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What kind of terminology lookup formats do you prefer for your localization work?

What kind of terminology lookup formats do you prefer for your localization work?

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I would like to find out what kind of terminology/glossary lookup formats you prefer for your localization work. Do you look up core terms and translations, entire strings and translations, or both (core terms AND strings containing the term you are interested in)? If you use both, please let me know which one you consider generally more helpful, core term or string lookup.

I am also interested in finding out how often you look up source term to target translation and how often you look up target term to source translation. I assume that source to target might be more important but would like to verify this with you.

Thank you for your input - I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Best regards,

  • Hi Britta,

    I have always looked up both core terms and strings. I have been in localization for 15 years, so I know most MS core terms by now, but stilll some of them are changing over time.

    I usually look up strings if the product is in a subject that I are less familiar with, or where terminology varies from manufacturer to manufacturer (a good example is ERP systems where every manufacturer has their own terminology, so it is easy to get confused and remember the correct translation for each manufacturer.) I also look up strings if an error messages seems familiar as I can then get the translation from another product glossary.

    I prefer working with glossaries in CSV format as this is the fastest way to look up terms and get geedback from the almost 300 MS product glossaries that we have.

    In addition I have developed my own search tools. When translating in Word (unfortunately less and less) I use a macro that looks up in the specific product glossary we are using for a given project. This allows me to automatically copy/paste the translation of a software reference if there are no inconsistent translations in the project, and this makes it really fast to look up softwares references. If there are inconsistencies these are listed, and when I click an item on the list the translation is copied to the clipboard which saves a lot of typing. I am also using my own web based search tool which allows me to easily select text from the search results and copy/paste the text. I also have a search tool that allows me to add the exact glossaries I need for a given project, and which also allows me to prioritize the glossaries, so that the most relevant search results are shown at top.

    I do also sometimes look up target to source translations. But this only happens as I also work as a software developer from time to time. As a lot of technical software like .NET Framework and others have been localized by linguists without the necessary knowledge about software development there are a lot of error messages that are too strange in Danish. And then it is really nice to be able to look up the original error message, so that I can see what the error is actually about. ;-)

  • Hello Johnny,

    Thank you very much for your feedback, this is helpful!

    The reason for this blog posting is the following: Next year, my team will release a web-based search tool hat will enable the visitors of our web site to search our released terminology (strings as well as terms, source to target as well as target to source). The tool will be available to the general public. I am glad to hear that both term and string are needed and that you at times also need target to source translations since this validates our assumptions about general needs.

    I also learned from your comment that we should ensure that the terms/strings that are displayed as a result of a search should be copyable. This is great feedback and I will see that it reaches the appropriate people.

    With best regards,


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