Top terminology databases for translation

Greater than 2 minutes, my friend!

You know that feeling. You have so many links to glossaries and dictionaries that you forget what you actually have saved. Your best bet is to first open the terminology bases that will save you a lot of research time.

One thing that you should remember is that there are a lot of experts and linguists behind each termbase. They have done extensive research and validation of terms, so you know that the term you are using is very reliable. And they always welcome your feedback in case you have comments or suggestions.

Termbases that are subject-specific also include other subject fields, so you can’t dismiss them. For example, if you search for “bargaining power” in FAOTerm, you will find the term, even if it’s not exactly referred to agriculture.

IATE. I must confess IATE is on my top, top list, especially since they have an add-on that you can download to make quick searches.

UNTERM. Working for an international organization, I must say that we are very strict with terminology, so if we don’t have a term in our termbase, we always go to UNTERM. And so should you!

TermiumPlus. I know this is mostly limited to English, French and Spanish, but if you use those languages this is a great termbase.

ILOTerm. It requests a login when you visit, but you only need to type “guest” in the username (with no password) and it will let you get in. I think you will thank me for this! Pick your language pair first and go to Advanced Search. Make sure you have picked the option ILO Termbase.

GATT termbase. World Trade Organization termbase in SDL Trados. If you are like me and love playing with termbases, this is a great place to go to. I know, I know, again, this is only English, French, and Spanish, but if you use these languages, this database is a perfect place to see how a termbase works.

UNESCOTERM. Try this to test it: click on “Expert Mode”; choose your language pair, pick “Administrative and Financial Terms” in the drop-down menu. Type “insurance” (or any term you are curious about). You can also choose to show definitions, remarks, and sources.

Others by subject:

Agriculture: FAOTerm

Financial: LinguaFin

Patents: WIPO Pearl

Environment: Eco-Lexicon

Science: TermSciences

An additional tip: Download a free add-on in your favorite browser to save all the links you will use and open them with just one click, such as “Snap links” for Firefox or “Linky Extension” for Chrome. There are many to choose from! Also remember that most termbases can be personalized, so make sure you go to the settings and pick your language pair.

Not happy with my list? I know you have specific needs. You can always check TermCoord’s list for more terminology database. The ones I provide here are the ones I use most of the time, but I am sure you could add more.

There’s always something almost romantic when opening a well-structured termbase. It makes me smile and breathe a sigh of relief. Happy searching!




Patricia Brenes

About Patricia Brenes

Terminology is my passion and I write what I have learned about it in my blog Check it out! More personal info at

9 thoughts on “Top terminology databases for translation

  1. That’s very generous of you to share this list, Patricia!

    I clicked on your link to Eco-Lexicon, since I do environmental translating. The site provides delightful visual maps of terminology relationships in different colors! They dance around before your eyes if you click on different terms or sorts of relationships (general/specific, whole/part, non-hierarchical).

    Like you, I take great pleasure in well-presented data, although I am not a terminologist. Your love for terminology, which shines through in all your posts, is infectious!

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