The Importance of Terminology Management for Your Company and Customers
If you want to market our products or services in today’s global market, then you know how important it is to accurately translate your content for your international audience. When dealing with content in more than one language, translation can become difficult especially if your original texts contain jargon and industry- or company-specific terms. Here’s where terminology management comes in to save the day!
Terminology management is a powerful business tool that saves time, energy, and money, especially when used in conjunction with translation memories and CAT tools. It centrally stores and manages the words that show up regularly in your content, helping reduce the turnaround time of your translation and improve quality and consistency across languages. In this article, we’ll delve into terminology management, its importance for your business, and give you guidelines on selecting a terminology management system that is best for you.
What is Terminology Management?
Terminology management is the process of identifying, organizing and managing your company’s or customer’s terminology. By structuring and establishing your corporate key terms and phrases in glossaries – or termbases – every person working on your content can access the correct terminology.
Managing your terminology helps alleviate the hassle associated with jargon – whether specific to your industry, company, or customers. It also increases the overall efficiency of your translations, maintains consistency in your brand voice, and can save your business up to 20% in translation costs.
Who Can Benefit from Terminology Management?
In the past, terminology management seemed to be mainly aimed at companies with highly specialized jargon and technical material. Today, however, the truth is that having a good terminology management system can help any company outperform their competitors, position themselves in the global market, and let their brand shine. It has become a vital tool that enables your company to communicate effectively with an international audience.
… But Isn’t Using Spreadsheets Enough?
A study into how businesses conduct terminology management found that only 29% of businesses had in place a formal terminology management solution and of that 29%, the most common means for managing terminology in translation was through the use of Microsoft Excel.
However, while Excel and other spreadsheet tools may be sufficient for some small businesses with limited workloads, for companies with multiple languages and/or departments, employing a more robust terminology management practice is necessary to adequately reach a larger international customer or client base. Using spreadsheets often defeats the purpose of terminology management as a means to control and make concise the terminology used throughout your company. Since many people can have access to your spreadsheets, you can risk the following issues:
– Messy, over-edited, de-centralized databases
– Difficulty to track accountability and traceability
– Changes may be left unsaved by mistake ?
– Multiple copies can be created, resulting in confusion and miscommunication
6 Benefits of Terminology Management
If left unmanaged, terminology can become inconsistent, resulting in translations that contain conflicting definitions. Using a terminology management tool helps you:
1. Achieve Ultimate Consistency
The most obvious benefit is the consistency of terminology across translations into any given language. A carefully built and regularly updated termbase is an essential way to ensure that your business message will remain the same in different markets. Managing terminology standardizes the use of language across your departments and shapes the language and brand image of your company.
2. Increase Productivity
A company-approved, well-defined termbase will save the entire team involved in the translation process a lot of time. With many people often involved in the translation process – from translators, editors, proofreaders, or project managers, terminology management helps your team work faster and more confidently and eliminates disruptions between departments.
3. Save Time + Cost
Terminology management helps produce higher quality content from the first round, requiring less work from editors and proofreaders. Fewer quality complaints and corrections lower your total cost of translation projects. If you’re also leveraging a translation memory, the accurate terms you set in your termbase are stored and reused automatically in the future.
4. Reduce Risks of Error
If you produce content for your company in more than one language, it can get challenging – and often messy – to enforce consistency in meanings and translations across your target languages. Using terminology management can reduce – or even eliminate – the risk of translators generating errors or inconsistencies across different texts and projects over time.
5. Dominate Foreign Markets
Customer loyalty is built upon consistent, reliable, and dependable service. Inconsistent terminology and content can result in a poor representation of your business or services, especially when working overseas or in countries outside of the organization’s native language. If your customers or clients can’t identify your consistent brand identity and message, they can get the impression that the company or organization doesn’t care about its foreign markets by ensuring their customers can fully comprehend their services. Additionally, if customers and clients cannot establish what a brand is about, it can cause a breakdown in trust, leading to fewer customers and fewer business opportunities within a target market.
6. Improve SEO Ranking
When writing (and translating) content for the web, it’s important to implement a clear SEO strategy in order to engage with the highest number of online visitors. Following your keyword strategy across the different languages you’re using to communicate online is vital for your website to rank highly in the results produced by search engine queries. Employing terminology management ensures that your keywords and messages are translated consistently, resulting in higher SEO ranking.
How to choose the best Terminology Management System
If you’re partnering with a language service provider (LSP) or translation vendor to localize your content, you should make sure they use technology that makes it easy to store and update your terminology as often as is necessary. Most LSPs will gladly accept their clients’ termbases, glossaries, and style guides, as consistency is in the best interest of all involved.
When it comes to the type of terminology management system, you can opt to use one that is integrated into your translation tool, or a stand-alone dedicated to managing your glossary. Either way, it should be fast, accurate, and within reach of all your translators. Here are a few requirements that your Terminology Management System of choice should meet:
Easy to integrate into your workflows
Simplicity should be at the heart of any technology you choose to employ in your translation. If it is difficult to integrate into your existing infrastructure and requires too much effort for your translators to access and understand, it is probably not the right one for you.
Choosing a terminology management system that is incorporated into your translation tool is the most preferred option. This is because all your essential translation software is housed in one centralized application that allows your content to be translated, stored, and handled without unnecessary transfers. It also makes collaboration simpler as your entire team will be working from the same platform.
Make use of automated features
Building your glossary from scratch can be painstaking, especially if you have a considerable amount of content. However, a good terminology management system makes use of your legacy material so you don’t have to start the process from zero. Using frequency analysis technology in your previously translated material, you can easily build your database by identifying repetitive terms in the content, for use in your future projects. From your pre-developed sources, you can extract, categorize, and store terminology for new translations.
Accommodate all your users
The bigger your business, the more users you have that require access to your glossary. These can be content creators, who may need to search and pull up definitions, translators who update the database with new terminology, as well as other experts on the LSP’s end. Without proper management, many users can bring confusion into your system which will ultimately derail your workflow. Therefore, your system should be able to define user roles and allow varying levels of access to your glossary to prevent tampering and minimize confusion.
Have a reporting feature
An automatic checker integrated into your terminology management system can be used to ascertain the consistency of your translation and pick out errors in your content. It can also be able to track changes within your glossary to keep it accurate over time.
Grow with your business
A future-proof management system is one that can allow you to expand the volume of your content and the number of languages you use with ease. As you set your sights on new markets, your TMS can help you track the content you generate, and its associated terminology whatever the format or language.
The power of localization and translation for your business cannot be understated. That being said, it can be difficult to do over a wide range of languages and content. Without proper management, your content will be inconsistent, take an unnecessarily long time to create, and even cost you more money. Luckily, technology has made translation a whole lot easier. Using a terminology management tool integrated into your TMS can bring synergy to your translation across the board, resulting in accurate content that appeals to your clients.
Ready to take your translation projects to the next level? Get in touch and one of our product experts will help build you a termbase and style guide that’s tailored for your company.