The perfect terminology workflow

The perfect terminology workflow

In our blog series, we address the topic of how corporate terminology processes can be combined to create a coherent workflow. And today we will have a look at the very core of it all: What does the perfect terminology workflow actually look like?

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. As a result, corporate documentation with high terminology quality is ensured. 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. But 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. Consequently, the quality of corporate documentation will then suffer.

This is why process optimization number 1 is to be found here: term extraction and terminological processing within the terminology system. By extracting terms from the source texts, all terms used can be determined easily. Then, 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. Furthermore, rules for term creation can ensure the establishment of a standardized and consistent corporate language. Before being released by the terminologist, the terminologically processed concepts should always be thoroughly discussed in coordination workflows between different departments.

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.

So here we come across process optimization number 2 of the perfect terminology workflow: authoring management systems. Using client-specific terminology and customizable lnguistic rules, authoring management systems ensure that terminology is used correctly 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. When it comes to translation however, 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 must be brought about quickly! 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 be done 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, it needs to be monitored 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 present process optimization number 4: company-wide standardization of terminology processes.

What does the perfect terminology workflow look like for you?

If you would like to take a closer look at the terminology workflow in your company, please do not hesitate to contact us! We offer consulting services for designing the entire workflow and offer optimization at all steps and process levels.

You are also welcome to continue following our blog series. There, we have a more detailed look at how terminology workflows can be implemented in different Tools.

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