Glossaries glorious Glossaries !
(Say it five times quickly!)
So, for years I have been translating academic transcripts and I've come across all sorts of terms and abbreviations that require net-sleuthing and researching. And what happens? You got it, I forget to write it in my glossary. Damn! Then six months later, 2 years later... I know that I've translated that term before, what the heck was it?
For a freelance translator working on their own, with no translation software, that's a disaster. And part of the disaster is that clients just don't understand the translation process. When they have a certain expectation about how much a job is worth, they neither factor in the time it takes to do research on abbreviations or education system-specific terms, nor do they figure in the time it takes us to format tables and triple-check their marks. I once received a quote request for 8 pages of university transcripts with the email ending on the note "it's just 2,000 words", as if the time it takes to translate 2,000 words of a reference letter, say, was anything at all comparable to an academic transcript! I did not win that quote, but I wonder if the translator who did, then had to work the next three days for $10 an hour.
Therefore, it's in a translator's best interest to keep a list of theme- or industry-specific terminology so that they don't have to waste precious time looking up words and abbreviations again and again.
Here is a link to my French / English Education Glossary, a work in progress, for my fellow translators.