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What Can You Marry the Microsoft Glossary to for Higher Performance?

Best Practice on Laptop Showing Successful Practices by Stuart Miles,

Last time, I wrote about how a project glossary was key to consistency. While I’m on the subject, I’ll also share one recent glossary-related experience. I’m originally an IT translator, and this is one of my two favorite specializations (the other is financial markets). The fact that we diversified a lot in terms of subject matter areas over the last years and IT now accounts for a smaller fraction of our workload makes me even more excited when I get to translate or edit something computer-related. This excitement translates into a desire to do a better job. Here’s one thing that I discovered recently that helps me do just that.

Microsoft Glossary Rocks

I guess everyone professionally involved in IT translations knows about the plethora of translation resources that Microsoft put together. Since MS is the number one authority on computers that also invests a lot in localizing their products, these translations are among the best and most authoritative in this field. A translator who relies upon them reaps at least two benefits. The first one is obviously quick access to excellent translations. The second one is being able to explain his/her choices to a reviewer who might have doubts about terminology. For example, a reviewer once told me he didn’t like the Russian translation of “firewall” (брандмауэр). With the MS glossary publicly available, explaining the choice couldn’t be easier.

Now, what’s the most efficient way of accessing MS translations? Until recently, I thought it was by searching the MS Language Portal. But then I realized I can actually download the entire glossary with all languages. Wow, instead of searching the portal each time, which is time-consuming, I can have it on my desktop. The only challenge was to find an efficient way to search it.

OmegaT Gives a Helping Hand, Again

This is where OmegaT came in handy. The MS glossary is a TBX file containing many languages. OmegaT supports TBX and displays only the terms that match the current project’s language combination, e.g. English to Russian in my case. This means OmegaT processes the MS glossary just as any other glossary, providing immediate, real-time access to glossary terms. As soon as I opened the glossary in OmegaT, I realized it contained really a lot of terms, much more than you would think and definitely much more than you would have patience to search using the portal. Having the glossary right in my OmegaT allows me to avoid searching each term on the portal and gives me much more term suggestions that I would ever think of looking up myself on the portal. After using this powerful combination in a few large projects, I saw a measurable performance increase.

The Flipside

The flipside? Hello? You get to use a glossary that a leading company invested millions of dollars in—for free and in an extremely efficient fashion! What more do you want? On a more serious note, the “flipside” is that because the MS glossary is so comprehensive, it’s very easy to get lazy and forget about filling up your own project glossary, which you’ll need later for checking the translation for consistency in the QA program.


The MS glossary is probably the best glossary out there for translating almost anything IT-related (and what isn’t these days?). Marrying it with OmegaT gives you an exciting ability to increase quality and consistency. And it’s just one easy-to-use TBX file whether you translate into the German, French, Spanish, or Russian language, just to name a few.

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  • Iren says:

    Спасибо за информацию, скачала на всякий случай. Мне доводилось переводить документы Майкрософта и, как человек, связанный с IT, я была не всегда согласна с их переводами, но они своей повсеместной виндой основную массу просто приучили говорить на своём языке 😉 Спасибо вам за блог, много интересного узнаю про Омегу, тоже её использую. Кстати, если в вашем бизнесе используется Фотошоп, то его недавно стало можно скачать бесплатно с сайта Адоб. Правда, старую версию, 2005 года, CS2 – но для скромных нужд она вполне подойдёт.

    • Спасибо за комментарий и теплые слова, Ирен! Приятно 🙂 Я согласен, что по мелочам к глоссарию «Майкрософт» можно кое-где придраться. Один «веб-узел», на котором она настаивала столько лет, чего стоит. Но в целом, честно говоря, он меня очень впечатляет. По работе приходится часто иметь дело с глоссариями компаний. Так вот ничего близкого по качеству и наполнению я не видел. Здорово, что вы используете OmegaT. Некоторые фрилансеры пользуются CAT-программами, только потому что их им навязывают заказчики, а у вас осознанный выбор, по всей видимости, это здорово. И спасибо за наводку на бесплатный Фотошоп, буду иметь в виду.

  • Mari says:

    Огромное спасибо за ссылки и за информацию о Фотошопе – пригодится все 🙂

  • Constantine says:

    Hello Roman,

    here I am with a new question again 😉
    I downloaded the MS-glossary for german and french. They have a form of en-de and en-fr respectively.
    Do you know if there is a simple and fast way to combine these two in order to make a tbx or tmx file containing de-fr?
    I read somewhere that there is a file containing all the languages. Is it possible to download this from somewhere?

    Best Regards

    • Hi Constantine. Thank you for reading. I am not aware of a Microsoft file with all the languages.

      Off the top of my head, two possible options:

      1. Play with both glossaries using Anchovy ( There might be some sort of way of exporting all content, e.g., to CSV and then copying and pasting columns.
        I am not sure if this will work, because I never merged glossaries this way.
      2. A weirder option: export both TBXs into TMX (again Anchovy) and make a comparison using Change Tracker ( Again, not sure whether this will work, but Change Tracker will produce an Excel table that might be what you need.

      Hope this helps.

      Best wishes,

  • Constantine says:

    Thank you for the info Roman.
    I also found a lot of material on the subject. I will try as many methods as possible, hoping to find what I am looking for.
    Please have a look here:
    It is a “Microsoft Euro-Languages Terminology Collection” as they call it but I do not have a Trados license, therefore cannot download it either.

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About the Author

Roman Mironov
Roman Mironov
CEO & Founder

As the founder of Velior, Roman has had the privilege of being able to turn his passion for languages into a business. He has over 15 years of experience in the translation industry. Roman has helped dozens of clients increase sales by making their products appealing for speakers of other languages.