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Your Own Terms – Issue Five – Terms of Endearment

Terms of Endearment is discussed in issue Five of Your Own Terms, the biweekly comic about Sir Terminus: Crusader of Logic, Manly Valor, and Multilingual Terminology Management. Click here for previous issues.

Terms of Endearment

It’s no joke—we love talking data categories (which, admittedly, has never made us cool at parties). The fact of the matter is, the way in which you manage terminological attributes in your glossary has a direct effect on the usefulness, consistency, scalability, and integrability of your multilingual termbase. When looking for the right terminology management system for your organization, you should pay attention to how new data is entered and what measures are in place to minimize human error.

In traditional terminology management models, you generally have one of two options for entering new records. The most common way is to create entries outside of the terminology management system in a spreadsheet application. This is all well and good, but the problem with spreadsheets (aside from complete lack of traceability) is that they don’t enable you to avail yourself of “pick lists,” or drop-down menus with finite values for a given data category.

Without pick lists, the terminologist (or translator, project manager, etc.) has to enter data manually, which is less efficient, and which also paves the way for introducing human error. For example, if someone simply misspells a data category, then you are going to encounter problems when you go to import, convert, or migrate your terminological data to another system.

The other method of adding new terms and translations is to enter them directly into a terminology management system. As long as the system has an intuitive interface, users can take advantage of the productivity gains inherent in pick lists and ensure the consistency of the data they enter. Consistent data is key to producing a versatile glossary, because it’s absent of any variables that might otherwise muck up your import, conversion, or integration processes.

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TermWiki, the localization industry’s first completely online, wiki-based and collaborative terminology management system, enables you to define data categories and pick lists in a manner that best suits your content management needs. Because TermWiki is hosted online with a centralized database, any updates to data categories are automatically implemented throughout your entire glossary to ensure consistency between terms and across languages. So whether you’re managing a hundred terms or a million, TermWiki’s intuitive, standardized user interface will help ensure that no term ever goes astray.

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CSOFT International is a translation, localization, and globalization services provider that helps international businesses reach out to customers around the world.

  • Uwe

    Hi Licia,

    While it is true that spreadsheet programs like Excel offer the fuctionality to create picklists, it is probably safe to say that the average Excel user propably doesn’t use picklists whereas the average user of a terminology management system does.

    The reason for this is simple: In Excel, there are several layers of commands between the user and the availability of picklists; in a terminology management system like TermWiki, picklists are available by default.

  • A terminology management system is indeed key to ensuring consistent metadata, whereas spreadsheets have huge limitations. However, also spreadsheets allow users to define picklists with finite values, see Create a drop-down list in Excel.