It goes without saying that you want the best and most consistent translation quality you can get across all the languages you work in. But, without an unlimited budget, that desire can seem patently out of reach unless you understand three “tricks” for improving translation quality that have far less to do with unlimited resources and more to do with streamlining the process to promote efficiency and consistency.
Beyond Mere Translation – A 3-step Plan to Linguistic Asset Management
Formalizing the translation process to capture commonly used terms, phrases, and industry jargon lets you catalog these translation fragments and store them for future use. The industry shorthand for this process is Linguistic Asset Management. And while it’s broken into three categories, it has one aim: Consistency in your communication with your customer.
Consistency = Translation Quality
These stored linguistics assets – whether they’re technical terms or brand-right marketing phrases – give you a consistent messaging style that connects your customers to your brand. The more components of customer communication that are consistently used, the more familiar your brand will be as customers interact with it over time – and the faster you can build a relationship.
Consistency = Cost Efficiency
Beyond simply sounding familiar to your customers, an effective Language Asset Management system lets you lower translation costs. Your LSP can translate a term or phrase once, store it in a database (or Translation Memory) and then automate the process to accelerate the translation of the term the next time it’s used – all without sacrificing quality.
The 3 Branches of Linguistic Asset Management:
1. Translation Memory: Phrases, Fragments, and Thoughts to Build On.
Within your communication, certain phrases and sentences are used dozens, even hundreds of times. Translation Memory (TM) collects these phrases for re-use. “Uses two AAA batteries” is an example of a phrase an electronics manufacturer may use across multiple products and languages.
2. Terminology Management: Technical Wording Challenges Solved.
Many industries have unique jargon and technical terms that must remain consistent across multiple languages. A searchable terminology management database or “term base” lets the translation team, who may not be technical experts in your field, quickly and consistently translate these unique terms faster and with less guesswork.
How do I set up a Terminology Management System?
While the terms may be technical, managing them is, thankfully, not. Simply perform an audit in the starting language and highlight consistently used technical terms that “stick out” as not being general language.
For example, a medical device company operating in 6 languages may need to consistently term “myocardial infarction”. Once you have the terms identified, you can also leave notes to briefly explain the term and the context of its use. This information will make any translator’s job easier – and ensure proper translations every time the term is used.
3. Style Guides: Setting the Standard for Future Translation
Just like a compass heading gives you a guide to keep you from straying off course, Style Guides are a specially built framework to contain the stylistic needs of your brand. Maintaining a globally consistent look and feel for your brand is a challenge that compounds with every new language and linguist you add to your mix – for the simple fact that every linguist has a personal style. But a company style guide can override a linguist’s personal style of writing, preferred terminology, and orthography to keep your global voice consistent.
Need some consistency? Let us put our TQE (Translation Quality Evaluation) expertise to work for you.
If you’re not managing your language assets as well as you like or getting tired of chasing brand inconsistencies across markets, we can help. Maintaining language quality is what we do at Chilistore. Our experts have decades of experience smoothing workflows, implementing Linguistic Asset Management systems, and helping great brands produce consistent communications around the globe. Give us a shout to see how we can help you do the same.