How do I market a glossary?
Thread poster: Triston Goodwin

Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Jun 14, 2012

I had an idea for a large glossary and have been working on it for some time with the intent of marketing and selling it. I am curious though as to how to protect the work legally and how to market it. For example, if I were to get it published as an e-book and sell it through something like or even ebay? Not to mention it would be really cool to have a "book" that I wrote on my shelf.

Have any of you ever tried something like this? Is there any money to made in doing so? What steps should I take?

It's a fairly large glossary that I'm working on and I still have several more months of researching and translating to do on it, but I like having an idea of what the steps are.

Thanks for your help!!



Steven Smith
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:59
Member (2007)
Japanese to English
Any market gap for this? Jun 15, 2012

Since no one else has answered, I shall give my averagely-informed opinion.

Presumably the Spanish-English pair is already well served with specialist dictionaries and online glossaries. The former will be authoritative - and expensive - because such dictionaries are usually prepared by a team of specialists; the latter will almost always be free to access, but often of dubious quality.

I would be reluctant to pay for a glossary produced by an individual translator, unless it was very cheap, and had rarity value: i.e. it covered terms not covered by existing resources. Equally important is the issue of reliability: I would be unable to trust the quality of a glossary unless the glossary creator had strong credentials or authority in the field, and/or could justify the validity of their entries with examples from real texts, etc.

If you could satisfy those three demands then you might have something a few people would be willing to pay for.

Just my tuppenceworthicon_smile.gif


Triston Goodwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
Good Advice Jun 15, 2012

Thank you for your reply. I had been playing with this particular idea for a while now, and will still move forward with it. It is a very underdeveloped field, which is why I think that I have an opportunity to make a profit.

I will continue working on it as I still feel it's a good investment.

I appreciate your comment, it helped me refine my plans and I think I have a better idea of how to proceed.


Phil Hand  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
Chinese to English
I agree with Steven... Jun 16, 2012

That you need to do quite a lot of work to make this credible. But the best credibility comes from word of mouth, and that happens... right here. Proz already has mechanisms for building glossaries on this site; and it has a training system whereby you can offer paid-for trainings online to colleagues. Could some mysterious chemical combination of the two occur? If you offer a training in the specific field you're talking about, give attendees the password to an on-site glossary, and then they give feedback, then you've got the start of your "earned advertising".

Of course, excessive sharing on Proz via Kudoz and otherwise could erode the value - you'll have to talk to the site about how to protect your IP.


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:59
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Not wishing to discourage you but... Jun 16, 2012 a professional translator with over 15 years in business, I would only be interested in paying for a glossary if it really contained the key to correct translations of specialised terms in my main subjects. This means that all terms would need to be the result of good research or higher education in the subject matters, and both things take time.

Therefore, in general I would be more prone to examine the product and eventually pay for it if it came from someone who had been working in the business for 25-30 years.

My suggestion is that you keep enriching the glossary as a side result of your work as a translator, avoiding the aggregation of bunches of terms from different sources not researched by yourself, and most probably in the very long run it will be something worth offering on sale when you are closer to the end of your career as a translator.


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