Challenges in Terminology and How to Overcome Them

Using the accurate terminology is a critical aspect of the translation process. The wrong terminology can alter the original meaning and needless to say, ruin the quality of the translated project. There are several challenges that pop up as part of a translation project.

Some of these challenges are common to all translation processes. In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at these challenges and the solutions that can be applied to overcome them.

When the Client Reviewer Gets Replaced

There’s not much one can do when an employee moves to greener pastures. However, it does have consequences on the work the particular employee was responsible for. This is all too common in the translation world, especially when the translation reviewer from the client’s side changes.

The replacement reviewer can end up adding their own terms to the content and even cause inconsistencies trying to do their job. This further complicates things when the “corrected” version comes back to the translation team and has to be updated on the TM or Translation Memory.

In an ideal world, translation processes would be carried out by the same translation team for eternity. There are several advantages to this. The first is familiarity. The team becomes used to the client’s way of doing things and therefore, can ensure expectations are met at all times. When the
content is reviewed and the feedback applied, the team has approved content they can refer to and a glossary of terms that should and shouldn’t be used.

If a previously approved term has been changed, the translation team can launch an inquiry and make the necessary changes.

However, we don’t live in an ideal world… So, what’s the solution?

Well, when faced this particular challenge, it is best to discuss things with the new reviewer. The discussion is best had between the reviewer and the team’s lead linguist. It can lead to the clearing of doubts. The team can learn what terms are no longer approved and why.

The process then continues from here. It might set back things a little, but it’s the best solution so far. You could also ask your client to keep you updated on relevant personnel changes. Some clients might agree to this. Knowing that a new reviewer will be taking over can help your translation team stay prepared.

No Reviewer
What happens when there is no one to review the terminology from the client’s side? Well, this is a challenge that’s just as likely to pop up as the previous one.

In this case, your best bet is to go with a third party reviewing service. You can hire SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) from the same industry as your client to help you out. These SMEs possess domain and linguistic expertise, which can more than make up for the lack of a client reviewer.

Varying Preferences in Terminology

This is probably the most confusing challenge of all. Though it’s not common, it has been known to occur. Sometimes, terminology preferences can vary from department to department. For example, internal documents might need to be translated using terminologies that are specific to each department, even though the core matter is the same.

Sometimes you even have situations where the content needs to be translated with varying terminology for different divisions within the same department.

The best solution, in this case, is to establish specific TMs for each division and use the appropriate TM for each team. However, if the terminology for each division isn’t voluminous, your team can simply create division-specific glossaries.

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