Improve translation quality and protect your brand with terminology management

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” - Emily DickinsonA few weeks ago, SDL Trados had a series of 4 free webinars on terminology management. I am very happy that companies such as Trados take the initiative to improve our terminology management skills and invite guests who are renowned terminologists. We need more of this! So great job, Trados. Kudos to Fiona Mermood, SDL Senior Marketing Executive for coordinating this webinar. This and the other related posts will be tagged under “videos” in my cloud.

Gabriele Sauberer, PhD, MBA is the Director of TermNet, Co-founder of the Language Industry Certification System (LICS) Quality Auditor for ISO 17100 and EN 15038 since 2007, and Head of Training for LICS auditors. She presented the topic “Improve translation quality and protect your brand with terminology management” Click here to watch (1 hour). The following aspects were covered.

What is translation quality and how it is related to terminology?

The three aspects of quality are related to terminology: product, process, and service. In translation, product (the translation) and process (translating) are inextricably linked with a view to providing the service (rendering the translation).

Terminology work and management is key during the production process and the product must be top quality, that is, use correct and consistent terminology from beginning to end, as most complaints on quality come from terminology issues, and service includes clear and precise communication with the customer through terminology.

How is translation quality measured and assessed?

Gabriele went over the two standards used: ISO 70100:2015 Translation services–Requirements for translation services (covers process and service and partially product quality) and SAE J 2450–Translation quality metrics (to measure the product quality, i.e. translation quality). She covered a bit of the background and the core criteria used, such as the “4-eyes Principle” (revision by a second translator).

She explained that  ISO 70100 (see Preview here) defines 42 terms used in the sector which makes it also a terminology standard for the provision of translation services. Terminology standards are now stricter and tools have to be flexible enough to allow the use of this terminology as well as the client’s terminology. 80% of queries with the client are about terminology, so it’s important to follow standards to foster better communication, save time and energy, and avoid liability issues.

For SAE J 2450 she mentioned that it was a “simple metric system to identify, classify, and weigh errors in translated texts” and that it is also used in other industries. More than 85% of errors are due to terminology errors, so the “wrong term” together with “wrong meaning” metric has the highest weight. It also measures omission, structural error, misspelling, punctuation error, and miscellaneous error.

3 easy steps to improve translation quality with terminology management

  1. Understand and communicate the importance of terminology: Benefits include customer retention, increased quality and efficiency (reuse of terminology), and improved documentation.
  2. Decide what is the best strategy and the tools you are going to use: Chapter 6 of ISO 29383:2010 (see Preview here) on Terminology policies–Development and implementation covers the preparation, formulation and implementation of terminology policies.
  • Learn from best practices and professionals by attending events such as TermNet’s Summer School that this year took place in early July.

Good practices from the industry

She reviewed a few cases of industries that have successfully managed their terminology, such as, Philips, AGFA Healthcare, and many others.

How to protect your brand with terminology management

“Speak with one voice” is an effective message for companies that have terminology problems and should therefore start managing their corporate language. The use of tools and style guidelines helps to ensure quality, accuracy, and consistency in every language.

Brands are master data, and master data is a hot topic in multinational corporations, e.g. Audi, Nike, etc, so their terminology needs to be managed to protect or promote their brand. She mentioned how some of these companies choose to translate, or not, their brand or slogans or taglines, to create greater impact. Also, companies try to create terminology to influence the industry, just like Microsoft did when they created the term “mouse”, which is used by everyone today.

She also referred to trusted master data managed in terminology bases that become the “source of truth”, meaning the data is the heart and the soul of the company. SAP, for example, explains in this link how they manage their master data (click here) to “elevate performance with consolidated, synchronized data”, which is all based on highly sophisticated terminology management. Even for small companies, if you want to professionally produce, market, and export your products and services, terminology management is a must.

In the Q&A session, Gabriele recommended taking a look at SDL’s infographic “What cost savings can be achieved through Terminology Management?” and said it was a tangible and measurable example of the costs savings of effective terminology management. Click here to read.

As for advice to young translators who want to manage their terminology, she said that they should not be discouraged by tools that might seem too sophisticated. Start with a spreadsheet but use terminology principles and requirements so that you can export your terms later in a terminology management system. But it is important to understand and use the methodology of terminology work. There is a need to better prepare translators at the university level so that they are trained in terminology management.

To the question on how to convince stakeholders to manage terminology, she explained that the best way is to raise awareness and the “joy” for terminology, for example, by sharing the term of the day or sharing videos. It depends on the commitment of top management too, but you always find “term champions”, i.e., stakeholders who are willing to support you and spread the word.

sauberer_300x171But first you need to love what you do, and spread the love like a virus, but a fun virus. If you become the main champion then you will have achieved the main prerequisite. Build and maintain your love for terminology.

Thank you Gabriele for such inspiring final words.

4 Comments on “Improve translation quality and protect your brand with terminology management

  1. Great article!

    I am a young translator always looking for terms and databases.
    Any idea how i can get training for terminology research/management?


  2. Thanks for your comment. Check out my section on Training for several options.

  3. Thanks for this article. About 15038 ISO is only about translation companies or also for freelancer translator?

  4. Thanks, Nikolaos. I believe that they mention this in detail in the video. Take a look.

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