The importance of having a good terminology management system
Terminology management in the past seemed to be the prerogative for businesses having a highly specialised jargon, but today, the truth is that having a good terminology management system can help organizations outperform their competitors, position themselves in the global market and have their brand shine. If you are still sceptical about the benefits of terminology management for companies looking for a spotless internationalisation, this blog post is for you.
Companies that wish to have an international online and offline presence and want to market their product in today’s global market have already realised the potential of translating their texts and content in a professional way. Some of them rely on translation and localisation experts who can help them reach their global targets, while others utilise in-house translation experts. What cannot be disregarded as part of their effective translation and localisation strategy is the implementation of a terminology management system.
When talking about terminology, translation experts have been referring throughout the years to an index of special terms used in a particular discipline, subject field or domain activity, though today every company or brand might potentially have developed their own corporate terminology. Company-specific terminology does not only include preferred terms, but also specific jargon that has been created by the business itself, including items that instantly communicate their values and beliefs, such as product names and slogans but also terms that might be used with a particular, unusual, corporate-specific spelling, to mention just a few examples (Nimdzi Insights, in the publication “Terminology Management Systems Comparison” quotes “share new product and feature names” as one of the top 3 reasons businesses should invest in terminology management). With the increasing importance that online content has gained in recent years, companies might also have different preferences for their websites in keeping with the demands of their SEO strategy (and might differ from what is used offline).
If we keep in mind the peculiar nature that terminology has acquired today, we can definitely claim that it has now become necessary to have a terminology management strategy in order to make sure that terms find an appropriate translation in the specific sector, context or media where they are used and for a successful internationalisation.
Terminology management starts with the identification of such terms in specific textual sources (with processes such as term extraction) in order to organise them into glossaries, which are collections of terms in an arrangement similar to dictionaries. For every term, glossaries propose a word definition, a context of use for that term and a translation. Glossaries with definitions of terms are then later validated, made available for the experts taking care of the translation/content/technical writing work thanks to the different terminology management software tools available today and finally updated or reviewed on a regular basis.
It is clear that terminology management is not a one-off task and requires the mutual collaboration of different departments within the same company—for those who aim at creating their own terminology management strategy and translate content internally and of a strong customer-LSP dialogue, for those who opt for outsourcing translations to a reliable provider. These aspects, together with the extremely specific terminology some business sectors or enterprises have, often put them off when it comes to establishing a terminology management strategy or working with an LSP. But if you actually start looking into creating a sound terminology management system or have a reliable partner doing that for you, you can only gain benefits and even some ROI out of it—if you read through the next lines you will learn how.
#1 – Terminology management helps you optimise your company’s procedures.
Looking a little beyond managing terminology merely as a solution to help the language of your business be consistent and standardized (which is of course invaluable in itself): if you implement a terminology management process, it will not only impact on the language with which your company communicates, having a sound terminology management system will standardise the knowledge shared in your branches and subsidiaries. The glossaries and content created for that purpose can be used in employee induction as a reference source for the creation of material to assist your new hires and staff to get up to speed and stay informed of any rebranding or needed changes in the tone of voice to be used with your public. According to research by Acrolinx shared by Nimdzi Insights, “while many content teams do a pretty good job managing their terminology with their own department, they struggle to manage terminology on an enterprise-wide scale”, Nimdzi further adds “Departments are using different terms, causing confusing and consistency challenges”. Here is how terminology management can help.
#2 – Terminology management reduces the risk of errors.
If you go through a process establishing how terminology has to be translated and in what context, the risk for your internal or external translators, content managers or technical writers to incur errors and inconsistencies within the same text or through different texts and projects in time is potentially eliminated. This is particularly important for technical texts, but also where branded content and company-specific jargon play a great role.
#3 – Terminology management enhances your SEO efforts.
Writing (and translating) technical documentation, marketing collateral and writing for the web are not the same thing. If all these types of texts have to be spotless and sound natural in their target language, marketing offline material and website content also need to be appealing to your potential customers. Moreover, online web content has specific requisites that need to be fulfilled in order to engage with the highest number of online visitors possible: following your keyword strategy (and managing keywords as terminology) is vital to your website ranking highly among all the available results of a relevant search engine query.
#4 – Terminology management improves productivity on different levels.
If you have a terminology management system in place, you can make the life of your resources easier, be they translators or content writers, in-house or outsourced. Having a shared and approved glossary of terms significantly reduces the time they need dedicate to research before translating or creating content, allowing them to devote more time to their final review and reach top quality in an easier, quicker way. Accelerating the translation and content creation process while maintaining quality and consistency will definitely be a plus if you want to reach your target markets as soon as possible with a stronger brand. In this infographic we go through the process we follow when we create a terminology management system for our customers and its benefits, a real win-win for every stakeholder involved in the process:
#5 – Terminology management boosts the image of your company.
If you have standardized translations for your terminology, the image of your company will be one of a professional and well-organised partner, the type of business anyone would like to receive support from or trade with. If your internal processes for terminology come from the same seed, your internal and external resources will surely appreciate working with a company like yours, and your employee retention and global business will automatically improve.
#6 – Terminology management means staying up-to-date with the latest standardisation requirements.
If you are familiar with standardisation and certifications, you will most likely be aware that terminology is one of the fundamentals of the ISO 17100:2015, quality standard especially developed for translation services providers, where it is defined as an added value and as something translators should pay attention to (the Standard in question emphasise “compliance with specific domain and client terminology” and “terminology consistency throughout the whole translation”). If you choose an LSP as you want to outsource translations or the management of your terminology, make sure your partner is certified.
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