Terminology ManagementThere is a common misconception among businesses engaging in localization that terminology management does not need to be included in their product development cycle. Traditional methods of terminology management are ineffective and due to a lack of understanding about the concrete benefits of maintaining corporate glossaries, many organizations believe that managing terminology is the responsibility of the language service provider.
Most translation quality issues are terminology management related
Studies find that the number one factor affecting content and translation quality is the inaccurate and inconsistent use of technical terms specific to a particular industry and subject matter.
Inaccurate or inconsistent terms not only cause confusion among readers, but can lead to perceptions of poor product quality and a decrease in product usability. Furthermore, time spent revising terminology management errors results in launch delays, or worse— potentially millions of dollars in damages from product recalls or fines. In the case of the life sciences or other regulated industries, terminology errors can also lead to customer safety issues and regulatory compliance risks.
Why do I need terminology management?
Simply put, effective terminology management at the source saves businesses 20% or more on translation costs by boosting the efficiency of content authoring and translation, while increasing linguistic quality.
Even if an author or translator has received specialized training in the target field, it still takes time to research important terminology during the content development and translation process.
This is why it is essential that they are provided with the right tools that enable them to look up approved translations quickly and dynamically.
Six steps to manage your multilingual terminology
In a nutshell, multilingual terminology management is the process of systematically developing, collecting, maintaining, and presenting words that have special meaning and application in a given subject field. It is composed of the following processes:
- 1Identifying which key terms are most closely associated with the product you intend to localize
- 2Mining legacy terms from previous versions of the product (and its related documentation) to ensure the maximum amount of content leverage
- 3Defining each term and specifying a distinct set of terminological attributes (including part of speech, source context, usage status, etc.) that are most pertinent to your organization’s localization workflow
- 4Collecting these core terms in a centralized, accessible environment (such as a terminology management system or software application)
- 5Translating each term into your organization’s core set of target languages, ensuring that your corporate terminology is consistent both across documents and all languages
- 6Dispersing multilingual glossaries to all functional groups that are involved in your product’s international development cycle
TaaS – The new approach to terminology management
TermWiki is the industry’s first terminology as a service (TaaS) system. It revitalizes the traditional, off-the-shelf approach to terminology management by allowing organizations to efficiently develop, manage, and translate terminologies in an online collaborative environment without the need for 3rd party software.
Proactive Terminology Management
Proactive terminology management involves the creation and maintenance of a multilingual database covering all the terminologies used for a company’s products and marketing materials. Technical terms can typically be very specific and accuracy is of utmost importance, therefore an ad hoc approach to terminology management is simply inefficient to achieve content quality.
From specifications and drawings to technical documentation, regulatory documents and marketing collateral, all these forms of business communication can vary typically as a result of multiple authors in different locations. Because of this, terminology management is the most efficient solution for ensuring that your business consistently speaks with one voice.
Securing terminological harmony across translated documents not only improves the usability of your products, but it also enables you to better adapt them to global markets and establish a strong corporate identity.
Our Terminology Ecosystem
Together with terminology extraction (Term Extract), terminology management (TermWiki Pro), and terminology lookup (Term Assist), businesses can publish their multilingual terminologies and glossaries over the Internet with the TermWiki Widget so that customers, employees and suppliers around the world can readily look up the information on demand.
Streamlined Authoring, Editing, and Translation
Having a comprehensive project-specific term base available at the outset of a project frees developers, writers – and ultimately, translators – from the tedious task of researching terms on their own. It also reduces the danger of multiple communicators accidentally coining multiple terms for the same feature, which could go undetected and cause confusion for the user or create unnecessary expense and delays for terminology harmonization throughout the product lifecycle.
Reduced User Support Cost
In the absence of controlled terminology and/or a system to ensure the consistent use of terminology across documents, and in particular between the product itself and the instructions for the use of a product, it is to be expected that terminological inconsistencies result in avoidable support costs.
In an environment where content is typically created in a team, it is possible that neither the author nor the graphic designer will see their work in the context of the other contributors’ work, resulting in inevitable inconsistencies. If a situation arises where a term used in an illustration does not match the terms used in the corresponding text, the user will in all likelihood be confused – and either make an unnecessary support call or, even worse, return the product for a refund.
Going Beyond the Spreadsheet
More advanced terminology management involves further defining and classifying the terminologies so that they can be applied to specific product localization and projects. Beyond the easy-to-use Excel tabular glossary list, there are a number of third party tools that help collect, define, classify, and lookup terminology.
These tools allow a translator to efficiently look up and manage terminologies during translation by providing automatic lookup for terminology translation and a streamlined process for verifying terminology translation and consistency.
Good terminology management tools also enable technical authors and translators to incorporate additional information such as definitions, context, gender, source, synonyms, and product dependency, etc. Some tools also allow terminologies to be extracted based on certain sets of criteria such as occurrence, frequency, and origin.
Consistent Corporate Communication
Terminology management enables organizations of any size to use the same terms consistently within and across the communication types that accompany a product or service. Typical communication types include specifications, drawings, user interface/human factors data, software strings, help systems, technical documentation, marketing materials, documents for regulatory submission, etc.
Regulatory Compliance in the Life Sciences
Life science is a highly regulated industry, therefore organizations operating in this field are subject to government oversight and supervision. This means that a wide variety of documents such as clinical trial reports, user manuals, and product labeling have to be submitted to regulatory bodies for review. One important aspect of the formal quality of these submissions is the consistent use of correct terminology within any given document and across all documents in a submission package.
Reduced Inventory Carrying Cost
A term designates a feature or function, an item or component. In the case of a physical item, if an organization uses more than one term for the same item, it is highly probable that multiple stock keeping units (SKUs) are assigned to the same article. This situation not only causes unnecessary inventory carrying costs, but may also prevent buyers from realizing volume discounts that they would otherwise have qualified for.
One-of-a-kind service, guaranteed.
CSOFT services a number of Fortune 500 companies around the globe, for whom we manage terminological data in more than 100 different languages. We can help you organize and execute the management of your multilingual corporate glossary too. By proactively managing consistency issues at a very early stage, we are able to prevent minor discrepancies from becoming serious problems later on in the localization cycle, when correction inevitably requires more time, effort, and money.
Case Studies and White Papers
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