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Terminology extraction for EMCO-TEST

Imagine the following scenario: you have a large, terminology-rich document or project that needs to be translated. It might be a user manual or perhaps the new version of your company website. You’ve only been collaborating with your translation agency for a short period of time, so they don’t yet know your products and services inside-out. Time is short. What can you do so all that terminology is correctly translated?

Just such a scenario happened recently, involving EMCO-TEST Prüfmaschinen, a manufacturer of hardness testing machines from Salzburg, Austria. EMCO-TEST had already been successfully working together with the Word Connection translation agency for the previous 12 months on smaller-sized projects, when they decided to entrust Word Connection with the translation of their extensive new website from German into English. There were 3 weeks available to complete the project.

The importance of establishing terminology

EMCO-TEST understood the importance of the correct and consistent use of terminology not only for ensuring accurate and readable texts but also for strengthening their global brand image. So Word Connection and EMCO-TEST agreed to first establish a client-specific terminology dictionary (in translation parlance, a termbase) before commencing on the translation of the website content.

But which terms should be chosen for pre-translation from a 30,000-word website project? And how should they be found? Remember, time was short!

Word Connection has a rather ingenious terminology extraction tool that searches documentation (in this case, the website source files) for terms. It’s beyond the scope of this article to explain how the tool works, but the various algorithms produced a list of possible source terms (in our case here, German terms), from which the most relevant ones were then manually selected. The results were exported into an Excel spreadsheet including two context sentences per term.

Why the context sentences? Translating technical terms is at the best of times not easy and without any context can lead to errors. As a simple example, a “Schraube” in one context might be a “screw” and in another a “bolt”.

EMCO-TEST then checked the list of source terms for completeness and removed any terms that they thought were unnecessary before Word Connection pre-translated them all into, in this case, the target language, English. Of course, for multilingual projects, they’d be translated into any number of languages. The target terms were finally checked and approved by the client and then imported into Word Connection’s client-specific terminology management software.

In the case where the correctness of the target language terms is not able to be checked at the client headquarters, it is usually possible to have them verified by a subsidiary or importer in the country where the target language is spoken.

Using the terminology

How did Word Connection then ensure that this agreed-upon terminology was used throughout the website translation project? Word Connection’s translators and revisers work in a software environment, which has the client’s termbase integrated into it. It recognises when one of the terms appears in the source text and then suggests the approved translation of it. If the suggested translation of the term is appropriate in the particular context, the translator then chooses to use it. At any point in the translation project, a QA verification check can be run in the software, which automatically checks for the correct use of the approved terminology.

This way, the correct and consistent use of client-specific terminology was guaranteed throughout the website project, and will also be for all future translation projects.

Katharina Rothbucher, Product marketing manager at EMCO-TEST: “Thanks to the newly created terminology database, we could be sure that we were using terminology that would be relevant to our target group and which especially would give meaningful search results for potential visitors to our website.”

The approved terminology can be accessed and used by client employees as well. By subscribing to Word Connection’s Terminology Management Service, users can look up the preferred translation of a term in all required languages with a single mouse-click. Read more here.

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