The Role of a Terminology Database in your Technical Translation

The Role of a Terminology Database in your Technical Translation

As one of the UK’s most successful translation agencies, we are often approached by large multinationals looking for highly technical translation projects delivered in numerous languages. While the scale of the work creates its own problems, it is the ambiguity of the language, particularly when dealing with company-, product- or industry-specific terminology, which often proves to be the biggest challenge.

In this case, when multiple meanings exist for a term or a phrase, or where there’s no exact translation for a particular term, we create a terminology database to ensure the quality and consistency of our work.

What is a terminology database?

Quite simply, a terminology database is a centralised collection of industry-specific or technical terms with their corresponding translation in one or multiple languages. This acts as a central repository of approved terminology.

It is created to serve as a guide to the translation and localisation experts handling the project to help them manage the key terminology they come across. It can include acronyms, titles, names or subject-specific information, as well as terms and phrases that should remain in the source language.

Why are terminology databases used?

Although it takes time to create a terminology database in the first instance, in the long term it speeds up translation projects, reduces costs and improves their quality and consistency.

For this reason, terminology databases are always one of the first services we recommend when undertaking any large-scale translation or localisation project where there’s an abundance of specialist terms.

  • Quality – Creating a terminology database helps to remove much of the ambiguity that exists when translating one language into another. The subjective nature of language means that mistakes can occur, but a terminology database, or ‘termbase’ as it is also known, helps to ensure difficult terms are translated accurately whenever they are used.
  • Consistency – When working with leading brands, it is essential that a level of consistency is delivered across all communications, regardless of the language being used. Once a terminology database has been approved by a brand, it can be used by every linguist throughout the project to deliver a standardised translation.
  • Speed – Every translator who works on one of our projects is not only a mother tongue speaker but they also have specific knowledge and experience of your sector. However, that does mean they’ll be familiar with every technical term they come across. Developing a terminology database before the project begins can eliminate this research time and allow them to complete the translation quickly and efficiently.
  • Cost – A terminology database reduces the turnaround times for translation projects and subsequently reduces the cost. The more source material there is, the greater the cost savings will be.

How can we help?

Do you have a large-scale technical translation project you’d like help with? We work with brands like Santander and Vodafone to deliver the right message in any language. Call 02392 987 765 or email to discuss your project.