Translation Process: Resources Selection and Maintenance

What are our resources in translation, other than people and tools? (You will find more about the selection of people and tools in this chapter: Management Focused Elements of the Translation Process.)

Translation memories

How is a translation memory different from translation memory?
Translation memory is the collection of databases of translated content containing both the source and final translations. But translation memory is rarely a single database.

One client can have different translation memories for different brands, products or verticals (e.g. marketing content, legal content or financial content).


Guidelines set out the style and tone of voice, preferred forms of address, and other language-related decisions. The advantage of using them is most notable in two regards. Firstly, they ensure that translations are in line with marketing decisions regarding target group, communication style etc. Secondly, they help to keep consistency across all newly translated text, thus leading to consistent communication in each language.

If you do not have guidelines at the beginning of your translation journey, don’t worry. A good translation agency will help you create and develop your first guidelines.

Companies experienced in translation usually work with multiple guidelines. Obviously, there are different guidelines for each language, but also for each market (e.g. guidelines for the British market and for the Australian market may vary significantly). Last but not least, brands create separate guidelines for different brands, product lines etc. aimed at different target groups in the same market.


Similarly to guidelines, there are usually multiple sets of glossaries for different topics and different subject matters. There may be a separate glossary for industry-related jargon and a number of glossaries dedicated to each brand within a company.

The structure of glossaries depends greatly on the type and field of your operations.

If you don’t have glossaries at the beginning of your translation journey, you can begin by gathering the most important phrases (such as the words in your slogan, mission statement, core product descriptions etc.) and build them up along the way.

Now that you know which resources we are talking about, let’s focus on the selection and maintenance of your translation resources.



At the beginning of each translation project, it’s very important to use proper translation memory databases, guidelines and glossaries. The project manager compiles the most important information about the project and preferred resources for the account manager responsible for maintaining a client’s resources. The account manager checks for the resources from the list and makes sure nothing has been missed. Then the account manager passes them to the project manager for use in the translation project.


>In the process of translation, it often happens that translators encounter ambiguous issues not covered by the guidelines or glossaries. In those cases, they contact the project manager who can seek answers from the account manager and/or client.

> Some projects go beyond the usual glossaries, so new decisions regarding wording must be made.

> Both languages and markets are living creatures and, as they evolve, some decisions become outdated and need to be changed.

The project manager distributes information about such new decisions to all linguists involved in the current project to make the project’s output consistent.

After completion, however, this kind of information must be gathered and passed on to the account manager who makes sure the changes are recorded in all relevant guidelines and glossaries.

> In another scenario, a company changes its target group or communication style and decides that some guidelines or phrases should be changed. It is then in the company’s interest to inform the translation provider of these changes so they can be implemented throughout the resources.

These steps are easily overlooked as they don’t seem relevant for the ever-pacing project completion. But if neglected, the same work would have to be performed in future projects. What a waste of time! That is why at locatheart we update all of the resources after delivery of the translations. This is a part of the work that you do not see, but you should be glad that it’s being done!

Having performed this last step of resource maintenance, we can close the translation project.

Congratulations: you have completed segment one of our Translation Essentials guide. Are you ready to dive into the most common types of translation in contemporary communication in segment two?


Segment 2: Types of translation >>

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