Implementing terminology - take a hiatus on tradition
Discover the importance of terminology, and how to use it, with this latest blog from Lydia Simplicio.
Other than active listening, when it comes to other forms of communication it takes tremendous effort on my part. Pronunciation through to contextual accuracy, it is a skill I have little aptitude for. Instead, what I seem to have inherited is an unwanted and at times embarrassing talent of unintentional irony. Historically I have been told that I should make my faux pas public as they are hilariously funny. I even recall as youngster, a teacher suggesting I should always keep a dictionary with me. To which I replied, “What use is that if I don’t know how to use it correctly?”.
Yet as I battle with this personal problem, few would question my professional accreditation and industry insights. Partly because of my years of service to the localization industry, but more so because of the abundant number of client engagements I’ve participated in. This does leave me feeling confident and at liberty to confirm that the topic of terminology has always proved valid and intriguing to prospects. It takes very little effort to convey the benefits of terminology as, for them, ensuring consistency is often a point of contention.
Why terminology matters
Chips! Both in singular and plural form- does one mean fish and chips (potato fries) or gambling chips (money)? Maybe you’re referring to a chip found in an electrical device (component) or perhaps paint chips (flake of paint)? And those are just the British English definitions, let’s not complicate things further by discussing the American English interpretations! Context matters and it’s not always a trivial matter.
A terminology solution should manage more than contextual accuracy, but also reflect term life cycles. My vocabulary and understanding are still today being tested and expanding with new words and terms. Roll back to just a few short years ago, I had never heard of words like; gaslighting, wokery, furlough, xenophobia, neurodiversity. Mostly likely because they have only recently become relevant to me, or possibly because words such as these have been more regularly utilised by various news channels.
Keeping up to date with the change of language is important. Not only from a social acceptance point of view, but also so you can keep on top of markets that are forever shifting. For example, SDL as a company no longer exists, it now forms part of RWS since it was acquired back in 2020. As a result of this, our CAT tool has been rebranded from SDL Trados Studio to Trados Studio. No other tool could manage changes to terms such as these better than a terminology solution.
Getting started with terminology
So, let’s say you’re ready to embrace terminology and all the benefits it can bring, but where do you begin? Below are some of the typical starting topics.
How do you want to handle:
- Migrating existing terms
- Harvesting project related terms
- Domain specific terms
- Pipe marks, synonyms, cross terms and linked terms, entry ID’s
- Termbase definitions
- Custom description fields, with various value types. Some of which could be mandatory.
- Custom layouts and classifications
- New Term, change term requests
- Term approval and workflows via majority voting or seniority approval
- Consistency, centralisation, accessibility, and rights
If I’ve not lost you, then you are the rare few. All too often I would see prospects lost in a maze of detail and uncertainty. Not knowing how to balance the benefit of implementing terminology, against the complexity of getting started. Many of you may have even tried using our terminology solution, MultiTerm, which is a great tool for those that initially need to manage such complex terminology needs. However, for the majority, the plethora of settings can be overwhelming.
Thinking back to my response to the teacher “What use is that if I don’t know how to use it correctly?”, the suggestion of me keeping a dictionary was fair. But the thought of adding another book to my bookcase was impractical and did not resolve my concern of being able to use it effectively. So, I can relate to your hesitance of embracing terminology if you have no idea how to use the tools required to leverage it.
Therefore, while I could promote traditional solutions such as MultiTerm here, I won’t. Instead, I would like to introduce you to the world of API’s. Using Trados Studio’s APIs, many applications have been developed to help users get started with terminology; here are a couple of examples:
We know many people begin their terminology journey by saving terms in Microsoft Excel spreadsheets. However, Excel doesn’t integrate with Trados Studio, meaning you cannot easily leverage your terms while working in the Studio editor. Instead, you may be looking up terms manually and cross-checking that you are using them correctly. If this sounds like you, we have an app that will help: TermExcelerator. This free app allows you to connect to your Excel spreadsheet as if you were working with a proper MultiTerm termbase! This app is available to download from free on the RWS AppStore.
This tool does exactly what its name suggests. It converts glossaries from one format to another and supports a range of file formats including sdltb, xls, xlsx, csv, txt, tbx, utx, glo, multiterm export files and tmx. This is great if you already have an existing termbase, as you can easily convert it into something Trados Studio can read, with little effort on your part. Again, this creation has been made available for free.
If you’re completely new to terminology and are starting from scratch, projectTermExtract can help get you started. It adds a feature to Trados Studio that allows you to extract term candidates from your project- it identifies words that are used repeatedly throughout your documents (you can fine-tune these settings as you see fit), walks you through the steps to translate the terms and then you can export the file to Excel and use the Glossary Converter app mentioned above to create a termbase. It’s free and really quite clever!
When starting your terminology journey, remember to look beyond the traditional tools. Public API’s and apps like these are simple and easy to use and could facilitate growth into more traditional terminology solutions, if required. Thanks to the Trados AppStore Development Team, these apps are just the start of what can be done and are easily accessible on the app store.
To answer the question “Can anyone use terminology” the answer is a firm “Yes! You can with Trados”.