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If you wonder what makes it worth paying for Professional Translation Services to handle your Crisis Communication Translations, Terminology Management should be on top of your list. Take an example of one of our recent Corporate Communications projects where a company was closing one of their facilities. Our 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 going forward. 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. Preflight is a process in the project management preparation workflow to identify terms that may need further insight, clarification, definition, etc.  By doing this ahead of time and having that information answered for the translator, the translator can write more fluidly and project managers can be assured that they are translated correctly given that enough information has been supplied.

Terminology Management is a critical tool in corporate crisis communications as it combines so many different areas of expertise. Unless you translate a well planned program like open enrollment employee communications, translation often needs to benefit from terminology management on the go. What are the challenges with terminology management?

Capturing Corporate Terminology in Crisis Communication Translations

Typically when dealing with Crisis Communication Translations, 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 from the client to us for translation. Where terminology management helps is to add data such as department names, 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 Volumes in a Short Time Frame

There is simply not enough time to review everything in translation on a client’s end. This is the main reason why we never recommend that client reviewers attempt 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 of the client. The same situation happens when a client has their own internal people translate some documents. It sounds like a great way to get the ball rolling, but you are introducing a style of writing and terminology that may never be consistent with the rest of the materials. There are always ways to scale up professional translation but any sort of breakdown of workflow comes back if you don’t invest the time to set some general guidelines that are 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 and your readers will not get confused. 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 gain more efficiency and accuracy. 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.

Bringing it all together

The art of 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 in the source language to start. We add information fields such as definitions, notes, gender information and synonyms. Then we share a list with our client reviewer to verify translated terms or get further clarification on the source terminology . This Termbase (glossary) 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.

Conclusion

Translation Management is still a core competency that helps organizations stay on messaging and make sure that they are communicating effectively and accurately to their consumers or employees. Even with 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.

Project management is one of our core competencies. When you are choosing a language service provider, consider what you want in the level of service offered.

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