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Terminology Management: the Long-Term Solution to Quality and Consistent Translations

Terminology managementAs you may already know, translation, which aims to transfer meaning from one language into another, is never an exact science. Cultural and linguistic context can provide multiple translations for one word; for example, car in English can be translated as autocoche, or carro in Spanish, depending on the country in which the term is being used. Complications further arise when no direct translation exists, such as the word insight; in Spanish, depending on the context, the translation could be conocimientos, perspicacia, ideas aprendidas, or perhaps conclusiones.

The most successful translations for highly-technical or specific company/industry operational documents rely on the management of terminologies. In other words, the most reliable translations utilize a terminology base with specific glossaries and operational lingo from the source language. The first step to establishing a terminology base is to send glossaries, product information, and other reference materials to the translator or translation provider. In order to maintain consistency throughout the translation, the translator needs to be able to identify the key terms and phrases used by your company in all of its materials. Glossaries and other reference materials allow the translator to understand the concepts and ideas that underlie those key terms and phrases. For example, abbreviations need to have proper definitions in order for the translator to properly apply the abbreviation to the translated text.

Thus, the next step is for the translator to create and build a translation memory, which is developed by way of a CAT tool (computer assisted translation tool). A CAT tool is not the same as an online dictionary. A CAT tool allows the translator to break down the source text into segments so that the translation of the text is also aligned by segments. The translated segments are saved together with the source segments; this pairing is called a translation unit. The main function of the CAT tool is therefore to save all of the translation units into a database, called the translation memory. Moreover, CAT tools also allow the translator to control various aspects of the final product via QA checks, indexing, importing/exporting of files, and alignment functions.

Implementing terminology management thus allows you to properly control your translations and eliminate inconsistencies. Learn more about Trusted Translations’ terminology management process by requesting a free quote.


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