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  • Writer's pictureRick White - Director of Client Services

Translation Terminology Management – What’s the Deal?

Terminology management, for good reason, has become a very hot topic in the localization industry. Let’s explore why…

What is terminology management?

Terminology management involves the identification of terms within a company’s content that are significant for a specific reason such as: branding, terms that are unique to your product or service and terms that simply need to be communicated consistently. Once you have identified that managing your company’s terminology is important, the next step is to develop a management strategy. Identify key terms, have appropriate stakeholders approve any definitions and translations, and provide a way to properly store the terms make them accessible to your content creators and translation partner.

Why is terminology management important for accurate translation?

Consistency in source content means consistency in translation. Consistency = time savings, cost savings and increased quality. When your content developers use the agreed-upon terminology, translators will be able to easily maintain consistency in their translations by using the same terminology list. Each English term will have a corresponding translated version, making it possible for translators to identify when to use these approved translations.

What are the benefits of an effective terminology management strategy?

  1. The quality of both the English source and the translated content is improved

  2. Effective terminology management ensures that your company’s brand is represented properly in your translated content

  3. Consistency across work groups responsible for content creation is improved (Technical publications / Marketing / Software development)

  4. Translation cost is reduced significantly through the identification of key terms and their corresponding foreign language equivalents

  5. Time-to-market of both English and translated content is expedited

  6. Review cycles, both source and translation, are cut down significantly because terminology is used consistently across all source content and their corresponding translations

What terms need to be managed?

  1. Technical terms

  2. Terms describing unique products or services

  3. Terms related to features that are unique to your product

  4. Product names

  5. Taglines

  6. Marketing concepts

  7. Unique phrasing

  8. Acronyms that are unique to your company’s products and services

  9. User Interface text

  10. Any text that should remain in English. Include all English-only terms in your term base.

Terminology Management and Translation Memory: Working hand in hand to save you time and money

Your translation company uses a tool called translation memory to store previously translated content, including phrases, sentences and boilerplate-type items. At the beginning of the translation process your new content is run through the translation memory software and it identifies and flags previously translated content so it doesn’t have to be redone. Your terminology management process insure that commonly used terms are used consistently. This, in turn, ensures that these terms are only translated once and then reused in later translations, saving you turnaround time and money.

Whether it’s through a manual extraction process, a content management system, or an off-the-shelf solution; the creation, implementation and management of a terminology database is highly valuable. The value lies in both cost reduction, especially during review phases and translation, and in development efficiency. Armed with some basic concepts of terminology management and glossary creation, your content owners can easily create and manage a term database that will become an essential tool in increasing the quality and value of your company’s information. Please share your terminology management successes with us!


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