​Best practices for embedded glossaries

The following are tips on how to handle embedded glossaries, that is, generally fairly short lists of specialized terms or abbreviations along with definitions and explanatory notes that are included in a document to be translated into French.

For this type of work, the client must provide information about the frame of reference of the work or the contact details of a resource person who will provide the information (reference documents, sources of the definitions and terms provided, regulations).

Embedded glossaries must be handled as follows:

  • Check official names associated with the translation of the glossary in ONTERM.

  • Carry out terminology research to select appropriate equivalents for the domain in question.

    Note that in some cases, a single term and concept in the source language has two or more equivalents – that is, two or more corresponding concepts – in the target language.

    For example, in the outdoor recreation domain, the English term “trail” corresponds to two distinct concepts in French, denoted by the terms “sentier” (walking trail) and “piste” (cycling, horseback riding or cross-country skiing trail).

  • The entries must be in the alphabetical order of the target language (hence, they will not be in the same order as in the source language).

  • The entries should be in their basic form, that is, normally in lower case and in the singular for nouns and noun phrases.

    Exceptions: The plural form is used for nouns found only in the plural (for example, “honoraires”, “frais de transport”). Official names must be capitalized (for example, Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission).

  • The French version of the definitions will follow the same pattern as the English, with whatever adjustments are necessary for the French equivalent.

The same method applies to the handling of an embedded glossary in a document translated from French to English.

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Examples of terms and definitions taken from the English-French Emergency Management Glossary of Terms, published in 2011.

English terms

  • continuity of operations plan – A plan developed and maintained to direct an organization’s internal response to an emergency.
  • critical response team (CRT) – Within a business continuity plan this term refers to the team responsible for initiating the organization’s internal response to ensure safety of staff and initiate evacuation if required during a service disruption.
  • emergency plan – A plan developed and maintained to direct an organization's external and/or internal response to an emergency.

French terms

  • équipe d’intervention prioritaire (EIP) – Dans le contexte d’un plan de continuité des opérations, équipe responsable du lancement des mesures d’urgence de l’organisation à l’interne afin d’assurer la sécurité du personnel et de déclencher au besoin l’évacuation lors d’une perturbation de service.
  • plan de continuité des opérations – Plan mis au point et tenu à jour pour guider les mesures qu’une organisation doit prendre à l’interne en situation d’urgence.
  • plan de mesures d'urgence (synonyme : plan d'urgence) - Plan mis au point et tenu à jour pour guider l'intervention d'une organisation à l'interne et/ou à l'externe en situation d'urgence.

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For more details on how to write terminology definitions, see the following reference materials:

La rédaction de définitions terminologiques. Office québécois de la langue française, 2009.

Le Pavel : didacticiel de terminologie. Public Works and Government Services Canada – Translation Bureau, 2011 (see Section 3.5.5)

The Pavel: Terminology Tutorial (English version)