Whether you’re a small, blooming company or a big-time, multi-tiered company, with a name echoing to all corners of the Earth, your brand’s survival and stability will forever be susceptible to inevitable mistakes capable of crippling your stance on the commercial stage.
As with all mistakes, some require a fortune-teller with powers, far exceeding those of your most far-sighted risk management battalion, in order to detect an imperceptible, impending doom; whereas, the many other mistakes to come are visible to the naked (usually trained) eye. Only the most salient features of a problem are detectable at its distance on the horizon, but, as the problem approaches over time, it’s other, smaller details give depth to its nature and typically underestimated capacity to negatively impact your company where it hurts most: do I really have to say it? Such is the risk you take when considering the problem of company language when building your brand. The more a company grows, the more daunting the issue of brand consistency becomes as an approaching problem, seeing that expansion typically entails branching off into different linguistic markets. Therefore, finding the best means and methodology to generate and maintain a consistent, high-quality terminology management system becomes a top priority problem to solve; not treating it as such, leaving means and methodology to chance, will undoubtedly be detrimental because inconsistent use of terms in your company language from market to market will denigrate trust in your brand. A well-orchestrated, robust system is a must, and its strength should be reinforced from the most basic mechanisms of term entry to systematic term management.
The Root of It All
Of course, the basics of logging a term is the heart and soul of any terminology management system and Bureau Works has a solid foundation. Its system utilizes a concept-based approach to logging terms, allowing for the addition of different types of para-linguistic attributes (e.g., visual representation, supplementary notation, and term-specific contextualization) that provide a depth of understanding to a term beyond its basic, dictionary-like use as seen in many other terminology management systems. The image below shows the depth of adding information at the logging stage
The following image depicts a term and its para-linguistic attributes once all information has been included.
The Gateways to Terminology Paradise
Bureau Works terminology management system has a unique set of means and a logical methodology to facilitate clean, well-organized terminology management process from beginning to end. For starters, terminology management tasks are divided and delegated to client-specific users according to their predetermined user-account role(s), each role—(1) Content Creator, (2) Term Translator, (3) Term Reviewer, (4) Language Manager, and (5) Term Admin—being predetermined for each user and having a different set of capabilities: Content Creators can only request the creation of new terms; Term Translators submit translations suggestions for language pairs; Term Reviewers approve or reject term translations; Language Managers approve new term creation requests, have access to the entire workflow approval chain, and create new glossaries; and Term Administrators publish approved term translations to target glossaries. It’s important to note that all roles are non-exclusive, meaning that some users can be assigned to more than one. (Since some users are qualified to do many of the roles, this feature allows for greater flexibility when granting users access to do different tasks.)
Taking it Step by Step
Bureau Works’ workflow system automatically notifies a client’s designated terminology workers in a gate-keeper fashion whenever a term is requested for approval by a Content Creator. A term sequentially passes from the request phase, to request approval, to term translation (for all necessary languages), to term review (if the translation is acceptable, it goes to the next step, otherwise it is to be resubmitted for translation), and then finally to being published into a particular glossary. Each sequential step starts only when the one before has been completed in its entirety. This methodology assures that the right person is doing the right task(s) at their designated point in the terminology management workflow. Here’s a visual example of the process.
From Micro Details to Macro-Level Powers
The gate-keeper style of passing a term from one designated user to another has the inbuilt effect of assuring quality glossary development, free of useless terms. Every single term that is published into a glossary goes through the process to make sure that no terminology details are glossed over on a micro level. Bureau Works’ system also has macro-level features that promote consistent logging of terms across multiple client glossaries, that allow easy maintenance of terms and traceability of all modifications through the maintenance procedures. Let’s take a look at each one in a little more detail, starting with the ability to submit a term simultaneously into multiple glossaries.
Kill All Birds with One Stone
Companies normally have many different glossaries to serve different purposes, and many of those glossaries typically have many shared terms between them. For example, brand-specific terms and cross-product features are generally going to be found across many different client-specific glossaries and they are expected to be used the same way consistently. Bureau Works terminology module has the useful feature of allowing a term to be requested for creation into multiple glossaries at once, instead of logging the same term over and over for each glossary. Requesting to create terms in this fashion saves time and makes sure that terms are logged in a consistent fashion from glossary to glossary.
Follow the Terminology Breadcrumbs
Having many terms published across many glossaries can be cumbersome to maintain and track. Some terms need to be updated over time and others need to be deleted. Below is a visual display of how Bureau Works tracks and monitors all changes to a term so that knowing who did what and when is never an unknown: (1) completed steps are visually differentiated from steps to be completed by different color schemes; (2) timestamps show when completed tasks were done and the person(s) who did them; (3) supplementary notes can be added at each step to provide clarification if needed; and (4) all actions are linked in a linear fashion and are preserved for future reference if needed. Such tracking provides an unprecedented level of traceability throughout the terminology management process
Together, Bureau Works’ micro-level and macro-level features give a superior feel to the terminology management experience. The cautious step-by-step process of approving terms and the macro-level management features make sure that quality, consistency, and traceability aren’t lost as you expand your business beyond language barriers.
Written by Travon Varnado
Travon is M.A. candidate for the Translation and Localization Management program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. When he isn’t learning about the latest and greatest in localization, he’s working on creative visual artwork.