Terminology management systems were among the first commercially available translation tools, at least in the PC world, and for this reason there is a larger variety available in this category than in other categories of translation tools.
A terminology management package will typically consist of a terminology database (termbase) and lookup software which allows users to consult the one or more termbases from within a word processing program. Certain packages consolidate both term-entry and term lookup in one program; others separate these functions. This is because an independent translator might want to compile termbases on-the-fly, while a central terminologist may prefer to distribute read-only termbases.
The file format structure employed in termbases is the subject of an ongoing debate in the terminology world. Many of the early packages adopted a strategy that can best be described as structured text file, while newer packages opt for a true relational model. In any event, today's term packages offer many of the facilities of a standard database system, such as security, validation, and even relational integrity.
A term package may also include external utilities for maintaining termbases, such as merging and reversing them, and for printing reports. Other utilities may include automatic term extraction from existing texts.
Several vendors also sell terminology lists in the given format of a term package.