In preparation for
This Month’s Cover Story deals with
a common problem that is still faced by those involved in the
It seems that there is still a large group of people who deal with
corporate documentation, but who are unaware of Terminology Management,
what it is and why to use it.
To help shine some light on the topic, we
decided to share with you our know-how and best practices in a two-part
cover story. We’ll begin by examining Terminology Management and
how to best apply it to keep your translation costs low. Part one will
focus on an overview and the DOs, while part two (published next month)
will focus on common pitfalls and the DON’Ts.
We hope you’ll find our guide
Part One: Terminology
Management (The DOs).
Terminology Management is an integral
component of the translation/localization process. It uses glossaries
to keep multilingual texts consistent and accurate. Surprisingly
enough, it is often overlooked and its usefulness tends to be
underestimated. That is why in this month’s cover story we will
show you real benefits of using Terminology Management and what you
should do when managing your glossaries.
What is Terminology
Typically, documents submitted for
translation contain many terms, keywords, acronyms, synonyms,
abbreviations, etc. When translating, linguists struggle to keep all
these terms consistent especially if they were not clearly defined at
Terminology management helps to organize
and catalogue your terms using glossaries. Glossaries maintain
cross-document continuity by clearly defining the terminology used
during translation. They assign a strict set of rules for term usage
and force linguists to use correct terminology when working on your
Terminology Management used as often as it should be?
Clients often neglect including
Terminology Management in their translation request only because they
view it as an extraneous cost. They forfeit the benefits that
Terminology Management carries in exchange for lower quality, seemingly
faster turnaround and a boatload of unforeseen problems.
Fortunately, a simple way to estimate the
value of Terminology Management is to draft a cost-benefit analysis, or
prepare an effectiveness study. Companies can then quickly identify
hazards that result from missing terminology work. Those hazards
commonly include: inconsistencies within content, erroneous use of
terms, delayed time to market, complex rework and expensive
re-publishing costs. If not spotted in time, these hazards can result
in negative reaction to your content by the reader/end-user and have a
detrimental effect on all your related branding efforts.
Remember that only after properly
evaluating how much each hazard can apply to one’s content, can
the decision maker justify using/skipping Terminology Management.
Management: best practice
Now that you know what Terminology Management
is and what it does, let’s look at some best practice DOs and
DON’Ts that will help you maximize its benefits and avoid
TERMINOLOGY MANAGEMENT: THE DOs
Create a glossary
Creating structured, approved and updated glossaries, lets you
effectively control your content’s terminology.
2. Define a glossary type
There are different glossary types to consider. They include: UI
glossaries (software dumps), glossaries of untranslatable terms
(product names, etc.) and traditional glossaries (with core
When choosing a glossary type, you should also consider the
the type of content: technical, medical, general or marketing
its purpose: should it contain only core terminology, or will it
be a large general glossary for several projects (useful for technical
time: glossary creation requires an upfront investment in time
when compared to standard translation. However, you will see your
investment pay off starting with the first project. So, when planning
glossary creation, allocate time/resources appropriately
structure: consider useful metadata and how to structure your
glossary around it (by part of speech, context, definition, concept
orientation, modeling of entries, etc.)
tools: there are tools that help you create, process, update and
use glossaries in ways that seamlessly integrate into your overall
authoring or translation process. Make sure to choose a tool that will
work with your workflow and one that will suit your environment.
3. Use only most basic forms of verbs and nouns (i.e. non-conjugated and non-declined)
Keeping your terminology as simple (unambiguous) as possible,
will make it easy to work with for anyone who needs to use it in the
4. Perform glossary validation
Ensure that the core terminology is approved at the project
start stage. Initial investment in Subject Matter Expert revision &
approval can save money that would otherwise have to be spent on
correcting terminology mistakes in translated files, at later stages of
5. Provide context
To properly translate a glossary, always provide as much context
as possible (preferably via project files). Without context, some terms can make
little sense. If terms get translated out of context, they will not fit
the target content. That in turn slows down overall translation as
vendors will begin to communicate back all the ‘mismatches’
that appear in the quality assurance reports.
6. Make sure to spell check your glossary
Glossary extraction should be performed only on content
that’s free from spelling mistakes. Because a glossary is your
starting point, you need to make sure that it is pristine and
won’t become a root cause of subsequent problems.
Also, for English source glossaries, you need to decide on a
uniform English standard to use, either British English or American
English. This will help you avoid inconsistent spelling conventions
like: “organisation” in the
glossary vs. “organization” inside the text.
Be conscious of keeping your glossary terms consistent when
hyphenating. Avoid having multiple versions of the same term like
“popup”, “pop up” and “pop-up”.
There are no specific rules in hyphenation. There is no right or wrong.
So, it usually ends up being client preference. The key is to stay
consistent with all your terms.
7. Glossary updates and reviews
Avoid updating/creating glossaries in the middle of a project.
The best time to update your glossary is either at the beginning of a
project (with new project-specific terminology), or at its end (when
translation uncovers that some changes to existing terms are desired,
or that new terms should be added).
The only exception to the rule above is if a project is very
long and complex, or if a glossary is product-specific and used on
several projects. Then, regular glossary reviews are needed to ensure
that the glossary is always up-to-date.
Preferably, only one person should be
responsible for updating a glossary. It is best to assign a Subject Matter
Expert of the target language to the task (for multilingual glossaries
you will need separate SMEs for each language).
This SME needs to be aware that whenever s/he decides to change
a term, that change will immediately introduce inconsistencies in
Translation Memories, which use that glossary.
In such cases, if the project workflow blocks 100%
matches/In-Content Exact Matches/Content Matches, you can end up with a
different translation of a term in segments re-used from the TM, with
quite another translation of a term used for new segments.
The process of approving new entries for highly technical terms
requires SME approval. If you let other users approve and add terms at
will, you run a real chance of corrupting your glossary. If wrong terminology
is added to a glossary you risk expensive rework costs to fix
terminology mistakes at subsequent stages.
The best place to look for new terms to
add to a glossary is in the comments, queries and feedback you collect
from translators. You should also scan your Language Quality Assurance
reports for issues that are flagged or ask your SMEs to provide
suggestions of terms they would find useful.
(…end of part
Next month, we will publish the second part of:
Terminology Management (the DON’Ts).
In the meantime, to learn more about managing your translation
processes, visit our website or our downloads