditional dictionaries out there. There is no need to get my own glossary for every topic. I can always search and find the equivalent of any word”. I used to think like that, too. 

In time, I have understood that glossaries make your translation experience faster and better. Picking a word from a dictionary is like picking a dress in a shopping center. Although you know what kind of dress you want, first you have to find the right store for it. After finding that store, you, again, have hundreds of dress choices. You want a black dress, well; you still have tens of different dress types. Finding the one you want takes more time than you anticipate. Similarly, without glossary, you go to an online dictionary and write the word. You have hundreds of choices. Let’s say your text is about medical, you go ahead and find this section out of hundreds of equivalents. When you go to medical terms part, you see there are at least four-five equivalent. Which one to choose? You do some Google search and in the end you use the one giving more related search results in a similar context as yours.

On the other hand, when you have a glossary that you prepared with your previous experiences in medical translation, you just find the word and you see the most general equivalent that you used in other medical translations.

Glossaries save time and give you the most possible equivalent of the word that you saw in similar translations before. Nothing can replace a glossary that was prepared with previous experiences 🙂