The Three Musketeers: Glossary, Style Guide and Translation Memory

Consistency plays a critical role in a success localization project, especially when the multilingual project turns out to be big on long-term basis and many linguists are engaged for each language. By taking advantage of three tools: glossary, style guide, and translation memory, one can expect to maximize consistency in the localization project.

While glossary helps keep consistency on term basis, translation memory helps keep consistency on sentence basis, style guide helps fill in the gaps by keeping consistency in style, tone, phrasing, and etc..

Nowadays, more and more companies realize the importance of glossary and translation memory as a value asset to their long-term localization efforts. They manage the glossary and translation memory in a central place, allowing co-workers access the asset from anywhere in the world thus maximize efficiency and consistency.


To get started quickly, glossary can be as simple as a terminology list that includes only a list of terms with their translated equivalents, or it can be a list of product names or a list of terms that do not need to be translated. To go far away, you can develop a much more complex system to include definitions, descriptions, usage examples, and other items you want.

In any case, the basic goal of a glossary is to make sure that terminology is used consistently from the beginning, help to avoid confusion and improve both quality and readability, especially when a multilingual project includes both UI and documentation component.

Just imagine if you are translating into 45 languages while one product name that supposed to not be translated has been changed without clear instruction in advance, what a labor work will be needed to recheck and redo the translation in both UI and documentation component, you will know the value of the glossary. Therefore it will never be too late to create a culture that adds to the glossary whenever there is a chance to avoid ambiguity.

Translation memory

Similar with the role of glossary plays in maintaining consistency, translation memory functions the same but on the sentence level. Every translation unit will be saved in the translation memory.

One time translated, multi-time used. Another advantage you can take by creating translation memory is, we charge fewer words as we discount both for repetitions and for similar words (75%-99% match) thus cut down your overall cost by more than 30% depending on the repetitions of the project.

Read Also: How to successfully manage a multilingual localization project (3)

Translation Style Guide

The style guide helps maintain consistency in style, tone, phrasing, and etc. It summarizes and fixes the translation style for those frequently used phrase or sentence with the same structure. By following the style guide, different translators can produce the same or similar work just like the translation was produced by the same translator from the beginning to the end.

Instructions and choices that should be included in translation style guides include but not limited to punctuation, spelling, formatting, adaptations, language-specific and client preferences, common errors to be avoided, and other miscellaneous elements.