Terminology: A Trouble or A Blessing?


Until recently, I made many translations “in vain”. I realized that I just lived the day and got the job done. There was nothing left except from some cash. Than one of my friends showed me his database and explained me how the translation is easy and consistent when you have a rich TM (Translation Memory). With all these TMs, you can create your own terminology. In a site titled contentrules, I read an article about terminology, it gives advices on terminology management and its importance. I get the parts which I find interesting. You can read the whole text by clicking the link below (as usual!):

Let’s talk about managing terminology. Why bother? Well that’s easy. If you are in the content creation business, your product is your words/pictures/movies. And if words are your product, you need to care about them. You need to select them carefully and consistently, and you need to manage them.

By this I mean you need to make sure you have a consistent lexicon that is simple, straightforward, and makes sense. And the most important word is consistent. Consistent terminology is critical for so many reasons. It:

  • Makes your content much easier to read for people of all reading levels.
  • Preserves your company trademarks, service marks, copyrights, and so on.
  • Safeguards your product and company branding.
  • Ensures that everyone in your organization uses the same words to describe the same things.
  • Allows you to use different XML chunks in a structured environment without having to rewrite for consistency.
  • Lowers the price and time it takes to translate the content into multiple languages.
  • Helps to ensure the quality and consistency of the translations.

The two most common ways I’ve seen of managing terminology are Excel spreadsheets and Microsoft Word tables. Usually there are at least two columns: allowed terms and prohibited terms. Sometimes allowed terms are called preferred terms. Sometimes prohibited terms are called deprecated terms. Regardless of what the terms are called and regardless of what application is used to create the list of terms, this type of system for managing terminology is simply a nightmare. I rarely see a company that can grow and scale using lists or spreadsheets as their management system for terminology.

Why do term lists fail? There are many reasons. In my opinion, the main reason term lists fail is that they require a pullmechanism for people to use them. By that I mean, the author or editor needs to:

  • Know that the term in question is managed (the company cares about correct usage).
  • Know where to find the list of terms.
  • Get the list of terms.
  • Search for the term and determine if it is allowed or prohibited (or if it even exists in the term list at all).
  • Make the correction, if necessary.
For the rest of the article, click here.

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