Terminology Q&A with EHLION’s General Manager

This month we caught up with Davenie-Jane Caruana, EHLION’s General Manager. Davenie will explain what Terminology is and highlight its benefits, and answer the most common Terminology questions in this month’s Q&A Session.

Q: Let’s start with the basics: What is Terminology?

Effective communication is a goal of all organizations that deal with the public, commercially or otherwise. This includes businesses, enterprises, public institutions, NGOs, governments, and any other type of organization. When an organization operates in different linguistic communities, requiring different languages, the goal of effective communication requires a proactive approach – and this is where “Terminology” or, as better known in our industry, “terminology management” comes in. So essentially, Terminology is a general word for the group of specialized words or meanings relating to a particular field, and also the study of such terms and their use; and Terminology Management is the process of researching, choosing, defining, updating, and maintaining key terms in the local language relevant to a business, product, or service provider, public or scientific institution.

Q: How is Terminology managed?

Terminology is normally managed and published in a database, referred to as a “termbase”, which is used by all employees and suppliers, including translation services, communications, public relations and marketing. Termbases are primarily used in connection with translation memories and machine translation tools, but they can also be combined with other knowledge management systems such as management information systems, document management systems or content management systems, and so forth.

Q: Why is Terminology important?

There are many justifiable reasons why Terminology should be on a company’s agenda, but I will break it down into 3 main parts:

  • Terminology management reduces time spent on translation and revision and therefore costs.
  • It helps translators produce more consistent and higher quality translations.
  • It improves communication between your organisation, its staff, partners, and other stakeholders.

Apart from Terminology in itself being an important factor to consider, what is even more important is that you have a professional handling it for you. Failure to manage terminology professionally, will in the long run result in internal and public discrepancies in the information that is transmitted through your company.

Q: What tips do you give to someone/ an organization thinking about implementing terminology?

There are many factors to consider – I would personally start by asking the below questions:

  • What are the potential benefits and aims of terminology management for my organization?
  • Who are the potential users of the terminology?
  • What level of support for terminology management can be expected from the management of your organization?
  • Should the termbase allow the management and retrieval of client specific terminology?

It is also highly advisable to get in touch with a Language Service Provider for constant guidance from inception, up to the successful completion of the project. Goals and expectations for Terminology Management should be set up prior to choosing Terminology Management Systems.

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