FAUST RULE 2: You should maintain your terminology!

March 15th, 2021 by Christian Faust - Posted in English

Terminology is the linchpin of every technical translation.

It is an open secret that the technical terms in a text are important. Nevertheless, the results of a survey of internationally active companies conducted by the trade magazine Multilingual are quite astonishing.

80% of problems are based on terminology

80% of the companies stated that the main problem with their translations is terminology: Either there is no specific terminology or it is not used consistently. Any existing glossaries are not bindingly updated, there is no company-wide access.

If 80% of problems are based on terminology, then it is obvious what to do: terminology must be maintained.

Terminology Management

Easier said than done, because terminology is rarely used in a single place in companies. There is also no one who is directly responsible for them.

A glossary in the form of an Excel spreadsheet is often created with good intentions and exchanged (or not) within the company between production, sales, marketing, customer service, etc. Who adds, changes, deletes when which term is added, changes, deletes, eludes all knowledge, as does the question of the current version status or even the essential question:

“Does anyone know where the glossary is?”

There are a handful of basic prerequisites for meaningful translation management:

  • A glossary must be created
  • The core terms are entered in the glossary (in all languages)
  • Everyone in the company who deals with technical terms has access to the glossary
  • The translators have access to the glossary
  • The glossary is always available
  • The glossary is always up to date

Of course, it is also interesting if you can see who added or changed a term and for what reason (revision history). Or which terms should not be used (due to stylistic considerations) or may not be used (for example, for patent law reasons). This cannot be achieved with an Excel spreadsheet, especially if there are a large number of target languages and perhaps also employees in the target market are to be involved, because their own terminology is maintained there and should be taken into account.

“Any other problems?”

Of course, there are sophisticated terminology programs with which terminology can be managed according to all rules of the art. There is only one (?!) big (!?) hook (!!!) in the thing (as with translation programs):

These environments are designed for trained, specialized linguists. They require installation at different locations in the company. The contents must be stored and retrieved centrally. It requires an investment in program and licenses, which are due annually. Someone from IT must take care of maintenance and updating. The employees who are to use the program must be trained. And there are other sticking points…

“How is that possible?”

Past experience has shown that this does not work in most companies. Hence the above-mentioned recourse to Excel tables (which also does not work).

Fortunately, we have a modern solution today:

  • no training
  • no installation effort
  • no charges
  • no licenses
  • no other restrictions

And the translation service provider and translators can be connected without any problems. It is therefore a seamless solution for the entire company and the entire translation process from A to Z.

🔴  So avoid 80% of your problems by organizing terminology management correctly.

Faust rule 2: “You should maintain your terminology” is the essential approach to ensure quality and avoid costly rework. It is possible to argue about stylistic issues, but not about technical terms.
Today, the solution is child’s play: online glossaries linked to the translation environment in real time guarantee that terminology is always up-to-date and used consistently without cost or additional effort!

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