Managing your glossaries with Excel

I have a present for you today. Just because! It’s a spreadsheet. Are you excited yet? Here, take a look:


This is an excerpt from the children’s rights section of my own termbase, both formal legal and informal journalism terms. Yes, I’m sharing part of my glossary with you. Didn’t think translators did that, did ya? I share it on my professional website, too. Since I made such a big fuss about keeping track of specialized terminology, I thought it was only fair to show you how I do it!

As you can see, I created columns for each language plus a synonym, a broad category and a more specific specialty area, and there’s a spot for explaining the context for usage. Among other things. The column headings are ISO standard language, which should make the file more compatible with a number of CAT tools. Just import it to your favorite one! (You may have to save as a .csv first.)

There are certainly fancier options out there, but I like Excel. I’m not a high-tech translator. This is the simplest solution I found to tame the mass of scrap paper that was my former glossary system. I like being able to sort the terms by topic, alphabetically, or by pairs that are missing a translation (I usually have more French than Hungarian listed). It’s very easy to cut out sections to make a stand-alone specialized glossary, too. So convenient!

How do you keep track of terminology? What are you thoughts on sharing words with others?



7 thoughts on “Managing your glossaries with Excel

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