Terminology management?

When we communicate, we can often be talking about different things even if we’re using the same words. This can be amusing in everyday conversations – for instance when the “wrong” word is used in a situation (e.g. “bank” = “river bank” as opposed to “bank” = financial institution) – and people then realize with surprise that they are talking about completely different things, even though they have used the same words.

Conversely, people might use different terms (synonyms) when referring to the same thing, making mutual understanding difficult or even impossible, particularly when talking about a specialized field. To communicate technical content clearly and without contradiction, a defined and consistent terminology is required and is essential for knowledge transfer and organization.

With the increasing specialization of expert knowledge (and the corresponding specialist vocabulary) in science, technology and business, many companies are developing their own company-specific terminology (corporate language). This contributes to corporate identity and smooth internal communications, raises the the company’s profile on the market and enhances trust in and recognition of the company or brand.

Implementing professional terminology management in a company also sets the stage for reducing translation costs by minimizing terminological searches and facilitating more efficient use of translation tools. The real added value of terminology work, however, lies in improving the quality of documentation in terms of clarity, comprehensibility and consistency.

Systematic terminology work is therefore a crucial quality factor for structuring specialized knowledge. It not only addresses the many complex relationships between terms and their underlying principles – it also includes steps such as terminology extraction, terminology cleansing, term creation, the management of terminology in databases, and the maintenance and control of terminology usage.

If consistency and clarity are prioritized early on in the process of terminology creation and use, the more likely it is that this quality gain will keep growing at each step of documentation creation and with each language to be translated. This is a huge bonus in specialized multilingual communication and ultimately reduces misunderstandings, queries, time and additional costs over the long term.

Terminology projects

As with all extensive projects, it is essential to clearly define the objectives and requirements of the terminology project and set different priorities depending on the established goals.

When launching a project like this, it’s essential to decide on the scope of the terminology to be developed and which systematic approach to take. In practice, a decision must be made in advance on whether terminology analysis should be selective (addressing a specific terminology problem in a particular translation situation), text-related (covering the terminology of an entire specialized text), or subject-related (comprehensive terminological coverage of a defined subject area).

In addition, descriptive terminology work (describing the status of current terms) requires a different approach from prescriptive/standardizing terminology work (developing a desired status). This means that the structures and processes of terminology work must also be adapted to the specific project requirements.

If the documentation is to be translated into multiple languages, the complexity of multilingual terminology work should not be underestimated. This task is particularly challenging because it involves developing, comparing and potentially harmonizing the terminology systems of different linguistic and cultural communities.

Do different departments in your company use various terms for the same thing, even in the source language? We can help you standardize your corporate terminology.


Professional terminology management is a central element for creating high-quality documentation, ensuring the standardized use of terms, transparency in terminology and consistent spelling.

The earlier terminology control is used and implemented in the product and information development process chain, the more targeted and efficient it will be as a crucial knowledge carrier supporting the achievement of technical language communication goals.


Terminology management: Recording, processing, maintenance and provision of terminological data.

Terminology management: Identifying potential term pairs in existing documents.

Harmonization of terminology: Linguistic cleansing of terms, checking for synonyms, standardization of databases.

Development and creation of a terminology database.

Migration of existing terminology data to IT-based terminology management systems.

Any questions?

Questions about terminology, language combinations, specialist areas, file formats, an upcoming translation project, or your internal translation workflows in general? We can look back on 30 years of experience in the translation and localization sector and work with you to develop customized solutions and optimized workflows for your company and your translation projects.