Converting bilingual Excel file into Multiterm termbase

Working with bilingual glossaries in Microsoft Excel is not convenient, especially when working with large files. Imagine having a large UI terminology file with hundreds of items that you have to search through. This can be pretty annoying. Another advantage of using MultiTerm is consistency. This article provides a simple way to create a MultiTerm termbase.


  • Microsoft Excel
  • SDL MultiTerm Convert
  • SDL MultiTerm Desktop

Let’s start with the Excel file. Arrange the source file so that it has two columns only, where column A contains source terms and column B target translations. Do not forget to include the column headers; we will need them while converting the XLS into a termbase. We now have Excel worksheet with two columns and headers:

Save and close the Excel worksheet you have just created.

Run SDL Multiterm Convert. In the first window, click Next. Select the “New conversion session” radio button and click Next. In window 3/7, select the “Microsoft Excel format” radio button in the “Available conversion options” box and click Next. Select the Input file and leave other fields unchanged. Click Next.

Now we have to specify the column headers. Click the first item in the “Available column header fields” box (in our case EN), select the “Index field” radio button, and choose the source language in the drop-down window. Click the second field in the “Available column header fields” box (in our case CS), select the “Index field” radio button, and choose the source language in the drop-down window. Click Next.

In the next window, click Next and do the same in window 7/9. The wizard will convert the items. Click Next and Finish. We are now finished with the conversion.

The next step is importing the termbase definition and terms into a MultiTerm termbase.

Run SDL MultiTerm Desktop. Select Termbase and Create Termbase. In the “Save New Termbase” select location of your new termbase, enter its file name, and click Save. A”Termbase Wizard” will open. Click Next. In the “Step 1 of 5” window, click the “Load an existing termbase definition file” radio button, click Browse, and select the definition file you have previously created using the termbase conversion wizard. This is a file with XDT extension. Click Open and Next.

In the Step 2 of 5” window, enter the termbase name into the “Friendly Name” field and click Next. In next three windows, just click Next, and finish the process by clicking the “Finish” button in the last window. Our termbase is now created, but it still does not contain the data.

Click the “Catalog” tab. In the “Catalog” pane, right click the Import item in the tree of the termbase you have created.

Select “Process” in the menu. Click “Browse“, locate the data file (it has an XML extension and you will find it in the same folder as your source Excel file and termbase definition file), click the file name and select “Open“. Select the “Fast import (import file is fully compliant with MultiTerm XML)” check box and click Next. Click Next and the wizard will process the data. Please note that large termbases will need some time for processing. Click Next and Finish. Your termbase is now loaded with data and ready for use. You should now see individual terms in the SDL Multiterm Desktop window.

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8 Responses to Converting bilingual Excel file into Multiterm termbase

  1. Tess Whitty says:

    Thank you! I have been looking for an easy way to do this for a long time. You have saved me many hours of research and you provided a very easy to follow explanation.

  2. Trang (Vietnam) says:


    Your article is very useful. Thanks a lot for your sharing.

  3. Thanks for this useful guidance. This works beautifully. 🙂

  4. Mihai says:

    A big THANKS from Romania as well!

  5. Anna says:

    You can also use the SDL OE app called Glossary Converter, all you do is drop the Excel file on the icon on the desktop! The current version also recognized other fields (not just the two language fields). Saves you even more time 🙂

  6. Parmesh says:

    Dear Tess many thanks for this compact, practical and terrific info!

    Three cheers from India as well.

  7. Ana says:

    Thank you so much for this information! It took me 3 minutes to the whole process! 🙂

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