Poll: If a client provides a very detailed glossary, it...
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
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Dec 22, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "If a client provides a very detailed glossary, it...".

This poll was originally submitted by boostrer. View the poll results »



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Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 21:38
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Helps to some extent Dec 22, 2013

Depending on how long it is and the format in which it is provided to you.

If I get a shortish term list -- we are talking about term lists, right? (glossary is a "list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge with their definitions." according to Wiktionary) -- in printed form that I can digest over a cuppa coffee, then it's OK.
Or, if I get a termbase I can open in my CAT tool (I use Trados), that's equally fine with me.

However, some term lists provided by customers are totally unwieldy.

I once received a term list in Excel format that was over 12,000 terms long. They actually wanted to me check each term in this list. WTF! I told them very politely what they could do with it.

I ought to add that in my close to 30 years of translation, a customer has never provided me with a glossary. Maybe a list of acronyms but never a glossary. Why a glossary? Do they think I'm stupid and unable to look through reference materials and check things myself?

Added last paragraph

[Edited at 2013-12-22 09:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-22 10:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-23 06:09 GMT]


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 14:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Dec 22, 2013

Sometimes it may be helpful; other times it can drive me to distraction, especially if I would prefer to use what I consider "better" or more appropriate vocabulary in some cases.
Nevertheless, in general my clients don't usually oblige me to use TMs or glossaries so it's not really an issue. I do however insist that clients define any abbreviations they use, which can be a nightmare in some areas, for example medicine. And I eventually stopped doing financial translations after a spat with one client about synonymy.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:38
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other... it depends! Dec 22, 2013

Sometimes it will explain acronyms and catchy names Google will never find, because they are in-company lingo. Ditto for industry neologisms. Quite useful.

At times it will be an attempt to forcefully "validate" mistranslations from previous amateur translations or hapless PEMT of related material. Lots of extra work trying to convince the client they are wrong.


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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 13:38
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Helps me to some extent... Dec 22, 2013

... if the glossary is well written, very thorough, well organized, neat, pragmatic and easy to access, but I must say that in over 30 years experience I only came across such a glossary once!

[Edited at 2013-12-22 09:39 GMT]


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 15:38
English to Russian
+ ...
Combination of the two Dec 22, 2013

At best, it helps to some extent, but most often just creates unwanted problems.

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LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:38
Russian to English
+ ...
It helps a lot but mostly in the technical texts translation, Dec 22, 2013

medical and pharmaceutical. It does not help much in the legal (perhaps a little) and more general types of translation, and it definitely does not apply to literary translation.

The glossary has to be really good -- prepared by a lexicographer, not just somebody else's TM.


[Edited at 2013-12-22 11:00 GMT]


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:38
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Misuse of the term 'glossary' Dec 22, 2013

Julian Holmes wrote:
Depending on how long it is and the format in which it is provided to you.

If I get a shortish term list -- we are talking about term lists, right? (glossary is a "list of terms in a particular domain of knowledge with their definitions." according to Wiktionary) -- in printed form that I can digest over a cuppa coffee, then it's OK.
...
Maybe a list of acronyms but never a glossary. ...

Added last paragraph

[Edited at 2013-12-22 09:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-22 10:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-12-22 10:55 GMT]


It does my heart good to see that at least someone use the word correctly!!


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:38
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Of course it's useful! Dec 22, 2013

In answer to the question, Isn't the customer always right? If they're paying us to produce a text for their use, I think we have an obligation to stick to the terminology they provide us, even if we don't agree with it. The list is not only helpful, we are required to use it. Of course, if we find outright mistakes in the list, we might want to discuss them.

It's not as if the translator has an inside track on "better" terminology. For the most part, terminology isn't standardized, so the decision is up to the user. Even if a term is standardized, a client might have a reason not to use it. If the client has developed a preference, it's for a reason.


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Jessica Noyes  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:38
Spanish to English
+ ...
Another problem with term lists Dec 22, 2013

Detailed term lists can lengthen shorter jobs significantly. The problem is that we don't know which terms are glossed. So, we must read through the entire list at some point to see which exact words are on it (or else check every single word as we work). The words we automatically use to translate certain concepts may be anathema to this particular client. So a short list of acronyms and highly specialized terms is very helpful; a long list is just one big headache.

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Texte Style
Local time: 14:38
French to English
Totally with Muriel Dec 22, 2013

In the agency I worked for we didn't call them glossaries but "mandatory terminology lists", in that if a client had spent time compiling a list of terms they wanted us to use, we had to use them, not make up our own preferences. If we find that the client is wrong, we can always explain to them.

Of course it's best to use a CAT tool and incorporate the glossary as a termbase, then pay attention when the CAT tool points out words in the TB.


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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:38
French to English
+ ...
Other Dec 22, 2013

These can be very useful, but they can also be a complete pain, as other have said. Much depends on the source and the accuracy (or otherwise) of the terminology. Whilst I subscribe to the customer's right to use the terms they prefer, sometimes entries in these terminology lists are just plain wrong and therefore involve extra work for the translator. If you use a CAT tool, you might realise that the term list has flagged the wrong term in your target language, but you still have to decide whether or not to go with your own instincts (and be prepared to justify it to the client) or stick to the client's term. If you don't use a CAT tool, or if it's a concept that's so familiar to you that you wouldn't even dream of glancing at a terminology list, you won't even realise there's an issue until the client complains.... I've had this from one nuclear client with "réception" which they insist on translating as commissioning, rather than the more usual acceptance. I can just about take that, but when the term comes up in the same sentence as mise en service? Cue lengthy correspondence with client, at the end of which they agree that yes it should be acceptance, but only in that situation. Grrrr.

On the other hand, I have some clients who issue excellent terminology lists which I'm quite happy to use, and obviously there are some cases where a client may have a preference for one term rather than another and it makes sense for them to tell us. Another situation in which CAT tools are worth their weight in gold as an aide mémoire to the fact that there are different options for a particular client.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Rarely helpful Dec 23, 2013

As a rule I find clients' "preferred terminology lists", "glossaries", etc. are only rarely useful. As others have said, they can make the work slower because of having to refer constantly to these sometimes lengthy lists, seldom provided in Word format.
The worst thing is that they mostly contain expressions with which I'm already familiar but almost never the one or two "mystery words" or acronyms I could use some help with.
I had one like that last week in which one term was definitely mistranslated. I used my own translation of the term and explained what I'd done to the PM.
Sigh ...


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