Linguistic Assets are the Foundation of Success

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Linguistic Assets are the Foundation of Success

Linguistic Assets are the Foundation of Success
How glossaries, style guides, and TM streamline translation, protect your brand, and save you money

By Romina Castroman, Senior Localization Project Manager

As a localization project manager, I know first-hand that linguistic assets are the foundation of a successful translation project. Glossaries, style guides, and  translation memories (TM) are key to helping linguists who work on the project have a better understanding of the client’s unique terminology, preferences, and style.
At Lingotek, the first step before translating any new content for a client, is to start with the creating a glossary, a style guide, and collecting TM. Creating linguistic assets at the beginning of a project sets a good foundation for localization that will improve the quality, consistency, and cost efficiency of the project.

To create a Glossary for a new client, the Lingotek TMS (translation management system) has a feature that allows us to extract a list of repetitions directly from any project. Creating a Glossary also helps the client identify which terms they want to leave in English, or which ones they want to have translated in a certain way like product names, the client’s logo, company name, etc. It’s also important to include terms that should not be translated in the Glossary. Some company names have an established translation already in certain languages (Asian languages, in particular), and it is good to identify those from the beginning as well. The Glossary is a definitive resource that will show the translator the client-approved terms for specific languages

Style Guide
The Style Guide is a set of locale-specific standards or guidelines for the target language, like phone number formats or pronoun usage, for example. It also includes the client's specific style and preferences for the linguists to follow during the translation process. Every language has unique usage for pronouns, numbers, punctuation, etc. This information is included in the Style Guide, so that the translation will reflect the appropriate usage for each particular locale.
Common elements of a Style Guide include:

  • Reference material links
  • General target language conventions
  • Character set instructions
  • Date conventions
  • Time conventions
  • Phone numbers
  • Address format
  • Units of measure
  • Capitalization rules
  • Quotation marks
  • Abbreviations
  • Gender
  • Company-specific preferences:
    • Tone of voice: Formal or informal pronoun usage

What happens if you don’t have a style guide?
When clients don’t invest in creating a Style Guide, it leads to inconsistencies,  lots of edits, and translations that don’t accurately reflect the proper localization for the target language. For example, one client did not want to include a space between the number and the metric measurement (3,45cm), but in Japan, the commonly used format is to use a space (3,45 cm), so the content was not accurately localized for the end user. This leads to a poor user experience and can damage the company’s brand, that’s why we always recommend that our clients use a Style Guide.

Translation Memory
A Translation Memory (TM) is a database of translated sentences or words. Each time a sentence is translated using a CAT (Computer Assisted Translation) tool, it is saved in the TM, identifying the source and the target as a “translated unit.”

The benefits of cloud-based TM management
The benefit of using a cloud-based CAT tool like the Lingotek TMS when translating, is that it will save the translated unit in the TM. This same string or sentence then won’t have to be translated if it appears again. This ensures consistency and saves the client a lot of time and money. Cloud-based TM is very helpful when working on large projects with quick turnaround times. If the translations were handled outside of the TMS, and each linguist is working on their own, they would not be able to benefit from each other’s translations.

How to import existing TMs
Lingotek’s TMS can import any type of existing TMs, so that any previously approved translations from the client can be re-used. One of the greatest benefits of using the Lingotek TMS, is that we have a centralized TM vault for each client. When we are working on a large project and need to have several linguists working on the same project at the same time, this means that all of the linguists will see each other’s translations right away. It is a big time saver and also ensures the quality and consistency of the translation, even when several different linguists are working on it.

As a localization project manager, I know that creating translation assets before the translation process begins, is a great foundation for a project’s success. By taking the time to create glossaries, style guides, and collect translation memories at the beginning, our clients will get translations that are higher quality, more consistent, and cost-efficient.

Have questions or want additional information about linguistic assets? You can contact us by phone, email, or online: Lingotek Telephone: US: +1(801)331-7777 UK: +44 (0)1628 421525; Lingotek Email:; Lingotek Website:


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