Using Microsoft Excel as a glossary-conversion tool

20/10/08 9:15 AM

As translators, we get glossaries in all sorts of formats: XML, HTML, tab-delimited text, comma-separated value (CSV), …

A good example is the Microsoft terminology glossary: a monstrous CSV file of terminology used for localizing Microsoft user interafaces.

We often need to convert these glossaries into other formats, especially to get them into a terminology management program. Microsoft Excel is actually a great tool for doing this. It can open all the formats listed above, and more. Using Felix, you could then import the glossary directly, or if you’re using some other tool, you could save the glossary in many popular formats, such as tab-delimited text or csv; chances are your terminology manager will support one of them.

Another cool trick with Excel is loading glossaries from the Internet. When Excel is installed, the context menu in Internet Explorer gets an “Export to Microsoft Excel” command; so when you have a glossary in a table on a website, you can simply right click on it, export it to Excel, and from there put it into any of a number of formats.

Export to Microsoft Excel menu selection

Of course, there are limitations to using Excel as an intermediary for glossary conversion. The main one is when terminology managers use special formats, which Excel can’t interpret in a meaningful way. In this case, you can often get around it by using one of the generic “save as” file options of your terminology manager.

Posted by Ryan Ginstrom | in Other tools | 1 Comment »

One Comment on “Using Microsoft Excel as a glossary-conversion tool”

  1. Tom Schmidt-Makino Says:

    I never knew that function existed in IE, thanks for the informative post!

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