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What to include in your terminology glossary
What to include in your terminology glossary
By: Link Translation
Your glossary includes terms that must be translated consistently, or shouldn’t be translated at all. Here are some examples. Your list should be comprehensive, but not all-inclusive. Choose only terms that are critical to your enterprise, such as:
• Company-specific terms. Include any names associated with your business, product or service, along with copyrighted or trademarked terms that should not be translated and that need to appear consistently in any language.
• Industry-specific terms. Words with multiple meanings can create problems for translators. The term “monitor”, for instance, can mean a computer display, a sentry, or the act of overseeing. Locking these terms down with a clear definition avoids confusion for your LSP and your audience. You don’t need to include industry-standard terms that are widely used and understood by your target market.
• Audience-specific terms. You invest in localization to improve relevance with speakers of target languages. One way to create deeper engagement is by including glossary terms that are most important to your target audience. These may include slang or other commonly used industry-specific terms (like “ghosting” in gaming or “locavore” for foodies).
• Keywords. Surprisingly, this is one of the most overlooked glossary categories because translation and localization are separate from the SEO process—so most companies don’t realize how much overlap there is between the two. Including keywords in your terminology glossary ensures that they are used in the web content itself, so the web copy matches the most commonly searched for terms in each local market. Include every keyword you want to win on in each target language and market.
• Other data. Your glossary may also contain metadata such as the definition, context, part of speech, and approval or review date; and terms that appear in your user interface or technical documentation.
How to create a terminology glossary
Most marketers have a decent start on a glossary already, with key words and special terms often outlined in the corporate style guide or other documents.
The optimal time to create a glossary is before the localization effort commences since the document helps eliminate uncertainty during translation, enforces consistency, shortens the time it takes to translate a document, and reduces the overall cost of translation over time.
Here are five tips for compiling a useful glossary for localization:
1. For a new project, base your glossaries on the content specific to that project.
2. For projects that have already been translated, base your glossaries on the translated material, either segmented files or translation memories.
3. Select core terminology related to your product, processes, and company, focusing on the most common, important, and potentially complex terms only. (See what to include, above.)
4. Enlist your internal local experts to review every translated term and agree on the clearest translation.
5. Establish language variances, before you begin translating. For example, specify which language form (e.g., Portuguese Portuguese vs. Brazilian Portuguese) is correct for your target market.
A translation style guide and terminology glossary are critical tools for optimizing your global content performance. These resources are key to improving translation and localization quality, controlling associated costs, and accelerating the entire process.
Investing time and resources into creating a style guide and glossary for your localization project yields a major return on investment. You save time and money in the creation of the project, you increase revenue by offering better content to a larger audience, and you simplify future projects by creating a solid base of terms and information that can be expanded upon to become even more valuable to your global organization.
These linguistic assets help you and your LSP improve success metrics and KPIs and more effectively gain competitive advantage in an increasingly crowded global marketplace.
Contact us to know more about our full range of services related to bringing a localized product and content to markets quickly, efficiently, cost-effectively and with the required quality.
Using one-off translators
Of course, your company might not need extensive localisation services right now. If your only multicultural issue is preparing a single document for use in a foreign language, it’s tempting to meet your requirements by hiring a piecework translator. This could be a large translation company or an individual freelancer. (You’d be surprised at the number of major corporations that have relied on solitary translators to handle their work!)
This translation method comes with significant risks. Although you can do your best to guarantee the quality of the individual translation by vetting your translator carefully, there’s nothing you can do to establish consistency over time. What happens when your next translation job is carried out by a completely different translator? (This can happen with large service companies as well as with individuals.) It will be impossible for your company to develop a consistent tone in your new market.
The beauty of working with an LSP is that most of the quality firms in this industry are highly flexible in the way they respond to your needs. Even if your current needs are minimal, establishing a long-term relationship with an LSP ensures a consistently high level of service. Your LSP can always expand the team working for you as your requirements grow more complex.
If you are making a major push to establish your organization in a new country, sticking with one LSP is also a good idea because your provider can customize a team to address the specifics of your industry. It’s quite common for LSPs working major contracts to bring in native-speaking specialists in your own field to provide even better translation and localisation services.
Choose a translation firm that offers you a single point of contact who will be on hand to discuss your requirements throughout the translation process, be this by phone or email. Avoid companies that simply want to take your raw content and provide a translated version without ongoing discussion. The translation of your content should be a fluid, collaborative process from start to finish.
You should also look for a firm that has the scope to adapt to your deadlines, offer a fast turnaround and manage several different projects at the same time, especially if you have content that needs to be translated on a regular basis. Although size isn’t everything, translation firms that operate at scale will typically have the staff and resources required to adapt to their clients’ needs more efficiently than smaller companies.
Being able to speak a language is no guarantee that an individual will make a good translator. This is why you should retain a firm that only uses qualified mother-tongue linguists with knowledge of your target dialect. Making sure that your translation agency only uses proven and fully-referenced linguists who have a track record of never failing to meet deadlines will also be vital.
Check that the translation company you use offers translators with sector-specific experience. If you need a technical document translated fast, you’ll need an agency that has a translator with knowledge of your industry on its books. Selecting a firm that has a large and diverse pool of linguists available will make this more likely.
At Link Translation, although 95% of the initial translation work is done by outside freelance personnel (so that we're able to perfectly match a linguist with a document's language pair AND subject matter), all material comes back through our office to undergo our multistage QC process. This QC process includes multiple levels of editing and proofreading. For interpreting assignments, our in-house staff remains involved every step of the way, keeping both interpreter and client informed and remaining available to take care of any last-minute issues or problems.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for when it comes to the translation industry. You’ll be able to go onto some websites and find translation services for next to nothing, but these will typically be of dubious quality. When using an agency, you’ll be paying for a certain service level, but this doesn’t mean you should have to shell out more than you need to. When looking for a translation firm, seek out an agency that is willing to price-match its competitors, even if it is at the top of its game.
At Link Translation, our pool consists of more than 200 qualified professional translators and interpreters. Each of them additionally has background in a specific technical discipline or disciplines.
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