10/02/2015

Terminology management: terminology creation options

A new year often brings new resolutions with it. If your resolution for this year is to develop systematic terminology work, there are various ways of putting this into practice…

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A new year often brings new resolutions with it. If your resolution for this year is to develop systematic terminology work, there are various ways of putting this into practice:

Terminology extraction

Previously used terminology is extracted from existing documents (manuals, parts lists, brochures, etc.). This approach is particularly suited to an initial terminology creation where there are no extensive terminology lists as yet and where the list is to be compiled for a language.
Linguistic and purely statistical tools are both available for the extraction. The latter filter frequently used words from a document to create a basic database of terminology. Since, unlike with linguistic tools, this does not automatically take word forms (e.g. plurals, conjugations) in their basic form, subsequent linguistic cleaning of the results is necessary afterwards. Both the extraction and the linguistic cleaning can be done by a language service provider. Sorting results alphabetically can also help to identify inconsistencies, e.g. spelling with and without a hyphen, straight away. The content of the resulting terminology list should then be checked and approved within the company. Compiling a brief guide in advance, outlining the things to watch out for during the cleaning process (e.g. spelling of product names, compound words, etc.) is recommended for this check.

Continuous terminology collection

If the corporate terminology already exists in one or more languages and is to be compiled in additional languages, the translation will provide the terminology.
This is ideally done before the first translation project or, at the very least, alongside it. To avoid one-word translations without context in the first scenario, it is useful if the existing terminology contains explanations, sentences for context or illustrations. If there is an opportunity to have the translations checked and approved by country offices or subsidiaries, this should be taken. Translating the terminology into new company languages will ensure the consistent use of specialist vocabulary which will also help reduce the correction phase.
New products, services and new areas of work require continual expansion of the terminology so that new terms are included in the existing list. Texts should therefore be checked by the writer for new technical terms in a language during authoring. Another option is terminology expansion alongside the translation where the translator suggests new terms in the source and target language. This approach means that the terminology database always complies with the latest corporate language.

You can find more information about terminology in the terminology management area.

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