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Have You Checked Your Glossary Lately?
by Terralíngua      Posted in  January 27, 2014
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Have You Checked Your Glossary Lately?The mantra for any successful business is, “Think Global, Act Local”. When applying this philosophy any product or service can be taken overseas or offshore and accepted in a culture if appropriately localized. In order for products or services to be relevant in the international arena, a professional translation is required. One telltale sign of a professional translation is the standardization of terms which results in a consistent message and presence. Glossaries and translation memories are the tools utilized to obtain this result. Unfortunately many businesses do not have one standard approved glossary and/ or have many versions and terms floating about without a consistent message.

What is a glossary?

Most professional translators use various translation tools and techniques to achieve the best possible translation of content in the target language, without altering the tone and context.

When translating, professionals use the help of a glossary, which is a set of guidelines and an organization’s specific terms and lingo. Adhering to a glossary ensures consistency in all forms of communication.

It is safe to say that without a well vetted glossary, a translator’s job becomes tricky. A glossary ensures that cost and time of translation is reduced and that the final product is seamless in comparison to the source language.

Getting the glossary ready

Translation is a continuous process as organizations churn out literature and content that needs to be faithfully translated in various target languages. Hence translation glossaries or style guides are essentially important to ensure terms are not literally “lost in translation” and localization is complete.

Many forward thinking organizations have created glossaries for their translation service to utilize. A professional translation service will ensure the glossary is updated with any new terms as well as ensure the organization’s feedback is incorporated in all glossary updates.

Earlier Linguists and translators used to prepare glossaries manually. In order to create a glossary manually with a meaningful vocabulary, multi-linguists had to engage in extensive term searches to pick out all possible organizational terms and standards.

Today, it is possible to extract technologically terms from the source language, without losing continuity and consistency. CAT (Computer Aided Translation) helps in quality control as well as avoiding inconsistency and introduction of new lingo or phrases as translation progresses.

How does it help businesses?

Glossaries help businesses stay consistent across all forms of communique as well as offer repetitive text discounts through translation memory. A professional translation service will ensure a glossary is in place and that a professional linguist is “driving” term use. For instance, words like photograph and picture often mean the same, however have different connotations. A professional linguist will ensure the glossary terms are used in the correct context. Speaking of pictures, another consistent consideration often overlooked are the graphic elements. It is important that the localized versions have the same quality of artwork and images available as the source to have the same look and feel as the original. A business should collect all graphic elements before localization as well as ensure the same logo is used in all literature
The process of creating glossaries should go through extensive validation and review by “in the field” day to day organizational experts and high level management first before final approval. Without a well formulated glossary, it is impossible to achieve the desired level of localization.

Some facts about it

While glossaries need to be complete and all inclusive, it is important to remember that long glossaries that are not regularly pruned and updated are hard to examine and susceptible to mistakes and inconsistent translations. Thus we should ensure that glossaries include only organization related terms, nomenclature and standards.

Glossaries must have both the context and meaning of the terms and should be organized by some reference in order to be easily searchable. Thus a glossary should also be easy to update and modify. A good glossary needs to include a list of not to be translated (NTBT) terms as well. A professional translation service can assist with glossary creation as well as utilizing the best tools in order to update an existing glossary.

Since e-commerce and the internet have influenced the way we do business, translation services and language service providers have become imminent. Several advanced tools and aids are available to ensure that translation and localization are consistent and cost effective. Thanks to well-developed glossaries and style guides, maintaining multilingual business literature and websites is feasible and even highly desirable.

Will you add to your 2014 corporate goals a consistent and organized glossary?

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