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Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in Government Departments

Explanatory Notes

  • Background

    The Glossary of Terms Commonly Used in Government Departments is developed by the Official Languages Division of the Civil Service Bureau. With some 115 000 terms in 23 categories, each covering a specific subject, the glossary serves as a general reference to facilitate translation and drafting.

  • How to Use

    Simple Search

    To conduct a simple search, just enter a keyword or phrase (either in English or Chinese) in the search box on the left, select the categories to be searched (or select all categories) and then press the "Search" button.

    To clear the words/phrases entered and/or the categories chosen, press the "Reset" button. 

    Search Results

    You may choose to display the search results either in "alphabetical order of the English terms" or "alphabetical order of the categories". If the search results are displayed on more than one page, the total number of records found and the page numbers will be shown both at the top and the bottom of the search results. By selecting the page number, you can browse the search results page by page.

    To conduct another search, simply return to the search page by clicking "Back to search page" and follow the above-mentioned steps.

    Advanced Search

    To conduct an advanced search, you may input one or more keywords or phrases (either in English or Chinese) in the two search boxes provided and select the "AND" or "OR" option to specify the search criteria. You may also narrow down the scope of search by choosing the "Case Sensitive" and/or "Exact Word Match" option (both applicable to English terms only). Having specified the search criteria, you can select the categories to be searched and press the "Search" button to start searching.

    To clear the words/phrases entered and the categories/search options chosen, press the "Reset" button.

  • Use of Punctuation Marks

    1. Semicolon
    A semicolon is used to separate two or more Chinese equivalents of the same English term, e.g.

    capital market            資本市場;資金市場
    2. Square Brackets
    Square brackets are used to enclose extra information of a term, e.g.

    Chinese Working Group [Language Fund]            


    They are also used to enclose the full or abbreviated form of a term, e.g.

    University Grants Committee [UGC] 大學教育資助委員會〔教資會〕
    3. Parentheses
    Words in parentheses are an integral part of a term, e.g.

    prepared (standard) sterile dressing            經消毒(標準)敷料
    4. Slash
    A slash in a term is an integral part of it, e.g.

    commercial/residential use            商業/住宅混合用途
    5. Quotation Marks
    Terms that are used in special context only or are actually colloquial Chinese are placed in quotation marks, e.g.

    "fung shui" area            風水區

  • Updating

    The Official Languages Division of the Civil Service Bureau will regularly update the glossary published and compile new categories.

Comments and suggestions are welcome (E-mail address:

Last Revision Date : 22 June 2018

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