Benefits of a Terminology Glossary and Style Guide

style guide.jpgA translation style guide is a set of rules for how your company presents itself textually and visually. Think of it as a guidebook for your language service provider (LSP) that includes rules for voice, writing style, sentence structure, and terminology.

A terminology glossary contains the building blocks for your website content. It’s a database containing key terminology used by your company and customers and their approved translations in all target languages.


A style guide isn’t a grammar manual with the rules of language. It’s a document that helps content creators and translators choose the preferred language elements for most effectively communicating with your desired target audience.

The glossary helps translators ensure that each time a defined key term appears in a corresponding language, it’s used consistently and correctly.

But in the global marketplace, translation style guides and terminology glossaries are high-value tools that go beyond helping your team create great content. These documents give your language services provider (LSP) the critical information required to ensure high-quality localized content for all target languages, markets, and locales.

A style guide and glossary are vital tools for increasing translation quality and localization effectiveness.

Further benefits of a terminology glossary and style guide include:


Increase relevance to customers and prospects. The glossary, in particular, ensures that the terms used by you and your customers are translated properly into target languages. This is crucial for building and maintaining your brand’s reputation, establishing trust, and improving engagement.


Get to market faster. The style guide and glossary reduce protracted discussions about how to handle certain terms or which voice is appropriate. They also reduce cycle times by negating the need for back-and-forth emails and calls with questions about basic rules. Your LSP’s team works faster and more accurately by accessing the guide and enforcing its rules during the localization process, instead of having to stop and wait for guidance from you.


Present a consistent message across markets. These assets also ensure consistency across markets, enabling you to maintain consistent brand messaging in any language. Providing your LSP with these guidelines empowers their language experts to localize and/or transcreate from the same core concepts, giving you one voice in many languages.


Reduce spend. Style guides and glossaries reduce confusion and rework by providing a standard, authoritative reference for your marketing and translation teams. Approximately 15% of all translation project costs arise from rework, and the primary cause of rework is inconsistent terminology.

Developing a translation style guide and terminology glossary are the first steps in the localization process. You and your team can handle most of the work yourselves with guidance from your LSP, or you can consult with them on generating these assets for you. Whichever route you choose, it’s important to use your most up-to-date source content in order to create highly relevant linguistic assets.

A marketer, or someone else familiar with a company’s brand strategy, should work on creating a style guide and glossary before translation happens. An LSP can help to develop the actual materials, but a marketer must provide guidance around brand identity and industry terminology.