The importance of terminology: why is it crucial to involve the client in terminology work?

Saving time and money, ensuring a high-quality product and customer satisfaction – these are just a few of the advantages for the client if they participate in terminology work.

The expressions and words that one comes across during translation can be divided into three groups: those which can be considered general vocabulary, i.e. general language; those which use technical terminology, i.e. specialised language for a particular subject field; and those which belong to so-called “intercompany terminology”, i.e. the language a particular company uses and understands. It is of the utmost importance for the various branches of an enterprise, for example marketing, finance, human resources, production, legal department, etc., that their members can communicate with each other easily and without misunderstandings in order for the company to operate successfully. This goal is only attainable if the terminology – the words and expressions used within a company – is coherent and understandable for everyone, both for the employees within the company and for customers.

Coherence, improved clarity and clear communication are the main goals of terminology work, including issues like the usage of British or US English, avoiding synonyms for one term, and taking any additional information into account. It means that, depending on various aspects (subject, definition, image or context), a term can be translated differentlyor example, when translating into in German “item” can be interpreted as “Artikel” in the field of manufacturing, “Element” for user interface contexts, or even “Teil” in discrete manufacturing. Unmanaged terminology can have serious consequences, ranging from delays, misunderstandings, unhappy customers, more customer support calls and even to frustration, content multiplication and even legal issues.

The involvement of the client into terminology work – which should be separated from the translation itself – is indispensable. Background documents, feedback, time, money and effort are needed to provide a quality service. However, terminology management can reduce costs, and shorten the time spent not only on communication within the different sectors, but also the time spent on translation and quality assurance, because the translator does not have to spend hours searching for technical terms (sometimes ending up finding a term which is not appropriate for a particular company). The cost of translation will also be reduced, since we can use the existing terminology for subsequent jobs as well.

By Zsuzsanna Javori, Quality Assurance Team at Eurideas

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