Website translation

Why creating a translation glossary is important for your localization project

Why creating a translation glossary is important for your localization project
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Written by
Elizabeth Pokorny
Elizabeth Pokorny
Reviewed by
Updated on
June 19, 2023

If you’re looking to speak your customers’ language, you know how important it’s to translate your website correctly. Typically, a website has various pieces of content with standard words, acronyms, abbreviations, and phrases. Translating the content that already exists and the new content you keep adding to your site requires considerable and ongoing effort. Translation glossaries are helpful for faster and better translations from the source language to the target/destination language(s).

A translation glossary is a list of terms with their equivalents in other languages. It’s essential to enforce content accuracy and consistency across your target languages and to save your translators and developers considerable time. This post explains how to create a translation glossary for your website and use it effectively.

What is a translation glossary and why should you use one?

If your website has words that need to be translated consistently into multiple languages, using a translation glossary is a great idea. 

A translation glossary is a list of your approved translations for specific terms in your source and target languages, and across multiple target languages. It’s a tool often used in localization projects to ensure accuracy, consistency, and on-brand translations. 

Usually, translation glossaries are used for technical or marketing texts, but they can be beneficial for any localization project in which the content must convey the same meaning across all target languages. The success of the translation project will also depend on whether your content is easy to follow and understand in context. High-quality translation is vital for this purpose, and a translation glossary can be an enabling element. 

Why translate your website?

Translating your website into multiple languages has business benefits. According to a CSA research survey of 8,709 global consumers in 29 countries: 

  • 40% of internet users will never buy from websites in other than their language
  • Nearly 76% of internet users prefer to read product information in their native language
  • 78% of online shoppers are more likely to make a purchase on online stores that are localized
  • 73% want, at the very least, product reviews in their language

If you’re an eCommerce business with a global audience, engaging them in their language can have a positive impact on your sales. When visitors to your website discover that they have an option to learn about your business or products in their language, they’re more likely to spend more time browsing. On the other hand, those who aren’t comfortable reading in English or the source language of your site may bounce back to the search results.

Studies show that it takes a user about 0.05 seconds to form an opinion about your website, based on which they decide to stay or leave. While the average user pays more attention to a site’s visual elements than to its content, they spend about 5.59 seconds on your site’s copy, which means that great, accurately translated content gives you the opportunity to engage potential customers.

It’s also worth noting that credibility is important for web users as they’re unsure of whether a particular webpage can be trusted. Good writing is among the factors that enhance trustworthiness, making it important to pay attention to not just how a website looks but also how well it reads.

Translating your website to your audience’s languages can give traffic a boost. The Know Your Lemons Foundation, a global charity providing empowering education on breast cancer, saw a 30% increase in traffic after translating its website into ten languages. 

Benefits of having a translation glossary

You’ll no doubt want to use the tools that can make your localization project a success. Translation glossaries need to be a part of that toolkit. These are some of the key reasons for using a translation glossary as a reference for localization projects:

  • It helps clarify any potential translation doubts. Your translation glossary, for example, can highlight the specific terminology your company prefers to use.
  • It helps translators understand the context of the original text so that they can create content with higher accuracy.
  • It may help identify words or phrases that don’t have an equivalent in the target language so new terms having the same meaning in the target language can be created. 
  • It helps translators work faster and reduces last-minute changes and unexpected costs, especially when used with translation memory, a database of recurrent sentences and paragraphs that have been translated before. 
  • By reducing the risk of potential translation inconsistencies, translation glossaries can also increase translator productivity and accuracy. 

How can you create and use a translation glossary for your website localization?

Ideally, for every term, a translation glossary should include:

  • The term’s definition, including the part(s) of speech it belongs to
  • The term’s translation
  • The approved translation(s) of the terms in the target language (optional)

Explaining what the term means helps ensure it’s used correctly and in the right context. Creating its equivalent in the target language is a necessary aspect of translation work. By compiling a collection of translated words, translation glossaries boost the launch of new languages on your site.

If needed, you can specify the translations your company has approved. This may be more useful if you follow a corporate and product list of terms or have rules around using or excluding certain generally accepted words.

Translation glossaries are also useful in helping determine whether to translate a word at all. For example, product names or copyrighted items should not be translated. A knowledge resource that makes this clear can avoid errors arising from unrequired translations. 

There is more value in creating translation glossaries than what you might imagine initially. A translation glossary is a reusable knowledge asset that supports any localization project you may implement now and in the future.

Can you create translation glossaries manually?

Yes, you can create a list of common terms used in your business, and then translate them into the destination language(s). However, this process is tedious, error-prone, and unlikely to create a comprehensive translation glossary, and therefore not recommended. Moreover, a complete glossary of terms is critical to consistent and accurate translations. These issues are exacerbated when you need to translate your site’s content into scores of languages. 

Manually creating a translation glossary involves inputting the required terms into a spreadsheet, and sharing it with translators and proofreaders. The spreadsheet will be the reference document for all localization projects. 

While spreadsheets are a common collaboration tool, they can make your localization project move along slowly. All the hours of manual data entry can keep your staff from working on more valuable tasks. In addition, multiple versions of the spreadsheet can cause confusion, delays, or rework.

Can you hire a translator or linguist to do it for you? 

Hiring a professional to build a glossary will reduce pressure on your in-house staff but this solution is not without its disadvantages. You’ll still need to collaborate with the professional, make approvals, request corrections, and manage the project. 

Handing off the project to a professional will save you more time and effort than keeping it in-house. But it won’t move your project along as quickly as you may want. You will need to work out a mutually agreeable timeline. If the translator has other professional commitments, you may not be able to move full speed ahead with your project. This can be even more inconvenient when you’re translating your site into a number of languages.

Also, consider the affordability of engaging a professional translator or translation agency. Here again, the bigger your project, the higher your cost. It’s a good idea to explore methods that can save you time, effort, and money in creating translation glossaries. 

What’s the best way?

There are several solutions on the market, and some are very easy to use and effective. The best tools allow you to manage translations from one place, so your localization workflow isn’t disrupted, and you’re able to quickly translate your website into multiple languages without having to code or deal with spreadsheets.

Weglot allows you to create your own glossary of terms through your website translation project dashboard – you can also import glossary terms you’ve created previously and even export your glossary if you wish. 


How can your business benefit from using Weglot? Have a look at how Weglot has helped these merchants save time, boost conversions and keep translation costs manageable.

1. Slidebean

When Slidebean was looking for a way to launch into Latin America without creating multiple websites, they chose Weglot to effortlessly add a Spanish version of their website. Weglot’s user-friendly editing features came in handy when the team at Slidebean wanted to review the translations on their landing page and make sure the tone was in compliance with their brand.

Slidebean multilingual homepage

2. TheGlobalGaming

Gaming and entertainment news website TheGlobalGaming used Weglot to add Portuguese, French, German, and Spanish to their site. They found the glossary feature particularly useful. It was one of the reasons for the cost savings they realized from choosing Weglot – they would have had to pay four times the amount to a professional to translate an article in one language than what they currently pay. Following the addition of multiple languages, the company’s traffic grew 35% in one month due to international traffic.

The Global Gaming

3. Jimmy Fairly

The case study of French eyewear brand Jimmy Fairly is also apt in grasping the value of using translation glossaries. Weglot’s glossary feature allowed the company to add accurate English, German and Italian translations of words related to their products. Since setting up their multilingual site, Jimmy Fairly has seen web sessions increase by 70%.

Jimmy Fairly

The translation glossary in Weglot is one way in which the solution helps streamline your localization project workflow. Centralizing your translation project on one collaborative dashboard also allows you to save time on sharing spreadsheets and managing multiple language versions of your site. 

Weglot can accelerate your localization project and help you create refined and accurate translations by combining neural machine translation and post-editing. It’s perfect in the following situations:

  • Launching in new markets quickly and accurately 
  • Ensuring your website translation workflow is centralized 
  • Translating and managing your website when internal resources are limited 

Best practices and pro-tips to create translation glossaries 

Any changes to your business or product should reflect in your translation glossary. Even the Oxford English Dictionary is updated and republished online every three months to make way for new words and revise older entries as needed!

  • Treat your translation glossary like a living element of your business. Review and update glossary terms on an ongoing basis. A disciplined approach to maintaining the glossary will preserve the accuracy and consistency of your website content at all times. 
  • As your brand presence grows, so should your translation glossary. If you’re in a rapidly evolving industry, you should add new terms and remove outdated ones, including terms unique to your brand, corporate slogans, abbreviations, trending industry language, unique audience terms, emerging marketing words and phrases, and so on. 
  • Keep a record of words and phrases whose descriptions need to remain as is. These could be related to any evergreen or unchanging content on your site. Your translators will know what can and cannot change, and make informed decisions accordingly. 

A comprehensive translation glossary is critical for successful localization 

Translation glossaries are an indispensable localization tool. They create accurate and engaging content in your customers’ languages, attracting, engaging, and keeping them. A good multilingual website helps reinforce your brand voice and align customers’ perceptions about your brand to what you’d like them to think of you. 

A translation glossary speeds up translation, boosts your translators’ productivity, and saves them time for more valuable tasks. It’s a convenient tool for updating terms and phrases in a timely manner, so you’re always setting the right expectations for your customers. 

While it’s possible to create a translation glossary on a spreadsheet, this process can quickly become messy and time-consuming for large localization projects. You can hire a language service provider to create the translation glossary. However, it isn’t the most affordable solution. 

The most efficient way to create a translation glossary is to use a website translation software that centralizes your translation management and gives you a user-friendly way to add and grow your glossary. 

In Weglot, you have exactly that. Weglot further enhances your translation workflow by giving you the speed of neural machine translation and a number of post-editing capabilities such as building a glossary, collaborating on translations with teammates and/or translators, and excluding certain pages of your site from translation.  It’s a complete translation and website localization solution that automatically indexes your pages on Google following best practices in multilingual SEO

SEO looks vastly different today than before – search engines consider the full user experience, and readability and engagement quotient matter a great deal. These are some of the benefits you may expect from improving your site’s UX and multilingual SEO:

  • An increase in international web traffic
  • A successful entry into new markets
  • Happy customers and higher conversion rates
  • Faster progress towards commercial targets

Translation glossaries are an asset when you need to translate your website into several languages. Try Weglot for free and make the most of our translation glossary for faster and better translations!

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