According to experts in the field, almost half of translation agencies turn to IT solutions such as Gloss It for their glossary management after using spreadsheets like Excel. What encourages them to make this change? Find out below!

The beginning

Every project has a beginning. At the start of any project, we tend to choose the most intuitive tools so as to ease the management process. However, as time goes by, and our project becomes a large-scale one, chances are that these kinds of tools will restrict our task.

Spreadsheets (Excel, OpenOffice, Google Drive and so on) allow you to create a glossary incredibly easily: you just need to add a column for the source language, and another for the target language. Done! You can even complicate it a little bit: just add several columns with several target languages, and one more for comments. Simple!

Issues start when the glossary gets bigger: it contains over a thousand terms and searches become more difficult, you need further fields, such as the status of each term, and you get a new client! No problem – you just create a new tab and start over again. Mind you, you need to send the glossaries to their corresponding clients for review – so you actually need several files instead of tabs... See what I mean?

When you’re a freelance translator who works on your own, you can make it work. That said, you realize that keeping it all in place takes you more and more time and prevents you from being productive. Once you start adding more people to the team (like a colleague or a PM), everything gets a little out of hand.

Issues related to spreadsheets

Let’s take a look at some reasons why more and more clients turn to specialized tools such as Gloss It to improve their productivity and efficiency in their translation projects.

Lack of scalability

When you have a small glossary, with just a few hundred terms, Excel is quite easy to handle – all you need to do is put the text in two columns.

And that’s alright, seriously, but as soon as your glossary gets bigger and you add other glossaries... That’s a completely different story. Searches become slow. Selecting a wrong column to filter can lead you to lose the equivalence between the terms. And you start praying that the “undo” function does its job well!

Lack of fluency in communication

Sending the correct version of an Excel file is a real challenge. If the duty of tracking data in a file like this falls to one single person, it may be simple. The problem starts when you need to exchange data with colleagues: the more people involved, the more complicated coordinating communication becomes.

Accidental errors in shared data

Right, it’s time for you to upload the glossaries to the cloud so you can work with your colleagues on the same terms - spreadsheets are modified by everyone at the same time. Someone’s work could be overwritten; one colleague could filter by source language whereas another filters by target language right after. Not ideal…

Performance issues

In these times, the performance problem has reduced a bit. However, I’d like to point out the following aspect related to scalability: once you have hundreds or a few thousands of terms, even Google Drive can manage them without dying in the process – needless to say, only as long as you have a decent internet connection. The process will be slow, but embraceable.

But what if you have tens or hundreds of thousands of terms in a single glossary? I bet you're wishing you had that many terms... Well, you may be right, but then you can forget about spreadsheets being useful for their management.

One easy solution

We know most CAT tools are expensive. That’s why so many professionals use spreadsheets to manage their glossaries, despite knowing that this is not the most efficient nor feasible way to proceed.

Lucky you, we have the solution to your problem! With Gloss It, you will enjoy a subscription plan suited to your needs and you will only pay per glossaries and terms – the number of collaborators you can add to each glossary is limitless! So, you only pay per use, no matter how many linguists you are in charge of at any given time. And the best part: you can change your subscription plan whenever you want!

Spreadsheets aren't the right tools to manage your glossaries - it’s time to change and move forward, which will make your life easier so you can focus on what really matters: quality for your projects. At Gloss It, we’re happy to help you with your transition to your new tomorrow in the translation world. If you need further information, please send us an e-mail at