Terminology management

With a terminology management strategy in place, organizations of any size are able to use the same terms consistently within and across the various documents and labeling that accompany a product or service. As these documents are typically created in a collaborative environment, terminology management is the most effi cient solution for making sure that the organization as a whole uses the same terms to describe the same features and functions.

“Terminology management can improve the effectiveness and effi ciency of an organization’s communication efforts across multiple channels.”

Uwe Muegge, CSOFT International Ltd.

It’s no easy task to identify the words that are important enough to mandate their consistent use within and across documents. If the organization has a team of terminology stakeholders (representatives from R&D, operations, technical, and marketing communications, not to forget legal) that identifi es and collects terms, the challenge is to reach consensus among the various groups and interests.

With comprehensive, project-specifi c termbases available at the beginning of a project, team members are free from the tedious task of researching terms on their own. The availability of a project termbase also reduces the danger of multiple coworkers accidentally coining multiple terms for the same feature, which, if undetected, has the potential to confuse the user or cause unnecessary expense and delays for terminology harmonization later on in the product lifecycle.

Correcting terminological inconsistencies in existing documents and mitigating the negative impact this additional quality assurance step has on a project’s budget and its release schedule is not the worst-case scenario. Much worse would be the case of a postponed launch caused by delays in the regulatory approval process because of incorrect or inconsistent terminology in the submission documents. I know of a submission that was rejected outright by a foreign regulatory body due to translation and terminology issues, which resulted in several million dollars in lost revenue.

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