Dog vs. Terminology: How terminology management can help drive global business growth

An in-depth summary of the importance of terminology management, plus tips for getting started.


Terminology management is critical for all businesses, large or small, and in any industry. It can have a dramatic and immediate impact on your bottom line. And that impact is often felt even more if your goal is to expand your multilingual footprint.

Even so, we know it can be challenging to make the upfront investment of time and resources required — especially if you’re unsure how to take those first steps.

In this webinar, Uwe Muegge, the Head of Terminology at Facebook, explains how to get started with terminology management. He discusses what terminology management is and why it matters. And he shares some best practices for building a solid terminology management program.

Watch the session below

What Is Terminology Management?

In a business context, a term is a word or phrase that matters to your organization. Terminology management is the process of providing guidance on word choice to authors and translators.

As Muegge explains, he and his team help content creators throughout the entire life cycle, from authors to reviewers to translators to translation editors, choose the right words efficiently.

Central to achieving that goal is building termbases. But it also involves creating product naming conventions and descriptions, writing style guides, and configuring automatic terminology and style checkers. Finally, his team provides training on how to take full advantage of these resources to anyone involved in content creation.

Why Terminology Management Matters

Terminology management is often considered a nice-to-have or only a translation challenge. Therefore, it’s easy to let it slide down the list of priorities. However, there are several benefits to managing terminology that have company-wide ramifications.

It improves consistency.

Creating tools that guide writers and translators on proper word choice will help ensure your preferred terminology is used everywhere and by everyone. That will, in turn, improve both the quality of your product and your customers’ experience.

It can accelerate your time to market.

Terminology issues create friction, both in the authoring process and in the translation process. That means it takes longer than necessary to develop content in the source language, as well as in the target languages — and that may have a significant impact on your launch calendar.

It gives you a competitive advantage.

For many, translation is viewed as a commodity, a service that doesn’t differ much from one provider to another. However, managing terminology (and doing it well) results in faster turnaround times, improved consistency, and higher quality. And that will make you stand out and give you an edge over your competition.

It enables the use of inclusive language.

Many businesses are prioritizing inclusive language — both when engaging their customers and when communicating with their employees. Translation management helps authors and translators quickly adopt and consistently use respectful vocabulary across all content.

Tips for Getting Started With Terminology Management

A company-wide end-to-end terminology management program requires a substantial investment of time and resources — and, ideally, expert help from a trusted partner. But there are a few steps you can take on your own, even when time and resources are limited.

1. Buy yourself time.

Proper terminology management doesn’t only benefit a company’s localization efforts. That is all the more reason that localization managers looking to build a terminology management program should strive to get involved in the document life cycle earlier — ideally, in the content planning stage.

This also ensures you have ample time to compile a comprehensive, project-specific termbase, have it translated, and get feedback on those translations before the translation of your content begins.

2. Use what you already have.

Your company likely already has some terminology resources you can pull from. For example, individual authors and editors may have compiled their own personal glossaries to use when working on your content. And your legal department should keep a list of all your trademarks — which are important to include in any translation termbase.

3. Share what you have with your partners.

Once you find or create your termbase, store and maintain it on a shared drive. All relevant stakeholders within your company and all your external partners should have access to it. That includes authors, editors, software developers, and user experience (UX) writers, as well as your translation and localization vendors.

4. Pick a minor launch for your first terminology project.

A lower-profile launch can keep the pressure and stakes low. You and everyone else involved may have more leeway and opportunity to experiment with tools and processes.

5. Start by starting.

Start small and run a pilot project. Collect as much information as possible about the positive impact terminology management had. Then, share that information widely to build a business case for an organization-wide solution.

Want to learn more about how to get started with terminology management? Watch the session in its entirety.