What is Terminology in Translation?

Terminology in translation is the use of specialized language and words that are used in a particular subject or context. It is critically important for a translator to have a deep understanding of the subject matter, and to have a working knowledge of the terminology used, to accurately convey the meaning of the source text into another language.

Defining the terminology in translation ensures that the correct meaning is conveyed from the source language to the target language and helps guarantee that terms are used consistently throughout the translation process.

Terminology can become very specific in certain areas such as medical, legal, and technical texts, and can be quite difficult to translate if the translator does not have a complete understanding of the terms as well as the context in which they are used.

A translator who possesses that understanding will also be able to recognize when a term is used incorrectly or has a different meaning in the target language. In addition to possessing a solid understanding of the terminology used in the source language, the translator must also be able to recognize and create new terminologies in the target language if they do not already exist. This is true in every case, but especially true in the case of specialized or technical texts.

How Does Terminology in Translation Benefit Your Company?

Using terminology in translations helps a company by ensuring that the translation is accurate and consistent throughout all documents and communications. Terminology helps to create a unified voice and message that is easily understood by a variety of audiences across geographic and cultural regions. It reduces translation errors, and streamlines the translation process, allowing companies to produce translations quickly and efficiently.

How Do You Store Terminology for Translations?

Terminology can be stored in a variety of ways, depending on the specific needs of the translation project. Options for storing terminology include using a translation memory (TM) tool, a spreadsheet, a web portal, a database, or a terminology management system (TMS). Each of these methods has advantages and drawbacks depending on the size and scope of the translation project.

What About Sharing Terminology for Translations?

The best way to share terminology for translations is to create a shared glossary or terminology database. This database should be accessible to all translators and should contain all the relevant terminology, as well as any special instructions or notes regarding the translation. Additionally, it should be updated regularly with any new or revised terms. This type of database is particularly useful for larger projects, as it can help ensure that all translators are using the same terms and phrases.

The approved terminology should be shared with anyone in your company responsible for creating and managing documents. Include technical writers, marketing, and media departments and/or partners, publishers, PR representatives, and your language service provider. Also, be sure to include all your locations and markets.

How Has the Need for Terminology for Translations Grown?

The past decade has seen a significant move toward globalization. With the advent of new technologies and platforms, it has become easier to sell products and services across the globe. At the same time, supply chain efficiencies, notwithstanding the challenges presented by the pandemic during the past three years, have shortened the time from concept, to manufacture, to distribution, and sales. Even small startups and solopreneurs can sell their products and services overseas.

We’ve also seen industries spring up that require translations that didn’t even exist not that long ago. Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the IOT (Internet of Things) for example. Other industries have exploded over the past decade, including e-learning, biomedical research and devices, and software as a service.

The need for translation services, as well as terminology for translations, will only continue to grow.


There are sizable benefits to compiling terminology for translations. They include:

  • Transparency, accuracy, and consistency in all your documentation, across multiple translations, as all translators will be using the same terminology
  • Making everyone’s job easier, both internally and with external partners like your language service provider
  • Reduction in the volume of content for translations due to reusable text
  • Improvement in the quality of documents and corporate language across multiple regions and languages
  • Savings in time and money by eliminating the need to explain technical terms multiple times to multiple translators
  • Uniformity in branding across different countries and languages

Has your company created a terminology list for your organization’s content? If your goal is to make that content available in other languages, you’ll need a translation service. TrueLanguage can help. We’re available to answer any of your questions, and we’re happy to provide a cost-free, no-obligation quote for your next project.