Published Jul 7, 2024 ⦁ 10 min read
Custom Dictionary & Terminology Management for Academic Writing

Custom Dictionary & Terminology Management for Academic Writing

This guide covers:

  • Setting up custom dictionaries in writing software
  • Managing specialized terminology for academic writing
  • Integrating custom dictionaries and terminology databases

Key benefits:

  • Fewer spelling errors
  • Consistent use of field-specific terms
  • Improved writing quality and clarity

Quick setup:

  1. Choose writing software (e.g. Microsoft Word, Grammarly)
  2. Create a custom dictionary
  3. Add field-specific terms and acronyms
  4. Organize terms by topic/category
  5. Use consistently across all writing
Feature Custom Dictionary Terminology Management
Purpose Spell-check specialized terms Organize and define key terms
Setup Built into writing software Separate database tool
Contents Word list Definitions, usage notes, examples
Best for Avoiding false spelling errors Maintaining consistency

Follow this guide to streamline your academic writing process and produce higher quality work with proper terminology use.

2. Custom Dictionaries Explained

2.1 What Makes a Dictionary 'Custom'

A custom dictionary is a list of words you add to your writing software. These words are often:

  • Not in the default dictionary
  • Specific to your field of study or work

By adding these words, your software will recognize them and won't mark them as mistakes.

2.2 How Custom Dictionaries Help Academic Writing

Custom dictionaries are useful in academic writing. Here's how they can help:

Benefit Description
Fewer spelling errors Your software recognizes field-specific terms
Better workflow Less time spent checking for false spelling errors
Higher quality writing Consistent use of specialized terms
Term consistency Same spelling used throughout your work

Example: If you're writing about a medical condition, you can add terms like:

  • Medical abbreviations
  • Disease names
  • Treatment options

This helps you avoid errors and keep your writing accurate and consistent.

3. How to Set Up Your Custom Dictionary

3.1 Picking the Right Software

To set up a custom dictionary, first choose a tool that meets your needs. Common options include:

Software Key Features
Microsoft Word Built-in spell-check, grammar correction
Grammarly Advanced grammar and style suggestions
Trinka Academic writing focus

When choosing, think about:

  • Does it work with your computer?
  • Does it have the features you need?
  • Is it easy to use?

3.2 Setting Up in Microsoft Word

To create a custom dictionary in Microsoft Word:

1. Go to File > Options > Proofing

2. Click Custom Dictionaries

3. Click New

4. Name your dictionary and save it

5. To add words:

  • Go to Review > Editor > Custom Dictionaries
  • Pick your dictionary
  • Click Edit Word List
  • Type a word and click Add

3.3 Setting Up in Other Writing Tools

For Grammarly and Trinka:

Tool Steps
Grammarly 1. Open Grammarly Editor
2. Go to Settings
3. Click Custom Dictionary
4. Create a new dictionary
Trinka 1. Open Trinka Editor
2. Go to Tools
3. Click Custom Dictionary
4. Create a new dictionary

Follow the on-screen steps to finish setting up your custom dictionary in these tools.

4. Adding Words to Your Custom Dictionary

This section covers how to add and organize terms in your custom dictionary effectively.

4.1 Picking Important Words and Phrases

When adding words to your custom dictionary, focus on:

  • Words you use often
  • Words specific to your field
  • Common abbreviations and acronyms

This helps your writing tool recognize the right words for your work.

4.2 Adding Many Words at Once

Save time by adding multiple words together:

Method How to do it
Edit dictionary file Open the file in a text editor and add words
Use "Add to Dictionary" Select multiple words and add them at once

4.3 Grouping Words by Type

Organize your words to find them easily:

Group by Examples
Topic Medical terms, legal terms
Word type Nouns, verbs, adjectives
Alphabet A-Z sections

Grouping helps you manage your custom dictionary better.

5. Basics of Terminology Management

5.1 What Is Terminology Management?

Terminology management is about handling specific words and phrases in a structured way. It involves:

  • Finding important terms
  • Storing them in one place
  • Managing how they're used

This process helps keep language consistent, especially when translating. It often includes building a word list with:

  • Preferred translations
  • Key information about each term
Term Information Examples
Images Visual representations
Notes Usage guidelines
Definitions Clear explanations
Examples Context of use

5.2 Core Principles for Managing Terminology

Good terminology management follows these main ideas:

  1. Clear Rules: Set up guidelines for using terms correctly.

  2. Consistency: Use the same terms across all projects.

  3. Time-Saving: Make it easy to check and use terms correctly.

  4. Central Management: Keep all term information in one place.

Principle Benefit
Clear Rules Correct term use
Consistency Matches client preferences
Time-Saving Quick term checks
Central Management Easy updates and access

6. Building a Terminology Database

6.1 Choosing the Right Tools

When making a terminology database, pick tools that fit your needs. Look for software that can:

  • Handle many languages
  • Let you add and find terms easily
  • Have fields you can change

Some common tools are:

Tool Features
SDL MultiTerm Good for big teams
MemoQ Works well with translation
TermWiki Easy to use online

Think about your money, team size, and how complex your terms are when picking a tool.

6.2 Organizing Your Database

A well-organized database helps you manage terms better. Set up a clear process for:

  • Making new terms
  • Checking terms
  • Keeping terms up-to-date

Make sure everyone knows their job in this process. This includes experts, translators, and reviewers.

Arrange your terms so they're easy to find. You can sort them:

  • A to Z
  • By topic
  • By subject

6.3 Adding Details to Each Term

For each term, include:

Detail Why It's Useful
Definition Explains what the term means
Context Shows how to use the term
Notes Gives extra info about the term
Examples Shows the term in use

You can also add pictures to help explain terms.


7. Tips for Good Terminology Management

Here are some tips to help you manage your terms well:

7.1 Using Terms the Same Way Every Time

Using terms the same way in all your writing helps avoid mix-ups. Here's how to do it:

Tip How to Do It
Make rules Write down how to use each term
Check often Look at your terms to make sure you're using them right
Train your team Teach everyone how to use the terms

7.2 Keeping Your Word List Up-to-Date

Your word list needs to stay fresh. Here's how:

Task When to Do It
Add new words When you find new terms in your field
Remove old words When terms are no longer used
Update meanings When definitions change

Set a time each month to look at your word list and make changes.

7.3 Working with Others

Managing terms works best when you work with others. Try these ideas:

Who to Work With What They Can Do
Experts in your field Help choose the right words
Writers and editors Make sure terms are used correctly
Team members Share ideas about which terms to use

Use tools that let everyone see and comment on the terms. This helps catch mistakes and makes the work go faster.

8. Combining Custom Dictionaries and Terminology Management

This section looks at how to use custom dictionaries and terminology management together in academic writing.

8.1 Matching Dictionaries with Databases

To make your custom dictionary work well with your terminology database:

Step What to Do
1 Make a new custom dictionary for each writing project
2 Group terms in your database by topic
3 Use labels to sort and find terms easily

These steps help keep your dictionary and database working together, making it easier to manage terms across different writing tools.

8.2 Keeping Terms the Same Across Tools

To use the same terms in all your writing tools:

  • Use an online system that works on any device
  • Group terms by topic in all your tools
  • Name terms the same way in every tool you use

9. Fixing Common Problems

When managing custom dictionaries and terminology, you might face some issues that can slow down your writing. Here's how to solve these problems and make your work easier.

9.1 Handling Words That Mean the Same Thing

Sometimes, you'll have words that mean the same thing but are used differently. Here's what to do:

Step Action
1 Find words that mean the same thing
2 Check how each word is used
3 Pick one word and use it all the time

This helps keep your writing clear and stops mistakes.

9.2 Dealing with Words That Have Many Meanings

Some words can mean different things. To use these words well:

Tip How to Do It
Use context Show how the word is being used
Give definitions Explain what the word means in your writing
Use other words Pick words that make the meaning clear

These steps help readers understand what you mean.

9.3 Using Short Forms of Words

Short forms of words (like FBI for Federal Bureau of Investigation) can be helpful, but they can also be confusing. Here's how to use them:

Rule Example
Explain the short form when you first use it The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)
Use the same short form throughout your writing Always use "FBI" after explaining it
Make a list of short forms Put all short forms and their meanings in one place

10. Advanced Methods

10.1 Using Regex for Complex Terms

Regular expressions (regex) can help manage complex term patterns in your custom dictionary and terminology database. Regex lets you find and handle tricky word patterns, which saves time and keeps your terms consistent.

Here's how regex can help:

  • Find terms with specific beginnings or endings
  • Spot terms with certain letters or patterns
  • Automate finding and managing complex terms

Example of using regex to find terms starting with "anti-":

Regex Pattern What It Finds
\b(anti-)\w+\b Words like "anti-inflammatory"

This pattern looks for:

  • Words starting with "anti-"
  • Followed by one or more letters
  • As whole words only

10.2 Automatically Finding New Terms

You can use tools to find new terms from your existing documents. This helps keep your custom dictionary up-to-date.

Ways to find new terms automatically:

Method How It Works
Field-specific term finder Uses AI to spot terms in your area of work
Term extraction from text sets Looks through lots of text to find relevant terms
Machine learning term finder Uses smart computer programs to spot new terms in big sets of data

These methods can help you:

  • Keep your dictionary current
  • Find new terms you might miss
  • Save time compared to manual searching

11. Wrap-Up

You've finished this guide on custom dictionaries and terminology management for academic writing. Let's review what you've learned:

Key Points

Topic What You Learned
Custom Dictionaries How to set up and use them
Terminology Management Ways to organize and use terms
Integration How to use these tools in your writing

Main Benefits

Using custom dictionaries and managing your terms can help you:

  • Write more accurately
  • Make fewer mistakes
  • Work faster
  • Work better with others

Tips for Success

  • Try different tools to find what works for you
  • Keep your terms organized
  • Use the same terms all the time
  • Update your dictionary and term list often

Next Steps

As you start using these tools:

  • Practice using them in your writing
  • Ask for feedback from others
  • Keep learning about new ways to manage your terms


How to use a dictionary for academic writing?

Using a dictionary for academic writing helps you use the right words for your field. Here's how to do it:

  1. Find important words in your field
  2. Add these words to your custom dictionary
  3. Include meanings and examples for each word
  4. Check your dictionary when you write to use words correctly

This helps you write better and avoid mistakes.

How do I add a custom dictionary in word?

To add a custom dictionary in Microsoft Word:

Step Action
1 Click File > Options > Proofing
2 Click Custom Dictionaries
3 Click Add
4 Find and double-click the dictionary file you want to add

You can also add words to your dictionary as you write:

  1. Right-click on a word
  2. Choose Add to Dictionary

This way, Word will know these words are correct when you use them.

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