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The ISI Multilingual Glossary of Statistical Terms, simply known as ‘the Glossary’, translates more than 3,500 statistical terms into 31 languages.

We did our best to include the terms correctly. Should you find any incorrections, please contact the ISI and send us your comments.

Printed predecessors

Given the ISI’s international scope, the need for an affordable multilingual glossary of statistical terms was recognised. This tradition can be traced back to ISI’s publication the Dictionary of Statistical Terms, edited by M.G. Kendall and W.R. Buckland since 1957, published in co-operation with Oliver & Boyd Publishers. After several editions, this effort was successfully continued by F.H.C. Marriott. The fifth edition was published in 1990. Yadolah Dodge edited the sixth edition with the title The Oxford Dictionary of Statistical Terms 2003, and it contained some 3,500 terms.

Other dictionaries

Dictionaries of statistical terms already exist in many languages. However, most of them only have translations to and from English. For certain specialised fields in statistics, dictionaries with more than two languages also exist. The excellent work by Rasch et al (1994) gives terms from Biometry in 6 languages. Unfortunately, such books are rather costly and therefore hardly affordable to individual statisticians. Especially scientists from the developing countries are prohibited from spending the large sums required to acquire such books, however useful they may be.


ISI has set the goal of further emphasising its strong commitment to the improvement of statistics and statistical sciences in developing countries. Therein the need for an affordable glossary has become more evident. The developments in computers and computer software have induced us to broaden our scope. The idea surfaced of compiling an electronic database from which several products could emerge. These products could range from simple printed glossaries with a limited set of terms in just a few languages to CD-ROM based programmes for the complete set in many languages. Also, web-based products have been realised.

Mr. Johan Dragt of the ISI Senior Executive Corps volunteered as Project Leader and has, since 1993, compiled a large amount of information in more than 25 languages for the Project. For this online beta version 21 languages are available. He has constructed a database that contains over 3,500 statistical terms.

The present version of the ISI Multilingual Glossary of Statistical Terms is a continuation of the Internet usage and is intended to demonstrate the versatility of the information gathered, as well as providing a means for correcting and expanding the translations provided here with the help of the users of the Glossary.


Work on the database itself is continuing: specialists from several countries are being consulted for checking the translations. Without aiming for completeness, we want to mention the valuable services rendered by Robin Ellison (London, U.K.), Antonio Giusti (Pontelungo, Italy), L.H. Erhard Hruschka (Hamburg, Germany), René Padieu (Paris, France), Jelke Bethlehem, and Gerrit Stemerdink (The Hague, The Netherlands).

The ISI eagerly welcomes further co-operation on this Project:

  • in adding new languages,
  • and in receiving corrections or additions from the users.

We express the hope that this ISI Multilingual Glossary of Statistical Terms will be useful for the statistical community.