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The First Step to Achieving Excellence

Updated: Sep 19, 2020

Many may think the first step is the copywriting itself. However, just like in a translation, the first step is terminology.

Whether we are translating corporate documents, or creating copy for our website, corporate manual or product catalogue, it is of utmost importance to organize our company’s terminology. It is important that all departments maintain consistency in the terminology they use and define clear rules regarding forbidden terms or the use of upper and lower case, as well as knowing how we will go about creating new and specific product terminology and deciding in which format or system (offline or online) the terminology is stored and updated.

Like for the company, it is also important for the translator to receive clear instructions so the translation meets the client’s expectations.

Let’s look at the main points we have to define. First of all, it is important to know what we want to achieve with our terminology. For example, do we want to standardize technical texts?, Do we want to avoid using certain terms? Or use different ones depending on the target market?

These questions justify the creation of a terminology database, either off or online. If the terminology is also used by the company’s writers, editors and translators, the entries to the terminology database will help avoid translation errors.

Terminology work can be carried out at different stages. This way, in addition to editors and translators, employees from the customer service and marketing departments can also consult the database, or even contribute to its creation.

Little thought is often given to the way terminology is made available through the different programs. Translators work with translation memories, copywriters with content creation programs, programmers with developer software and other users with ERP systems. Many of these solutions allow a direct link to the terminology databases, while others do it by importing/exporting the terminology in compatible formats.

Let’s look at how the terminology data is managed in the translation memories used by translators. Overall, the process is as follows: when a translator translates a segment in which a term included in the terminology database appears, the system alerts the translator on the existing approved translation and suggests its use.

Something else to take into account when creating and maintaining a terminology database is defining how we continue to expand the terms and who approves the newly introduced ones.

At Sytext we are confident that creating a terminology database, as well as updating and maintaining it regularly is the first step to quality translations and ultimately consistent corporate texts. And, more importantly, it offers the possibility of linking terminology to systems used by translators and quality control tools. And all this through workflows and formats that allow the client to access, create and modify each term.

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