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terminology management

Contributor(s): Sarah Lewis

Terminology management is the systematized collection of concepts and terms with the purpose of unifying and standardizing technical documentation. It can be carried out in a variety of formats including electronic databases or file glossaries.

The process of terminology management is typically carried out in three phases. The first phase, known as terminology extraction, is the gathering terms that are specialized, relevant and frequently used across an organization's documents. Secondly, the list of collected terms is verified for suitability and expanded upon, adding semantic information such as definition, grammatical information and usage examples. Lastly, once approved, the organization must update all materials to accurately reflect the terminology as well as maintain and expand the glossary itself.

This type of language planning creates a consistent terminology and voice, while minimizing ambiguity, across all of an organization's written components such as website pages, marketing collateral, product descriptions and technical manuals.  Organizing terminology can be done independently or by purchasing terminology management software.

Terminology management is important when multiple teams or employees are working on the same project of a specific quality standard. This is especially essential when not everyone involved is knowledgeable or a specialist within the subject field and needs a resource to streamline language. Teams that could benefit from a standardized termbase are project management, marketing, editorial, sales or employees involved with translating materials.

Advantages of terminology management

  • Minimizes a delay in editing projects.
  • Reduces internal and external miscommunications.
  • Increases readability for the end user or reader.
  • Decreases inconsistencies across documentation.
  • Makes it easier to update, replace, search or access term information across an entire organization.
  • Reinforces a professional company image and expertise within the field.
This was last updated in October 2018

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