Terminology impacts your brand whether you like it or not

Correct terminology, shared first place, 81% of respondents. This is not an analysis of the recent Finnish parliamentary election; we are talking about Traduct’s customer survey results. We asked respondents to name the five most important factors in translation services, and terminology was the clear winner: 81 of respondents felt that correct terminology is the most important element of a translation. We have taken this feedback to heart and elevated the role that terminology and terminology management play in Traduct’s service offering. 
But does it really matter what word you use if you get the point across? That’s precisely the problem – when meanings vary enough, there can be trouble understanding. Terms are important because they are not ordinary words whose meanings are more or less dependent on the situation; they are a label attached unambiguously to one concept which needs to be clear to everyone: the company’s personnel, stakeholders and, above all, customers. Terminology management ensures that everyone is talking about the same things using the same names. 
Everyday language is always somewhat more ambiguous and situation-specific. For instance, we could say that someone ‘works out of their house’, but we can also say that a company’s employees ‘work in-house’ – the first house refers to a private dwelling and the second to a company. No one really minds, because the meaning is clear from the context and the idioms are familiar to everyone. 
When we switch from everyday lingo to more specific, professional language, ambiguity and situation-specific phrases should be avoided. Ideally, the same concept is always described using the same term and each term has only one meaning. 
A company’s own terminology – how they talk about their products and services, what concepts and terms they use – affects everything they do, from production to marketing, sales and any related content creation and, naturally, also the translation of content. Unclear terminology is a fairly common problem that leads to misunderstandings, unnecessary work and additional costs. Consistent terminology, on the other hand, saves work, time and money. The increasingly online nature of business and trade highlights the significance of harmonised and terminologically precise brand communication.
In other words, a clear concept system and comprehensible terms refine brands, while poor choices tarnish both products and services. An extensive survey showed that 72 per cent of respondents considered inconsistent terminology to have a negative impact on a company’s brand.


Term bank in the cloud

Traduct’s effective solution for managing your company’s terminology is qTerm: the terms produced by our translation professionals are taken to the cloud, where they are also available to you in real time. The benefit is mutual: translators know what terms to use and your content creators can use the terminology in their work. Everyone’s work becomes more efficient and messages remain harmonised. The benefits are significant, especially if your organisation has a lot of content creators in more than one location. 
We cannot always do something about imprecise concepts and terminology, but it is important to ensure that the terms used by a company in its communications remain crystal clear. Let’s take control of your terminology and take it to the cloud! 
Benefits of systematic terminology management:  
•    Consistent and uniform terminology refines your organisation’s brand: communication becomes precise and professional. 
•    Both internal and external communication become more efficient, time is saved and misunderstandings are avoided when everyone talks about the same things using the same terms. 
•    A cloud-based term bank harnesses all of the translators’ and experts’ knowledge for the use of the entire organisation. 
•    The cloud platform is an efficient feedback channel from an organisation’s experts to the providers of language services: translators, editors, interpreters and content creators can rely on the terminology they use and avoid making the same corrections over and over again. 

Turkka Kulmala
The writer is Traduct's head honcho, self-proclaimed terminology freak and language decoder