For many enterprises, the processes of translation and localization can be daunting, but they don’t have to be. There are some steps that can make the undertaking easier. The two most important of these steps are Terminology Management and Enterprise Language Management.
Terminology refers to any collection of terms and concepts, usually concerned with a specific topic or subject and terminology management is the creation of a repository of terms for use and reuse. Typically, it’s a managed system controlled by people who define the terms, how they’re used and in what contexts, and keep them updated. Usually, management is done in an electronic and/or online system by a terminology manager who standardizes the information contained therein.
A good terminology manager ensures that meta-information is added to the termbase so that it shows up when people search for its associated keywords. They should also make sure that related words are linked to words in the same topic family.
This act of Terminology Management – of classifying and defining terms – is something that could be done using a specialized digital terminology tool such as TermWiki Pro, and should occur before translators ever encounter the terms. Managing terms, however, is still a process that takes place rather far downstream. Before getting there, an organization should focus on processes that occur upstream; an organization should establish an awareness and understanding of the need for Enterprise Language Management.
Enterprise Language Management
Enterprise Language Management is a concept much larger than Terminology Management. It requires internal, upstream stakeholders to understand and try to shape external audiences’ perceptions with the right messaging.
To use football as an illustration, imagine a fantasy team of Enterprise Language managers sitting at a roundtable deciding on the concepts and phrases that should be used to describe the game. Instead of calling an action a “blitz” (when four or five defensive players rush the quarterback at the very beginning of a play) they could have dubbed it a “scamper,” or they might have called a “tackle” (when the ball carrier is stopped and forced to the ground) a “tussle.” These word choices would have drastically altered the perceptions of the game, both for players and fans, and also for those who haven’t had much exposure to the game. The use of blitz, tackle, shotgun, and bomb all carry connotations of warfare, thus highlighting the highly competitive nature of the sport and serving to define how it’s perceived.
Though Enterprise Language Management is rarely ever that deliberate, it really ought to be. Businesses should carefully consider how their products and services are perceived and how the terms and language they use influence that perception.
While great Terminology Management is a set of processes that promote efficient, effective translation and localization, great Enterprise Language Management forms the underlying foundation that drives powerful corporate messaging both for internal confidence and external buy-in. Both are important, and both ultimately translate to greater success when going global.