Terminology Translation Instructions


___________ Terminology Translation Instructions ___________


TWB creates glossaries and terminology bases in several languages to support translators in their work. The terminology sheet contains the keywords or expressions found in texts sent for translation or reference material relevant for the topic, and later they will be incorporated in the CAT (computer assisted translation) tool, i.e. Phrase TMS.

In this task, you will provide the target language equivalent of the terms in the list, together with any necessary information.

Before you start

Terminology is concept-based: we start out from the concept (an idea or mental image that is expressed in a definition) and find the term that best refers to that concept in each language. Terms are made of one or more words, and have exact meaning in a topic (called a domain). In short: there is one concept (one meaning), and each language has a different term to refer to that concept.


If you have any questions or need anything, do not hesitate to contact your Project Officer. They are happy to help out!


Please work in the Google document and don’t download the list. Kindly provide the target language equivalent of the terms in the list. A few things to keep in mind as you work:

  • Work in the tab/column for your language. The green columns contain the English source terms, the orange columns contain the target terms.
  • Some columns are hidden in the table, please leave the concept ID and term ID numbers intact.
  • Indicate clearly if you need to modify a source term (e.g. because it has a spelling error). You can do this by using the comment functionality in the spreadsheet.
  • Enter the target terms into the orange fields and put the notes or comments next to them in the “note” column.

:triangular_flag_on_post: Important: We need the terms that are used in your language, not a literal translation. Terms are not “translated” but should be researched and documented in all languages. You can use the website of the relevant organization, government websites, online/offline dictionaries, text books, academic sources, and reference materials in your language as a source. Check if there are any publicly available terminology bases, for example, IATE or UNTERM, for your language.


  • The table usually contains definitions, read them to get a clear idea of the meaning of terms. The definition also clarifies part of speech of the term.

  • Sometimes the English term is very general in meaning, such as “victim” or “at-risk adult”. Please do not put a term with more specific content, such as “victim of sexual abuse” or “adult at risk of natural disaster”.

  • Find the terms that are used in your language.

  • Creating target language terms is alright if the concept is not named in your language yet. If the concept hasn’t got a full equivalent in your language which often happens in the case of very innovative fields, and concepts specific to a country, such as culture, education, or legal systems), there are several strategies. You might:
    a. suggest a translation (this will be a ‘proposed’ term)
    b. adopt the English term into your language (as in the case of many IT terms)
    c. choose a more general term and add a note or a modifier adjective to avoid loss of meaning or adding new meaning

  • Note: avoid long explanations in the term field, as the term will have to be used in sentences


:pushpin: Form
Remember that the terms entered in this spreadsheet will be used in sentences during translation, so they have to be in a form that needs the least amount of work from the translator. An entry has to be machine-readable, so to separate synonyms with commas, slashes, or the word “or” does not work. To facilitate this, there are some requirements on form:

  • Use terms in their dictionary form, singular (unless it is used only in the plural form) without articles, suffixes, and gendered endings.
  • Only add one term per field, synonyms or variants will need to go in a separate column.
  • In the case of gendered languages, the feminine and masculine forms will go into separate fields.
  • Terms shouldn’t be capitalized unless they are a proper noun or an acronym, or required by the spelling rules of your language (e.g. in German nouns are capitalized).

:triangular_flag_on_post: One term per field: Put only one term in a field. Synonyms or variants need to go into separate columns, and not put in one field separated by a dash or a slash (e.g. French: “référence – référé - personne référée” these are 3 terms, they must go into 3 separate fields.) If there are not enough columns, let the Project Officer know.

:pushpin: Synonyms
Different languages may use different words for the same concept. The number of English terms in the table only indicates that the English source text uses synonyms to talk about that concept. We want to record the terms used in the target language, so there is no need to make up different translations to reflect the variety of English terms.

  • We don’t need all possible synonyms in the target language, just one term is enough.
  • It is also alright to put 2 possible equivalents for one English term; in this case, please make sure you add a note on usage.

:pushpin: Acronyms
The English language uses a high number of acronyms. However, if your language does not use them , there is no need to enter the full form twice in the same line. Check if the English acronyms are kept in your language or if the abbreviation of the target term is used. Enter an acronym only if it is used in your language.

:pushpin: Term type
Terms are usually in their “full form”, put “acronym” if relevant.

:pushpin: Brackets
Do not put remarks in brackets in the term field. Full forms and acronyms must go into 2 separate columns. There is a ‘Note’ column for extra information. No brackets:

  • for clarification (e.g. igualdad de género (GE por sus siglas en inglés) that should be igual dad de género in one column and GE in another – and there’s no need to explain that the English abbreviation is used)
  • for different endings for gender (e.g. Spanish hijo(a) – that is 2 terms, so they should be put in two columns)

Pre-delivery checklist

:ballot_box_with_check: All terms have their equivalent
:ballot_box_with_check: There are no spelling errors
:ballot_box_with_check: All terms are lower case unless it is a proper noun or an acronym
:ballot_box_with_check: Acronyms and/or synonyms are entered in a separate column
:ballot_box_with_check: There are no slashes or brackets (unless they are there in the source term, too)