The perfect terminology workflow

One of the big questions for terminologists all around the world remains: How can diverse terminology processes in a company be combined into one coherent overall process? Does THE perfect terminology workflow even exist?

What are the steps involved in the perfect terminology workflow?

Although the desired terminology workflow does vary from one company to another, there are still steps that are relevant in almost every case: text creation, proofreading, translation, publishing. Within the scope of these steps, the workflow can be optimized through the strategic use of terminology systems and fine-tuning of terminology processes. This results in a corporate documentation containing terminology of high quality. The very cornerstone for all translation processes.

Terminology in text creation

Text creation is the starting point when it comes to terminology. It is here that new technical terms are defined and used for the first time. Should this take place without an elaborate process, numerous terms are likely to find their way into the corporate documentation without being validated. A lot of those terms refer to the exact same concept. This results in confusion among recipients and customers and an overall unclear corporate language.

This is why process optimization number 1  is to be used here : Term extraction and terminology management in the terminology system. By extracting terms from the source texts, terms that are being used are easily determined. Terminologists define specific concepts during terminological processing directly in the terminology management system. Terms that are used synonymously ought to be assigned to the same concept. In addition, terminology rules ensure a uniform corporate language. Terminologically prepared terms should be checked in discussion workflows between different departments before being approved by the terminologist.

Terminology in proofreading

Language quality assurance should always be an integral part of text editing processes. Its main objective is linguistic optimisation, especially where translation is concerned. Typical tripping hazards for translators, such as broken segments due to manual line breaks or unknown terminology, can thus be avoided.

Here we come across process optimization number 2 of the perfect workflow: Authoring systems. With custom terminology and configurable linguistic rules, authoring systems ensure correct terminology usage in the source language. Authors are made aware of deprecated terms, as well as unknown acronyms or terminological variations. One step further towards corporate identity!

Terminology in translation

In the text editing department, the importance of the terminology may still have a subliminal effect – but when it comes to translation, the picture looks different. Here, translators need to be able to cope with whatever terminology the authors provide them. If they encounter undefined acronyms, ambiguities or unknown concepts, translation errors are inevitable.

That’s why process optimization number 3 is needed asap! One of the most important prerequisites for successful translation is that the terminology used is not only validated in the source language but also in the target languages. This should already have happened prior to the actual translation. This means that as soon as concepts are added and agreed on in the source language, the same coordination processes need to be carried out regarding the target language. For this purpose, terminology systems with integrated coordination workflows including various steps and roles (e.g. translators, experts, market reviewers, specialists for validating target languages) are suitable. The result is validated and approved terminology, which is then displayed to the translator directly in the translation system.

Additionally, you need to check whether the language quality assurance in the target language meets the specified requirements. Most translation systems have integrated terminology validation, but stand-alone tools are available as well. Checking routines should be examined thoroughly, as they too are eligible for process optimization in order to create better translations.

Terminology in publishing

Once a well thought-through process has been implemented at all steps, nothing stands in the way of the uniform use of terminology in corporate publications. The important thing is to start small, but think globally at the same time. The number of departments participating in processes of terminology standardization should be growing constantly.

In this context, it is also worth looking beyond the scope of the translation: Particularly for marketing and sales, standardized terminology is the be-all and end-all as it shapes the corporate identity. The quality of semantic applications such as chatbots or webshops increases considerably if they are based on the corporate language. For this purpose, ontologies based on corporate terminology are highly recommended. Thus we proudly present process optimization number 4: Company-wide standardization of information processes.

What does the perfect terminology workflow look like for you?

Do you need someone to take a closer look at the terminology workflow in your company? Please get in touch! We help you with the design of your end-to-end terminology workflow while checking out optimization potential at all task and process levels.

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