Why termbases and terminology usage should be an important consideration for a language service provider

Natalia Pozharskaya 29 May 2013 5 min read
Managing terminology is a well-established best practice and ensures consistency in the quality of translations.

Managing terminology is a well-established best practice and ensures consistency in the quality of translations. As margins become tighter and clients are more price sensitive than ever before, language service providers (LSPs) need to provide the best quality of translation for the minimum cost. There are numerous CAT tools available today designed for terminology management, this article features MultiTerm. This application allows you to have more control over the translation process – you can create glossaries, convert into Trados Studio format and ensure final translation verification quality resulting in the production of effective glossaries and dictionaries.

Let’s take a look at CAT tools from a practical point of view; how can LSPs use these applications? Why are they important?

LSPs continually work to provide the client with the best quality translation; this means a translation that is contextually consistent. Managing terminology is a well-established best practice that enables consistency across multiple translations. Those LSPs that don’t maintain and manage their terminology databases are at risk of providing inconsistent translations. As margins become tighter and clients are now more price sensitive than ever before, LSPs are always working to provide the best translations for the minimum cost.

How would a terminology tool such as MultiTerm help with this?

  • Help to create a collaborative working relationship between the LSP and their translators. This will enable project managers to support and work efficiently with both translators and proofreaders; and a secondary benefit will be that the best translators want to keep working with you.
  • Time savings – the entire translation process will benefit from time savings including in the proofreading and final checking stage, making it easier to meet client deadlines.
  • Cost savings – less time (and resource) is spent on proofreading. This means lower prices can be charged to the client while still maintaining the profit margins for the LSPs.
  • Client satisfaction – the most important benefit. Using a tool such as MultiTerm clients will receive quicker, more consistent translations. They will trust the LSP and long term relationships will be secured.
An effective translation process is enhanced by using Terminology management:
  • When LSPs are sending the translation and any specific instructions to a translator, they should also include the Termbase and instruct them to bring the translation in line with the glossary. LSPs can also request that translators add any new terms to the glossary for review. This means the glossary will become an invaluable asset and perhaps even a product that the client can buy in the future. In Lingvajet’s experience as an LSP, we have found that if the translator has all the terminology available to them, they will automatically apply the terms preferred by the client and this will save time and money on proofreading and the consistency in translation output will increase client satisfaction.
  • On large projects it is unlikely that the PM will have knowledge of every language. However, as MultiTerm is tightly integrated into the Trados Studio environment, it can be used to verify the consistency of terminology even if the PM does not speak a particular language. If the translation received is inconsistent with the glossary used in Trados Studio, PMs can return the translation to the translator and request that they bring the translation in line with the glossary. Again, this can reduce the time and money spent on proofreading.
  • Using MultiTerm in translation processes, both translators and PMs can see not only the preferred terminology but also any forbidden terms, which can often be more important than the preferred terminology.
Benefits of MultiTerm:
  • MultiTerm allows you to arrange and filter your terminology in the most efficient way. Four types of search (normal search, wildcard search, fuzzy search and full text search) will allow both translators and PMs, not only to look for particular terms, but also collect information stored against other entries. This will facilitate the verification process and will help them see how particular terms are interrelated within the project, reducing the time spent on translation verification and increasing translation quality.
  • MultiTerm Termbases are multilingual, which will help you maintain and verify consistency for demanding multilingual projects.
  • Using these tools, terminology verification has never been easier. PMs no longer have to spend time verifying translation terminology by trawling through client’s, often contradictory, glossaries and instructions. Now they can use the Terminology verification tool to easily check for consistency.
  • MultiTerm Convert helps to collect and convert any existing glossaries into a Termbase so that you can start using the glossary immediately without spending any time on manual term verification. MultiTerm Desktop will help you to see immediately if there are any double entries and bring them in line with each other.
  • MultiTerm Extract allows you to extract terminology from the Translation Memory and feed into your Termbase quickly. This standardizes all terminology in your Translation Memory for a particular client. This significantly decreases the time spent on translation and proofreading and increases the efficiency and consistency of a translation and, as a result, client satisfaction.
  • Multimedia objects used in MultiTerm will help to add images for various terms (e.g. for technical translations) – clients will be happy to provide images especially if the translation is for a product catalogue or brochure. This will also allow for a better understand of the design, structure or configuration of various parts of equipment not just for translators, but for proofreaders and PMs.
  • MultiTerm also offers an online version to allow access to Termbases via the internet without having the software installed on your computer.
  • The entire terminology verification process is much easier if PMs standardize synonymy of translation. If terminology is not standardized translators could use a variety of term synonyms which, although correct, will slow down the verification process and can result in an inconsistent translation and make it difficult for the reader to follow.
MultiTerm offers many benefits to LSPs and PM but only if used correctly. Like any software tool, training is key to understanding how to use CAT tools successfully. At Lingvajet, we work both as an LSP and a Trados authorized training centre, and we have witnessed first-hand what can happen if PMs are not properly trained to use the software. Good training gives them a powerful tool to perform assignments in the most efficient and effective manner which helps keeps the overall cost of the translation process to a minimum. Training also enables PMs to pass on valuable guidance to the freelancers, increasing their level of expertise, helping them to cope with their translation tasks in a more efficient manner and, in general, raise the overall standard of quality in the translation industry. By providing informed solutions to questions and demonstrating excellent CAT tool skills, the PMs will also develop an enviable personal image out in the marketplace. A win/win situation for all!
Natalia Pozharskaya

Natalia Pozharskaya

Managing Director, Lingvajet Ltd
Natalia is the Managing Director of Lingvajet Ltd, a training and translation company based in South West London.
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