The quick way to convert glossaries and termbases between Excel and MultiTerm

October 17, 2012 by

The quick way to convert glossaries and termbases between Excel and MultiTermToday I tried the Glossary Converter app, which is a free tool from the SDL OpenExchange to convert glossaries and termbases between Excel and MultiTerm. I found it amazingly quick and simple to use.

I’m used to slogging through the lengthy process to create a termbase in MultiTerm and import a bilingual Excel glossary, so that I can use it for translation in Trados Studio. It’s not very pleasant but there was never any alternative. But now, at least for basic glossaries, those days are over – the new app makes the process super-quick and easy.

Glossary Converter for Excel and MultitermYou can use the Glossary Converter to convert from Excel to MultiTerm or from MultiTerm to Excel format. It comes with documentation so there’s no mystery about how to use it, and it really couldn’t be simpler.

The only catch is that you need to have MultiTerm 2011 and Microsoft Excel installed in order to use the app.

Glossary Converter for Excel and MultitermTo convert between formats, all you do is drag the Excel glossary or MultiTerm file onto the desktop icon. The app then converts the file into MultiTerm or Excel format, and saves the output file(s) in the same folder as the original.

The previous version of the app couldn’t handle synonyms, but the current one can. There’s more information about how the Glossary Converter works in the documentation.

My guess is that this will be a very popular app. I have a few clients who send me Excel glossaries to use in my translations, so this app will definitely make the translation workflow easier.

By Jayne Fox BSc MITI, German-English translator.
For German-English medical translation – and translation of corporate communications.

Photo: via

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About the author: Jayne Fox is a German-English translator specialising in corporate communications for sci-tech and health care. She works with German and Swiss organisations to help them communicate effectively with international audiences.

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  1. Krisztina Sugar

    Thanks, it is a great help! And it does work easily and fast.

  2. Eleanor Goldsmith

    This was a great help, Jayne - thanks for highlighting it. It didn't seem to convert the Japanese side of the glossary, unfortunately (not sure if that's user error or the software disliking non-Roman-based writing systems), but at least I have a list in chronological order of which terms I added to the termbase, which is half the battle.

    • Eleanor Goldsmith

      Double-checked OpenExchange and I see that Japanese isn't supported. Nevertheless, as I said, it's definitely worth having!

      • Jayne Fox

        That's interesting, thanks for letting me know. Glad to hear that it's been useful for you anyway.

  3. Dina Begum

    Thank you! I've been trying to convert my Excel glossary, about to give up and started inputting one by one to MultiTerm. Luckily I search some more and found this.

    • Jayne Fox

      Glad it was helpful, thanks for the feedback!

  4. Alessandra Martelli

    Thank you very much, Jayne. I was stuck on a glossary conversion last week but came to your blog and found out a nice and simple solution to the issue!

    Have a great week!

    • Jayne Fox

      Glad to hear it was helpful, Alessandra!

  5. Jayne Fox

    Here's more useful info on the Glossary Converter:

  6. Ben Erickson

    Thanks for another great article. Very I don't need to use your other wonderful article (creating a termbase in MultiTerm). Keep them coming!

  7. Els Govaerts

    Very helpful, Jane. Thanks for the clear description!

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German-to-English translator specialising in medical and technical translation and corporate communications
Welcome to my blog, Between Translations! I'm Jayne Fox, German-English translator specialising in sci-tech, health care & corporate communications.
I work with clients from around the world. From my location in New Zealand, I translate overnight for European customers.
See my websites for more information.
Sci-tech translation and corporate comms:
Medical translation:
Email: jayne(at)