If you wonder what makes it worth paying for professional crisis communication translations, terminology management should be on top of your list. Take an example of a recent Corporate Communications project where a company was closing one of their facilities. The client took the investment to inform their Spanish speaking employees by having everything translated. This included information about benefits, logistics, job search help, etc, as well as managing the brand reputation of the corporation. What we didn’t have time for was to get into a lengthy discovery phase to get to know the organization and get a lot of preflight done.
Terminology Management is a critical tool in corporate communications as it combines so many different areas of expertise. And unless you translate a well planned program like open enrollment employee communications, translation often needs to benefit from terminology management on the go. What the challenges in terminology management?
Capturing Corporate Terminology in Crisis Communication Translations
With Corporate Crisis Communications, you hit the ground running without knowing exactly the big picture. We learn about the situation as we go along as communicated pieces get distributed for translation. Where terminology management helps is to add data such as department names, their roles and responsibilities. Another important aspect is to verify the accuracy of the English information. Don’t forget to verify things like phone numbers, websites and the right departments or people that are referenced. With so much going on, it’s not always the top priority, but with good terminology management you have a consistent approach that’s close to having a corporate style guide.
Take a look at this short video on how we capture terminology early on in a project.
A large part of translating corporate communications is to understand corporate specific terminology. It helps to have client reviewers on board who understand how the corporate lingo is used among foreign language speakers. In fact, we believe help with corporate terminology should be the main focus of any client reviewer on any translation job. You can have the best industry experts translating, but that doesn’t necessarily make the translation relevant. Every corporation has its own corporate culture and terminology plays a big role. Terminology Management provides the means to stay on task with the right corporate terminology throughout the communications.
Handling Large Volume in a Short Time Frame
There is simply not enough time to review everything in translation. This is also why we never recommend client reviewers attempting to review all materials. Pretty soon, that process breaks down because of the volume that needs to be handled among the many other regular job duties. The same goes with having client reviewers translate some documents. It sounds like a great way to get the ball rolling, but you are introducing a style and glossary of terms that may never be consistent with the rest of the materials. Plus, there are always ways to scale up professional translation but any sort of breakdown of work comes back if you don’t invest the time to set some general guidelines that is followed by one editor to make it all consistent
The process for reviewing all materials can break down very quickly. Terminology verification on the other hand is a fast and reliable way to make sure that you are consistent. When working with teams of translators in tandem on various materials, we often choose one main editor to be in charge of making everything consistent. Once decisions are being made on terminology, this needs to be reported back to the translators in order to get more efficient and accurate. When the organization chooses a client reviewer, terminology management is the only way to efficiently lock in preferences and report back to everyone.
A quick look at our Terminology Verification Tool to ensure consistency.
Capturing External Terminology
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of terminology in crisis communication translations. While corporate terminology can certainly be at play in communications around the impact of COVID-19, there is also the question of terminology related to the pandemic itself. For instance, the words pandemic, epidemic and endemic all mean different things, and with what can feel like a bombardment of information coming from various sources, your employees are trusting you to communicate clear and accurate information. According to the 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer Special Report on Trust and the Coronavirus, “employer communications is the most credible source of information about the coronavirus.” Those surveyed for this report were 5% and 12% more likely to believe information about the novel coronavirus from their employer over a government website and traditional media, respectively. In order to provide accurate information in line with this trust, ensuring that you are using correct terminology can be essential. Yale Medicine is one of many outlets that has published a COVID-19 glossary to help clarify the terms being used across various channels such as news outlets and social media.
Not only does Language Solutions work with subject matter expert translators who have experience with terminology management, but our teams also go the extra mile when it comes to research. Should a new term come up in a source document, they will not guess or approximate. If it’s not a term with which they are already familiar, they will do the research needed to be sure that they are using the most up-to-date and appropriate term in the target language.
Should questions persist, our processes are such that our teams are also empowered to ask questions. Our certified project managers will ensure that any questions our translators and editors have are answered to client specifications and if need be, a dialogue can be opened among all the parties in order to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Bringing it all together
The art in terminology management is a consistent approach to mining, cataloging and verifying terminology throughout the workflow. We use SDL Studio for our translation management needs. This allows us to do an automatic extraction of frequent terminology to start. We add information fields such as definitions, notes, gender information and synonyms. We share a list with our client reviewer to verify terms or get clarification. This Termbase becomes a living document that gets updated. The art in this work is to have the patience to identify and catalog important terminology that may be used in the future.
From there, the final step in terminology management is to verify that the terms are applied consistently. We use our Terminology Verification technology to aid us in that. However, the art of managing terminology is the upkeep and relevance of any terms added. Adding terminology meta data such as subject, definitions, acronyms, synonyms and etc. make the Termbase an asset for an organization for years to come.
Translation Management is still a core competency that helps organizations staying on messaging and making sure that they are communicating effectively and accurately to their consumers or employees. Even with to large volumes with short turnaround times, there are always options to get more work done faster. However, the key differentiation with good translation management is that terminology is managed centrally and that each job goes through a standardized QA process with talented translators that can work fast, accurately and have the tools to manage expectations. When projects are being rushed, it’s easy to get ahead and put every possible resource on the job, including internal resources. However, what we see is that when you start off a project with diligence and good terminology management, the project can be managed across multiple professional resources efficiently, while maintaining a high level of accuracy.