The importance of a good terminology management system
In the past, terminology management seemed to be mainly aimed at businesses with highly specialized jargon. Today, however, the truth is that having a good terminology management system can help any organization outperform their competitors, position themselves in the global market, and let their brand shine. If you are still skeptical about the benefits of terminology management for companies seeking flawless internationalization, 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 understood the potential of translating their texts and content in a professional way. Some of them rely on translation and localization experts who can help them reach their global targets, while others utilize in-house translation experts. Either way, there is no disguising the fact that an effective translation and localization strategy calls for the implementation of a terminology management system.
In the past, when talking about terminology, translation experts have generally been referring to an index of special terms used in a particular discipline, subject area, or domain. These days, however, individual companies and brands are just as likely to have developed their own corporate terminology. Company-specific terminology does not just include preferred terms; it can also be specific jargon that has been created by the business itself, including words that immediately communicate their values and beliefs, such as product names and slogans. Company-specific terminology may even encompass particular and unusual, corporate-specific spellings. In the publication, “Terminology Management Systems Comparison,” Nimdzi Insights cites “share new product and feature names” as one of the top three reasons businesses should invest in terminology management. As the importance of online content has increased in recent years, companies might also have different preferences for their websites in keeping with the demands of their SEO strategy (which may differ from what is used offline).
Given the complex and varied nature of terminology today, a terminology management strategy is necessary in order to ensure that an appropriate translation is found for any given term in the specific sector, context, or media where they are used and to ensure the successful internationalization of content.
Terminology management starts with identifying these kinds of terms in specific textual sources (by using processes such as term extraction). Once identified, the terms can then be organized into glossaries, which are similar to dictionaries. A glossary can propose a definition, a context for use, and a translation for every term. The glossary owner will then validate the definitions of the terms, so that they can be made available to the specialists working on translation/content/technical writing. There is a wide variety of terminology management software tools for doing this, and they allow glossaries to be updated or reviewed on a regular basis.
It is clear that terminology management is not a one-shot task and requires the mutual collaboration of different departments within the same company (DTE/Production/Sales). This is true whether the aim is to create an internal terminology management strategy and translate content internally or, for those who opt to outsource translations to a reliable provider, to establish a strong customer-LSP dialogue. All these considerations, combined with the extremely specific terminology of some business sectors or enterprises, can be daunting and disconcerting, whether you want to establish your own terminology management strategy or work with an LSP. But, if you actually start looking into creating a sound terminology management system, or getting a reliable partner to do it for you, you will only see benefits and even increase your ROI – read on to learn more.
#1 – Terminology management helps optimize your procedures.
Terminology management is not merely a solution to help ensure that you use consistent and standardized language throughout your business (which is of course invaluable in itself). If you implement a terminology management process, not only will it shape the language your company uses to communicate, but having a sound terminology management system will also standardize the knowledge shared in your branches and subsidiaries. Glossaries and content created for that purpose can be used as part of the employee induction process. You can use them as a reference source when creating materials to help your new recruits and employees get up to speed and stay informed of any rebranding or changes in the tone of voice you use to address your audiences. According to research by Acrolinx, and 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 confusion and consistency challenges.” Here is how terminology management can help.
#2 – Terminology management reduces the risk of errors.
Going through a process to establish how terminology should be translated, and in what context, reduces (or even eliminates) the risk that your internal or external translators, content managers or technical writers will generate errors or inconsistencies in a given text or across different texts and projects over time. This is particularly important for technical texts, but also where branded content and company-specific jargon play a significant role.
#3 – Terminology management enhances your SEO efforts.
Writing (and translating) technical documentation and marketing collateral and writing for the web are not the same thing. If all these types of text need to be flawless and sound natural in the target language, offline marketing material and website content also need to appeal to your potential customers. Moreover, there are specific requirements for online web content that need to be fulfilled in order to engage with the highest possible number of online visitors: following your keyword strategy (and managing keywords as terminology) is vital for your website to rank highly in the results produced by relevant search engine queries.
#4 – Terminology management improves productivity at several levels.
If you have a terminology management system in place, you can make life easier for your resources, be they translators or content writers, in-house or outsourced. Having a shared and approved glossary of terms significantly reduces the time they need to dedicate to research before translating or creating content, allowing them to devote more time to their final review and achieve maximum quality more quickly and easily. Accelerating the translation and content creation process, while maintaining quality and consistency, is a definite advantage if you want to strengthen your brand and reach your target markets quickly. This infographic shows the process we follow when creating a terminology management system for our customers. It also illustrates the benefits, representing 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, you will create a professional and organized image for your company – the type of business anyone would choose to consult or do business with. If your internal processes for terminology come from the same source, your internal and external resources will really 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 standardization requirements.
If you are familiar with standardization and certification, you are probably aware that terminology is one of the fundamentals of ISO 17100:2015, a quality standard developed specially for translation services providers. It describes standardization as a form of added value, and something translators should pay attention to (the standard in question emphasizes “compliance with specific domain and client terminology” and “terminology consistency throughout the whole translation”). If you choose an LSP because you want to outsource translations or the management of your terminology, make sure your partner is certified.
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