Why should you invest in term base creation, glossaries or style guides when ordering translation?

Building a bank of translation resources can be a wise investment

If you’re interested in getting the very best out of your business translation provider, then your next step might be to invest in creating translation resources for them to use. From linguistic style guides to help writers perfectly match your company tone to glossaries detailing your preferred terminology, providing your language translation services team with extra guidance can really help improve the quality of the finished translation, and many translation agencies will also be able to work with you in developing these resources. Creating top-quality term bases, glossaries or style guides is not an overnight job, but for companies that are serious about their foreign language markets, creating linguistic resources is a must for top-quality results. Read on to discover more about the benefits of developing translation resources for your company.

Consistency and accuracy

One of the primary benefits of developing translation resources is that they can help you improve the consistency and accuracy of the translations you receive. For example, if your company works in a highly technical area, it would be well worth your while to invest in glossary creation services. Here, you provide documentation such as user manuals, product descriptions or website texts to an expert in glossary creation who uses highly specialised software and his/her own expertise to determine which are the key terms for your business. You can specify how many key terms you wish the expert to find, and your project manager will be able to guide you in finding a suitable number. Once you have acquired the list of key terms and looked them over, the next step is to have them translated into your target language by the very best translators you can find. These primary translators will be establishing the foundations for all subsequent translation into this language, so you’ll need qualified and experienced experts in your field to ensure that all the key terms are translated perfectly. These primary translators will use their expertise in your industry, the documents you provide them and their exemplary research skills to ensure that everything is correct. Then you receive the final glossary, listing the source language and target language terms next to each other, and can hand this to any future translators, to ensure that they are all calling a spade a spade.

This process is a great way of ensuring consistency in highly technical texts, and is extremely popular in fields such as medical, legal, engineering, automotive, telecommunications and anything else with a high degree of specialised vocabulary. This approach can also be vital for companies that use set phrases, slogans or catchphrases in their marketing material. By defining the key phrases that reflect the ethos of your company and having them carefully translated by a gifted translator with a great deal of marketing knowledge and a flair for writing, you can then provide future translators with an excellent reference that will guide their work in the target language.


Even if your company does not deal with detailed technical vocabulary or slogan-based marketing, you might still benefit from investing in a style guide. Many of the world’s largest companies have built up a brand image that is embedded in everything they do. Think of the economy, stylishness and simplicity of Apple’s branding or the trustworthy, dependable image of the BBC – for each of these organisations their brand identity is carried through in every aspect of their presentation, from the language they use to their preferred design elements, from fonts and colours to logos and images. These companies understand that brand identity has a huge influence on customers’ perceptions of and emotions towards a company, their gut feelings of loyalty and belonging, and what they say about the company to their friends. Exceptional brand identity taps into memories, desires, stories and relationships; it turns a product into a symbol of everything the customer wants, and it turns a distant company into a close friend. Nowadays the phenomenon of memes going viral on the internet is enough to demonstrate the importance of an instant connection with readers, and even though the majority of them will not be able to put their finger on why they love a particular brand, you can be sure that somewhere along the line somebody has thought very carefully about how to present the company image.

Perhaps you have already put a huge amount of thought into your brand identity, and developed ways of embedding it in your written materials, or perhaps your company wants to develop this aspect of its marketing strategy. In either case, developing and/or adapting a style guide for use abroad should be a priority. Attention to detail always pays off, in this case because it means that translators will have access to comprehensive guidelines on how you want to express yourself. Style guides offer rules on your preferred tone, vocabulary and sentence length, on your terminology, format of dates and measurement units, preferred grammatical phrases, use of abbreviations, symbols and layout features and more. A well-thought-out, well-translated style guide can help your company’s written material to shine. It can improve your readers’ perception of your company’s professionalism, create a sense of reliability, dependability and trust, and ultimately increase your sales.

Thinking about future work

In creating any resources to help your professional translators, you are building an architecture of support for the future. Over the years, you can refine, update or change these resources as your business grows, and whenever a new translator, copywriter or other professional comes on board you will have the resources to hand, ensuring that they get up to speed on your preferences with minimum fuss. Having excellent guidance documentation means that new translators can understand your company’s image and your products in greater depth and more quickly. Pretty much every technical translator has a horror story or two about the time they were asked to translate a description of a new piece of machinery which they had never seen, and which the company did not provide any diagrams of. Marketing translators’ hearts sink when they encounter a company who can’t offer any guidance as to their brand identity or style preferences, because it makes it so much harder to produce convincing marketing texts. Even if your marketing translator does a great job, there are many ways to translate a text, and without guidelines different translators will take different approaches and all consistency of style will be lost. All this boils down to a simple point: even if your translator is an expert in your field and a writing whizz, they can’t read minds, and any information you can pass their way will improve the quality of the finished product.

With translation, like so many other fields, having been revolutionised by recent developments in software, resource development has become both easier and yet more necessary for success. Be sure to choose a translation services company that uses CAT tools, as we do here at Translators Family. CAT tools, or ‘Computer Assisted Translation’ tools, to give them their full name, are brilliant pieces of software with many advantages, one of which is that resource creation is built into their functioning. Once a text has been imported into a CAT tool, the program divides the text into short segments, known as ‘translation units’ or TUs, which the linguist translates one by one. Usually each TU is a single sentence, but single word headings, bullet points or other fragments might also stand alone. These TUs are stored in a special memory known as a ‘translation memory’ or TM, with each source segment matched to a corresponding target segment. From a resource-creation perspective the interesting thing about these TMs is that they can be shared with any subsequent translator. Your new translator can import all previous TMs into their translation software, and any matching TUs will automatically be discovered by the programme, which will list any and all previous translations for these specific words. As time goes on, companies can build up a bank of TMs to use for new translations, increasing accuracy and speed and ensuring that inconsistencies are ironed out with ease.

Translators Family can offer a wide range of resource creation services. For a start, we use CAT tools as standard on every translation, and so we can ensure that TMs are shared with all the translators working on your projects. We also have plenty of highly skilled experts on hand to help you design or translate glossaries or style guides, and lots of technical experts to make sure that the process flows smoothly. We can also advise on how your brand identity can best be localised to your target market, and put a real shine on all your translated materials. It’s our sensitivity to cultural nuances, wisdom and experience in our field and passion for translation that has made Translators Family such a trusted partner and friend to so many companies seeking to enter foreign markets. If you are interested in finding out how resource creation can help you improve the quality of your translations, or you want to embark on a partnership with a team of professional translators, then look no further. Our team of professional managers would love to speak with you, so get in touch today for your free test translation and find out how we can help polish your prose, perfect your image and boost your sales.

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