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Development of a corporate glossary

Corporate glossary is a glossary of terms used within the company, which contains their interpretation, translation into foreign languages and, where necessary, examples of use.

Any mature company has its own internal corporate terminology — regardless of whether this terminology is formalized in the form of a glossary or just informally used by employees. Positions, departments, assortment of products or services are referred to consistently, one way or another. Without this, communication between employees within the company and with counterparties would be impossible.

The need for terminology management becomes apparent as the company grows. So long as the company remains small, employees are able to keep the company’s terms in mind, and any new employee takes over a new terminology from their colleagues and gets used to it. Problems begin as the complexity of the company’s structure increases and certain functions (for example, translation of documentation or copy writing) have to be outsourced. At some point, employees are no longer able to remember all of the terms. Information is not formalized, and it is impossible to transfer it to outsourcers. Translators’ questions annoy the company’s employees, because for them the answer is obvious, and there is a catastrophic lack of time. The result is, at best, ridiculous and, at worst, disastrous for the business.

Why a corporate glossary?

• An up-to-date glossary allows to ensure unity and consistency of terminology in all written materials of the company.

• It reduces the risk of errors in communication between the company employees and with its counterparties.

• It reduces the risk of causing damage to the company’s reputation due to terminological differences in the company’s written materials.

• It allows to cut down the training time for new employees and the time spent on checking and revising texts (marketing materials, translations).

What must a corporate glossary include?

- abbreviations;

- names of titles and business units of the company;

- assortment of products and services;

- advertising slogans;

- trademarks.

How to create a corporate glossary?

1. The customer provides the source materials for creating the glossary (previously completed translations, promotional materials).

2. The translation agency performs an automated search for the most common terms and phrases, as well as proper names found in corporate texts. Then it makes a list of terms for inclusion in the glossary.

3. The customer checks, supplements and agrees the preliminary list of terms, answers questions raised by the terminologist, provides meanings of ambiguous abbreviations and interpret necessary terms.

4. The translation agency creates a glossary and translates the terms into foreign languages.

5. The customer performs the final check and approves the glossary.

The glossary must be regularly updated. Both creating and updating a glossary require interaction between the customer and the translation agency.

What is a style guide?

The next step in bringing the terminology within the company in order is the development of a style guide. The style guide includes a description of the company’s target audience, requirements for the style of advertising materials (conversational, scientific, neutral, etc.), requirements for writing the company name, advertising slogans (for example, always in capital letters or in italics), text design requirements (type of marked lists, paragraphs, indentation, etc.

Development of a corporate glossary and a style guide may take up to several business days, but it is an investment that will pay off very quickly. Alba Translation Agency has extensive experience in managing terminology and is ready to assist your company in addressing this issue.