Term Bases and Why They Are Essential

If you are not too familiar with localization, you might have never heard of a “term base” before. A term base is an essential part of high quality translation projects, especially game localization. It will allow you to ensure consistency throughout your brand.


What is a term base?

Well, it’s actually very simple. It is a file showing the terminology of your project or game in each language you have translated it into. It shows what the equivalent of the English term is in all the translated languages, as shown in the illustration, below.  Think of it as a lexicon or multi-lingual dictionary of words, names, and phrases that have specific importance or meaning to your game or project.



Why is it important?


Term bases allow you to ensure consistency and quality. Some projects are done in stages or with multiple translators. It is especially important to have a solid term base if you have multiple translators working on your project, or if you are translating game derivate text (such as FAQs). Having term bases are crucial so that the translator and therefore the player/reader understands what you are referring to.


For example, if a new translator picks up a game project and you haven’t given him the term base of the game, he might translate “Town Hall” as a building. If the previous translator meant Town Hall as a meeting rather than a place, the player will be confused. Term bases help to make sure the same translated concept is passed on from previous translators.


A term base is important even if the same translator is expected to work on the entire project. Using a single translator may ensure consistency; however, any good translator will document the essential terms that he has translated in case they are needed later.


This term base will prove invaluable as your company grows and your games become bigger. If, for example, you start having local marketing campaigns or merchandise, the localized character names or concepts will be re-used for these operations. So always make sure to ask your language service provider for an updated term base so that you can reuse it later on for marketing campaigns or with other providers.


Now that you know what a term base is and how it is used, does your project have one? If not, Transfluent can help! Contact us today for a consultation.