terminology management
terminology management

The process of researching, choosing, defining, and updating key terms in all relevant languages to a company is called “terminology management”. Get started with terminology management with this guide!

Terminology is about managing knowledge

Many companies have recognized that established terminology is the key to facilitating efficient language management, consistent corporate language, and internal and external improvements to communication. However, it has yet to be accepted that professional terminology management also includes structuring and modeling knowledge.

In an increasingly global market, all content and product information need to be uniform and comply with international regulations to reach the customer. Many entities, such as marketing departments, technical editors, translators, or external service providers, create texts that require unambiguous terminology. Therefore, the goal is to standardize communication in as many departments and business processes as possible.

How can you create awareness about  curated terminology and work throughout all  departments and management levels of your company? 

Terminology Management: A Four-Step Journey

The process  varies with the structure and  size of your company, but four general phases can be recognized : 

  1. Planning
  2. Operative
  3. Administration
  4. Maintenance and Control 

Planning 

A company’s terminology management approach includes decisions on technical, human, and budget resources. It is essential  to document all decisions in a standardized, comprehensible way. The best method is to have a dedicated group of leaders, where everyone involved has awareness and common understanding of the project.

Furthermore, the question might arise : “Which tools and applications work best at managing terminology? ” The entire  process will be standardized based on this decision . Therefore, This is the most important question to be answered in acquiring a tool for the purpose of overarching terminology management.

Operative

In the Operative phase, it is essential to analyze, model, and prepare information in a standardized manner . Implementing guidelines for Data structure and entry categories are the most essential steps towards this goal . 

There are three important aspects in the concept-based data structure: 

  • The selection of information to be included in each entry;
  • The establishment of prohibited words;
  • The validity of each category and approval process 

Administration

The Administration phase represents the management of terminology tools. The terminology team is responsible for the term and data set management in these tools. This team records and manages the terminology of the source language, the preparation of terms, equivalents, and synonyms. 

Maintenance and Control

The Maintenance and Control phase aims to monitor  the correct functioning of the tools and erase any  incorrect terminology entries. Depending on the quantity  of target languages, managing multilingual terminology and coordinating with language experts require appropriate resources. In the case of localization project management, for instance,this phase also includes defining target language terms, applying the terminology in translation, and performing change management in the existing translations.

Essential Factors in Terminology Management 

All the previous steps could achieve particularly good results if adequate expertise is involved in the process. Inaccurate phraseology  might decrease the trust in the terminology team and their work. Therefore, it is critical  to request the input of the other relevant parties (the specialists) in the company. They will be able to assess the used terms and even elaborate on a new definition. In fact, they could play the role of an “examiner” and a “releaser.”  

Another essential factor for the terminology management journey is the metadata. All entries and items of information can  be used in a single-source-system, as long as the metadata is consistent, clear, and independent from the context. 

Ultimately, terminology work will develop to become increasingly more helpful to  machines and humans. Intelligent terminology suited to machine learning software can aid  the training of machine translation engines, and therefore improve the quality of the output. For editors and translators, this is a prospect  that may be challenging at first, but exciting in the long run. 

Are you interested in technical communication, localization or project management? Don’t hesitate to have a look at the TCLoc Master’s Program to dive deeper into these topics!


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