Since 2017

Strictly Spanish Blog

No Document Left Adrift: How to Prevent Terminology Drift

Upon reading the American Translators Association’s Chronicle article on terminology drift, the inconsistent translation of terms within a single document, the importance of consistent terminology is once again highlighted. Although viable synonyms abound within translation, multiple synonyms used within the same document can lead to readers’ misunderstanding and misinterpreting vital messages, damaging the corporation’s reputation with its audience. With prevention of misinterpretation as a core concept of our business, a consideration of Strictly Spanish Translations’ practices addressing terminology drift occurs in the forms of glossaries, translation memories, and proofreading.

Containing frequently used terms at the word and phrase level, glossaries and translation memories aid in the consistency of terminology. At Strictly Spanish Translations, we compile glossaries and translation memories specific to each client; for example, for one of our insurance clients, we ensure that terminology of both the profession and the company remain both accurate and consistent throughout the document by consulting the client’s glossary. Similarly, entire phrases used in earlier documentation of a landscaping client can be implemented by consulting the client’s translation memory. Composed over several years and projects, the glossary or translation memory result in readers of older and newer translated documents being able to recognize this standardized terminology.

However, the most crucial step within prevention of terminology is precise, thorough proofreading practiced within every document. At Strictly Spanish Translations, documents are proofread by two professional translators with experience in the specific subject area of the translated material. Each word, phrase, and document are examined for consistent terminology before delivery to the client, reflecting attention to detail and respect for the client’s image among its audience. By giving upmost attention and care to proofreading for terminology consistency, our translators deliver a cohesive product.

Glossaries, translation memories, and proofreading—these are the main tools used to prevent terminology drift. With glossaries and translation memories, consistency not only within a document but also within a client’s entire portfolio can be accomplished. By proofreading each document with the potential of terminology drift in mind, translators can correct the foreseen errors. Utilizing these methods, no document will be left adrift, instead delivering its message on solid ground.

Sara Leonhartsberger