Multilingual Glossary

Accurate translations, delivered within budget and on time.

A glossary of terms is an alphabetical list of selected terms – usually technical in nature – and their corresponding definitions. A multilingual glossary of terms also contains translations of the terms into community languages. 

Creating a glossary entails choosing a certain number of expressions and providing definitions. These expressions are then translated by professional translators into community languages. 

Although creating a glossary adds time to the project upfront, taking this extra time is beneficial as it makes the translation process smoother and ensures consistent translations of the most common terms used. They can be shared across organisations and industries.


  1. Multilingual Glossary Working Group (MGWG) is established and meets.
  2. MGWG agrees on the number of terms to be included in the glossary.
  3. MGWG agrees on the languages to be included in the glossary. 
  4. Polaron prepares a draft list of glossary terms (25% more than the agreed number so that expressions can be culled and finalised).
  5. MGWG agrees on the actual terms to be included. 
  6. MGWG develops definitions of the terms.
  7. Polaron sets up the project team (PT) with two translators per language. 
  8. PT members meet in language clusters and discuss the glossary development tasks, terminology, linguistic challenges and project timelines.
  9. PT members work in language clusters on the glossary and provide a draft glossary to Polaron. PT raises any issues with Polaron who in turn clarifies them, where necessary, with the MGWG. 
  10. Polaron reviews the draft glossary and liaises with each language cluster until Version 1 of the multilingual glossary is prepared.
  11. Version 1 of the glossary is then submitted to an ethno-specific community organisation for each language, creating Version 2. Feedback is reviewed and incorporated (Version 3).
  12. Polaron reviews Version 3 and creates Version 4 in consultation with PT and MGWG.
  13. The glossary is finalised an approved by MGWG.


  • Accuracy: correctness of the term.
  • Adequacy: the term used takes into consideration the different varieties and countries in which the language is spoken.
  • Consistency: terminology is consistent.
  • Adherence: the terminology considers the terms that are currently being used by the community.
  • Style: the terminology is in line with the style of the publications where it will be used.