Booth-friendly terminology management programs for interpreters – a market snapshot

– This one comes in English, as many non-German-speaking colleagues have asked for it. –

This article is meant to give you a very brief overview of the terminology management programs that I am aware of (in alphabetical order), made for simultaneous interpreters. I have tried to highlight the merits and downsides that in my experience are the most relevant when it comes to making a decision. For detailed descriptions of the respective systems, just follow the links, or post your questions here so that we can sort them out together, with the help of the respective proprietors.

Interplex (Peter Sand, Geneva)

Very much appreciated by those colleagues who have accumulated tons of valuable thematic glossaries in Word or Excel files. You can import them into Interplex and search them all at once (or in selected glossaries), and edit them as well. It has a great search function ignoring all the accents and special characters I tried. It is very straightforward so you can start working with it in no time. It does not, however, allow for classifying/filtering your terms by customers, subject fields, conferences, date etc.

Available for Windows, iPhone and iPad.
Cost: 75 $, free demo (I think there is a student discount, but it doesn’t say so on the website – just ask Peter).

InterpretBank (Claudio Fantinuoli, Germersheim)

Very user-friendly, many nice functions; organised by glossaries (which, technically speaking, are subject areas tagged to each entry), has all the essential data categories (customer, project etc.) and a very nice flashcard-like memorising function. Quick-search function which ignores accents. It is limited to five languages and you cannot add endless numbers of individual data fields.

Available for Windows, Mac and Android.
Free trial, full license: 59 €, student license: 39 €, free demo license for university teachers (and their students).

Also see my more recent review of InterpretBank 4.

LookUp (Christoph Stoll, Heidelberg)

Very sophisticated and has a great quick-search function which literally allows you to blind-type the first few letters of a word and the hit list appears without you even having to hit the enter button. It is limited to four languages, of which only three can be displayed at a time.  The search function does not ignore accents and other special characters. It has many data fields (customer, subject, project etc. and even semantic relations)  and corresponding filtering and sorting functions; to my knowledge, it is the interpreter-specific terminology management tool which comes closest to the „real“ terminology systems (SDL Trados and the like).

Available for Windows. Free download.

TERMINUS (Nils Wintringham, Zürich)

Quick-search function, classification by glossaries and „groups“ (customer, subject group etc.) using descriptors, a concept which I find quite enticing as it is both easy to use and allows for differentiated classification of your terms. Don’t use the default installation folder under Windows 8 or 10.

Available for Windows.
CHF 148 plus VAT, 50 % off for academia, free demo.

For those of you who still just can’t decide, I suggest you start with a plain table in MS-Excel, MS-Access (my favourite), Filemaker and the like. It enables you to keep all your terminology in one place and you have the basic sorting, filtering and searching functions. Those simple table structures can be imported into virtually any terminology management system once you have decided on one.

When working in a team and preparing for a very technical conference, I very much like to share a Google spreadsheet (i.e. share the terminology work). It can save huge amounts of time. But you must really make sure not to enter your customer’s confidential data there, so I would not recommend it as a general terminology management tool.

And last but not least: If there are any other terminology management systems for conference interpreters, please let me know. Also, if the proprietors of the above mentioned programs want to add or correct anything of the above, feel free to use the comments! And anyone who just wants to share their experience, please do so as well.

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Addendum: Immediately after publication of this blog, I was made aware of two more very recent (and indeed very modern) programs, GlossaryAssistant and InterpretersHelp. Here’s more about them: http://blog.sprachmanagement.net/?p=305.

In addition, there is a summary table which gives you an overview of all the terminology tools for interpreters I am aware of, which I try to keep up to date.