Categories: Pontoon Tools

Bringing terminology support to Pontoon

Terminology is a group of specialized words, compound words or multi-word expressions (terms) relating to a particular field. We’ve recently shipped the ability to store such terms in Pontoon, and now they’ve become conveniently integrated into the translation workbench.

Terminology in Pontoon


By integrating terminology, we wanted to bring improvements to the translation process in several areas:

  • Localization consistency. It’s hard to expect all authors to always use the same translations for the same words and phrases without any help from the tool.
  • Translation pace. Until now, localizers had to manually search for existing translations of terms found in the strings they are translating.
  • Content comprehension. The meaning of specific expressions is not always clear, especially if the comment isn’t provided.
  • Brand translation. Trademarks present a special case for localization as they have legal and semantic significance, and often come with localization constraints.

How does it work?

Terms are highlighted in the original string, similarly to how we highlight placeables. On click a popup appears with a list of matching terms and corresponding metadata (part of speech, definition, usage example and translation). By clicking any of the terms in the list, term translation gets inserted into the editor.

We’ve also added the Terms panel in the 3rd column, which behaves similarly as the popup, but contains all the terms found in the string. Since this is now the 4th panel in the right column, we’ve split it in half, so that two panels can be visible at the same time (Terms and Machinery by default).

Next steps

The list of terms and their metadata is jointly maintained by several teams across Mozilla. Term translations are currently only available for a small set of locales, but we’re already working on the ability to establish a process for all locales to provide translations. Stay tuned!

In the mid term we also plan to:

  • Make terms available in a public repository in a standardized format for each locale.
  • Add the ability for localizers to propose new terms.
  • Include terms in our quality checks.

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