Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Microsoft Glossaries RIP

As I mentioned in a previous post, Microsoft has released a new multi-language glossary of about 9000 terms.

Unfortunately, at the same time they have removed the old Microsoft glossaries that have been so useful to many IT translators: the only thing left on the old ftp site is a short readme file, which announces the new glossary as containing "more up-to-date terminology, [...] that is easier to use".

The old material is still available, but only to MSDN subscribers:
  1. Go to
  2. Use the Sign In button to sign in to your MSDN account.
  3. Click the "Subscriber Downloads and Product Keys" link.
  4. Navigate to Tools, SDKs, and DDKs\Microsoft Glossaries.
I think it is a pity that the old, fuller glossaries are no longer available: it is true that some of the information there had to be taken with a grain of salt, as the glossaries contained many inconsistencies and even errors, but they were not really difficult to use (as Microsoft's readme file implies) - at least for people who knew something about software, or who used some of the various tools available on the web for making full use of the glossaries.

Several people knew about the impending demise of the old glossaries in advance, and I think many made full downloads to save their own copies of the most recent files.

Unfortunately, even those who have backup copies of the old glossaries will have to do without updated copies of the Windows and Office glossaries at the very moment when new and much updated copies of both are on the point of being released.

So no Windows Vista glossary, unless, as I believe, specific terminology information is going to be provided to the companies engaged in the localization of the newer Microsoft products. Even so, translators who would have relied on the updated Microsoft terminology to translate other software products will have to make do without.


  1. Thank you for raising a very valid concern about the difficulty that the localization community are experiencing in finding terminology for Windows Vista. Several of our clients are currently having us localize manuals for their own software or hardware products which include English-language screenshots of Vista installations, and using the correct local-language versions of the software strings is crucial.

  2. A further update, Riccardo: My company has an MSDN subscription, so I have been able to access the Microsoft Glossaries in their new "MSDN subscribers only" location. Alas, looking at the file dates, most of them were last updated in 2004. So no Vista terminology. And this also short-changes me on my MSDN subscription -- I am happy to pay for an MSDN subscription, but I would like to think it would give me access to current information.

  3. At the moment, I've found a workaround for MSDN subscription deprived people: download the WinLexic application ( and use it to download the glossaries. When the download is complete, you can right-click the downloaded file and paste it somewhere in the file system. And save it for future use, obviously, since this avenue might be closed at some point.

  4. March 2007 update: Microsoft have now released updated versions of the full Microsoft Translation Glossaries (to give them their new name) on the Microsoft Developer Network for MSDN subscribers. These new versions dated late Feb 2007 and early March 2007 (depending on the language) do contain the user interface terminology for Microsoft Vista.


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