13 Aug Vocabulary consistency: a characteristic of professional translations
Every sector has a specific language: technical terms, colloquial phrases and nomenclature that are commonly used by those in certain fields. Companies tend to adopt this vocabulary and coin their own definitions or specific names for their products.
When you translate your content, you have to pay particular attention to the consistency of your communication. Vocabulary consistency is a typical characteristic of translations performed by professionals.
Maintaining a clear and consistent message
Imagine having a company that makes industrial packaging that has to translate its site into Spanish. The term “nastri trasportatori” (conveyor belts) in Spanish can be translated in at least three different ways, but you can decide that, whether by agreement or experience with the dialog of your clients, one translation is better than other.
Once the correct term is chosen, you should use this at least for the title of the pages and menus that refer to “nastri trasportatori”. Perhaps in longer texts, you could vary the term by using a synonym. But in the main parts, particularly where the text is repeated (top menu, side menu, footer, individual descriptions), it is essential to always use the same word.
Continuously varying the translation of the same term in repeating text seems less professional and more inconsistent.
The professional approach to vocabulary consistency
In our experience, we have seen many internally managed translations that show problems in vocabulary consistency.
The main reason is that the job was not done by a professional translator: maybe it was translated by a mother-tongue agent or back office personnel familiar with the language. Like we’ve pointed out various times on this blog, just knowing the language well is not enough to deliver a well-done translation project!
A professional translator can maintain consistency between the texts because they start from a fixed point, such as the terminology to use and the concepts to communicate. Defining these aspects requires research and collaboration with the client. It also uses some instruments that simplify the work and never forget how certain words have been translated!
Technology at your service: Translation Memory and Glossary
Today the Translation Management Systems allow translators to manage projects in an easier and more organized way. These platforms offer functions that suggest repeating phrases and terms to use during the translation of the content.
The Glossary is an instrument within the TMS that contains words important to the company or the reference sectors together with a definition and the correct translation. A pre-defined Glossary does not exist: in the project start-up phase, this asset is created so that all the translators can access the same information to maintain consistent vocabulary throughout the texts.
The Translation Memory is a database that registers sentences and segments of text previously used in other translations. When a text is translated, these functions check and suggest the use of previously translated elements when possible. The result is that the project proceeds more quickly and consistency is maintained between the translations!
Vocabulary consistency between documents communicates professionalism and improves the image of your brand. But to obtain it, you must rely on the professionals!