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What is terminology management?
What is terminology management?
Terminology is the set of terms of a specific profession, science or subject. Terminology is also used to refer to the discipline of those responsible for processing and storing such terms in glossaries, dictionaries, databases, etc.
Most common terminological problems
Terminology plays a key role when writing or translating any type of document, in particular the most specialised documents (technical translation). All sectors work with their own specific terminology in all languages, which is why use of the incorrect terminology can make the documentation we are writing or translating difficult to understand, it can tarnish the company’s reputation and it can also have significant financial repercussions. The most common terminological problems are as follows:
- Inconsistent terminology. One of the most common terminological problems is the use of different terms for the same concept. For example, the term settings can be translated into Spanish as ajustes or configuración. Both translations are correct, but if they are used interchangeably, this could cause an inconsistency issue in the translated text.
- Ambiguous terminology. It can also occur that one term is used for different concepts or a term that is not precise enough is used. The term heater is used to express two different concepts in Spanish: resistencia and calentador. If the correct translation is not used in each context, this could completely change the meaning of the text.
- Incorrect terminology. This is the use of an incorrect word for a specific concept.
However, do not panic! If you are already aware of the importance of terminology for launching your product, we recommend that you follow our tips to implement an effective terminology management process that allows you to market a consistent and high-quality product.
Terminology management process
The best solution for controlling the terminology that is used in your company is to establish an effective terminology management process. This process must be adapted to your needs in order to obtain greater benefit, but below are a series of steps that you can follow to begin to familiarise yourself with this area.
1) Terminology extraction
The starting point for a terminology management process is the extraction of terms that are relevant for your company. This process can be done manually, but we can also provide you with our tool, TermStar NXT, which will allow you to automatically extract the most important terms from your chosen documents. Once you have that list, you should check that it contains the terms that you need. You can then send it to be translated in order to create a multilingual dictionary or you can simply circulate it to those responsible for writing content in your company. With this simple action, you will have taken a very important step: from now on, consistent terminology will be used in all documents that you publish.
2) Categorisation of terms
Once you have the list of terms with which you wish to work, you can begin to categorise them. There are many options for categorisation that you can implement depending on your needs, but the most common one is to class those terms according to the type of product or the branch of the company. It is also recommended to include additional information that may help technical writers and translators. It is very helpful to include a definition of the term, its grammatical category, context or even an image.
3) Terminology management system
You can carry out the aforementioned steps in the format that you feel most comfortable with, however we recommend that you use a terminology management system (TMS) such as WebTerm. These applications are databases that allow you to store the terminology information for its use in future projects. Below, we have highlighted some of the benefits for you of implementing a terminology management system in your company:
- More flexible storage and retrieval of terms.
- Greater speed in accessing the information.
- Ease of updating and expanding dictionary entries.
- Exact search or proximity search using wild cards.
- Option of recognising terminology stored in the dictionary whilst a document is being translated or written.
- Option of carrying out a terminology check to verify that the terms stored in the dictionary have been used.
The advantages of effective terminology management
After reading about all of the aforementioned benefits, don’t you think that it would be worth incorporating an effective terminology management process in your workflow? If we are yet to convince you, below is a summary of the main advantages that effective terminology management can provide for your company.
- Ensure consistency across all documents published by the company.
- Optimise the writing, translating and correction process for corporate documentation, leading to significant time and cost savings.
- Reinforce corporate image and identity thanks to a style and vocabulary that is consistent and particular to the company.
If you would like to implement our tips, we would encourage you to request a trial version of our terminology manager: TermStar NXT. We can also help you to implement a terminology management system in your company, so please do not hesitate to contact us.