In a previous blog we looked at how using the right words in the right setting can hugely influence opinions and actions. Using the right terminology is vital to effective communication. In a commercial context this is unquestionably also the case.
The special words and phrases used in relation to your company or organization create its identity, its very own terminology or language. In this blog we’ll look at the benefits of formalizing company terminology, how that is achieved and why it helps the localization process.
What is your corporate language?
Terminology exists in tandem with the activity of business, big or small. It is made up of the distinct words and expressions that are used within your organization, be it in internal emails, marketing output, technical documentation or customer-facing information. Your company’s website will use your company’s terminology to communicate your company message, your employees will use company terminology to exchange information about almost everything and suppliers will invest in using it when they engage with your organization. In short, it is all-pervading and needs treating with care.
Your company’s terminology is your own corporate language and is one of your company’s most precious commodities. It represents your company’s identity and image and plays an essential role in how your brand is perceived in the outside world. Establishing a database of corporate language will create a powerful asset, to be nurtured and valued.
Why is terminology management important for expansion into new markets?
If your company is thinking about expanding into new, international markets, reaching new customers in new languages will be high on the agenda. Your brand’s message will need to be communicated using the vocabulary of new and unique languages. Making sure that translated corporate terminology is consistent in those languages should be priority.
Imagine that several translators are working on your project. They will each have their own way of translating particular words or expressions (this is perfectly normal as more often than not no two translations ever turn out the same). Providing these translators with a database of corporate language will mean less time spent on research, definitions and corrections and ensure consistent, faster and more cost-effective translation.
The benefits of consistent multilingual terminology management
Research has found that managing terminology across an organization is often a challenge. Aligning company-wide collaboration and sufficient investment in technology are key to building and maintaining terminology but are not always present.
Increasingly however companies are realizing that investing in terminology management is a sensible and viable way of helping deal with growing quantities of content for both home and international markets. In the first instance, ensuring all company departments use the same terminology will mean in-house communication is clearer and more consistent. This converts to improved interactions with clients and higher customer satisfaction. Misunderstandings are reduced and processes become more efficient.
What’s more, harmonized terminology will make products and services easier to adapt to global markets and your brand’s identity will be better preserved and more effectively delivered. It will mean the quality of your content is optimized and as translators’ research times are cut and terms re-used, time-to-market is shortened. Terminology management is therefore an essential step in the localization process.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is also a factor to take into consideration. Search engines favor consistent keywords and the reward for using them is increased visibility. Managing your terminology can therefore feed into bolstering your SEO ranking, which as we know will mean more clicks and more exposure.
For legal texts and intellectual property, terminology management offers certainty and protection from possible legal pitfalls. Unvarying and expert legal terminology in all languages will mean the avoidance of trademark and regulatory issues.
An effective terminology management strategy
Identifying, conserving and maintaining your corporate language sounds daunting but it doesn’t have to be. Your language service provider (LSP) can advise on the most suitable approach for your organization and will often provide its own software solution to simplify the process. The method you choose will depend on the size of your business as well as the scale of the project. Projects requiring multilingual content will, however, always achieve better results with a structured system in place. Spreadsheets can work well for a small team with only a handful of terms to manage but for larger, complex projects software systems offer more practical and streamlined solutions.
Translation memories have been widely used by translators for many years now and they help guarantee the consistency of the text in the translated language. This type of software stores previously translated content and reproduces it every time the same sentence or text is used. Translation memories make translation outcomes more homogenous and increase productivity. They can be used in conjunction with terminology management software, however alone they don’t provide the same level of efficiency.
Terminology management software enables the creation of a database of your corporate language which is referred to as a ‘termbase’. This ‘termbase’ is made up of multilingual terms or concepts, their explications, references and preferred synonyms, any notes, photos, when terms should be used and any other important information. A ‘termbase’ therefore stores more complex data than a translation memory. In addition, it is customizable according to the needs of your company and can be accessed by all authorized stakeholders providing a single source of truth for your corporate language.
It is essential that your corporate language is maintained and updated, and terminology management software makes that much simpler. Terms often have a limited life cycle and periodically need checking for validity. Technical language can change and need modernizing. Some words might be altered within your company’s product specifications or marketing documentation and therefore need changing in the database of corporate language. Language is notoriously volatile and keeping an eye on it is much easier with help from advanced technology.
A clear message across all languages
Efficiently managing multilingual terminology therefore makes sense if you want your company to communicate clearly and precisely across multiple markets. Not only will terminology management ease your localization process and help deal with globalized content creation, it also presents a wonderful opportunity to improve communication throughout your organization.
Choosing an experienced language service provider to guide you through the process is imperative. Your LSP will suggest the best terminology management plan for you, provide you with the right technology solutions and above all, offer a team of experts to implement your localization strategies. t’works can do this and more.
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