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May 15

Translation Terminology Management – Can I get an Amen?

Your translation will never be good (read why here: http://www.languageintelligence.com/blog/post/get-translation-right/)  until you embrace the concept of terminology management. I’m sorry to say that this is true. I would love to be able to tell you that there is a translator out there that went to translation school four years, plus subsequent post-grad work, to study how to translate manuals for Rube Goldberg machines into Swahili. I could tell you that, but I would be lying. And anyone else that tells you that would be lying also.

So how do I get my Rube Goldberg manuals translated into Swahili?

Even though I can’t find you a Swahili translator that specializes in Rube Goldberg operator guide translations, I can find you an excellent Swahili translator that specializes in translating for the manufacturing vertical. The next step is for that linguist to go through your operator guides and identify key terms. Key terms are the words that are unique to your industry, your product, and potentially even your company. The key terms are the meat and potatoes of your content.

I’ve got the meat and potatoes, what’s next?

Once the key terms are identified, the linguist will then translate those terms into the target language. This is where you come in. You take the translated list of terms. Usually this is in an Excel spreadsheet, no need to get complicated. You then pass the list along to your Swahili-speaking engineer, salesperson, or marketing manager (if you’re translating into Swahili you probably have someone on the ground in Africa). Your colleague will look over the proposed translations for the key terms, apply their own intimate knowledge of how they normally say things, and then bless the newly created termbase, amen!

Let’s bring it home…

What we have now is a professional Swahili translator that is armed with your key terms, translated exactly the way you want them translated, that they can then apply to your translation projects. The final output is a translation that reads as if you had a translator work on it who has spent a lifetime dedicated to translating Swahili Rube Goldberg Operator Guides!

Is it really that easy?

Honestly, no. But it is an excellent first step in translation quality management, and it will get you lightyears ahead of where you would be if you did not start to incorporate terminology management in some way into your translation process. If your translation vendor isn’t currently talking to you about the importance of terminology management then give us a call and we’ll be happy to walk you through it! :)

Rick White

Rick’s sixteen year tenure with Language Intelligence has allowed him to participate in many different aspects of the localization process. Rick’s time spent in the DTP team, as a Localization Project Manager, and as a Key Account Manager, have created an excellent base of experience for his current role directing the Client Services function. By combining this experience with his creative ability and strong communication skills, along with the insight he has gained into our clients industries, Rick is able to produce solutions that are a perfect fit for each of our client’s specific needs. Rick has a BA from SUNY Fredonia and has studied German.

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