22 March 2019
Consistent corporate terminology

Have you ever noticed how separate departments within a company often use different terms for the same content? In actual fact, only very few companies use a central repository for their terminology

Yet the truth is everyone benefits when technical terms are clearly defined and anchored across all the company’s languages from the outset.

A central terminology database is the only way to ensure that internal employees and external partners all have access to the same information. This, in turn, creates a tangible success factor for the company. Keep reading to find out how.

What is terminology?

Terminology refers to all of the terms used within a particular field of expertise. There are terminology guidelines that contain fixed instructions on how the terminology should be used. These guidelines are usually managed digitally in terminology databases, or “termbases” for short, which can be either monolingual or multilingual.

Terminology guidelines define spelling rules and specifications for internal company names, compounds and naming conventions. They also include information about which terms may or may not be used, and in which form, and these are saved in the termbase accordingly.

The guidelines contain general terminology, which will vary to a certain extent from company to company. They also contain set, defined terminology –known as nomenclature –which is found in biology, chemistry, astronomy and medicine, for instance.

How could you benefit from using consistent terminology?

Once your corporate language has been defined, it can be made digitally available to all your employees and external partners. This means that all parties involved in a process are using the same terminology. Using this kind of terminology management creates the following advantages:

Better communication

The use of consistent terminology helps avert potential ambiguities or misunderstandings within your company. Not only do individual employees communicate in a more focussed manner within each department, but colleagues also understand each other across different departments, branches and even languages. And at the end of the day, effective communication is key to a company’s success.

Higher quality text

Once your corporate terminology has been defined and set in place, all of your internal and external employees will start using identical terminology when they create and translate text. We’re not just talking about one document here, but about all the documents within a project, throughout the department, in the whole branch and across the entire company! So you can see how using consistent terminology works to ensure consistently high-quality text.

Consistent brand language

When establishing a certain brand image, everything important is outlined in advance, from the target group and price segment to the materials and colour palette. This means that all of the products can be clearly allocated to their respective brands. The brand language is also of central importance here. Using consistent, defined terminology ensures that your brand speaks an understandable, seamless language that appeals to customers and increases brand recognition.

Consistent technical documentation

While pre-defined terminology doesn’t necessarily make technical documentation a walk in the park, it does make it much easier. Instead of using lots of different terms all referring to the same thing, one clearly defined word is used for each individual term. As a result, your documentation becomes more consistent, is easier to understand and it takes less time to write. Having pre-defined terminology also makes it easier to create glossaries for your documentation.

Easier content creation

Using pre-defined corporate terminology is a helpful and time-saving device when creating content. Your copywriters will immediately know which terms should be used including their format and spelling. This means your writers spend less time researching and can concentrate directly on the product or service they want to advertise. The result? Clear, coherent and consistent content.

Optimised translations

The same applies to translations, as the most important terms have already been defined and saved in the terminology database. Your translators are given clear guidelines to follow, meaning they don’t need to spend unnecessary time on lengthy research. Working with CAT tools also saves you money because repeated or similar text passages are translated at a lower price. So you get better translations at lower costs – how great is that!

Peace of mind about the legal aspects

Using defined internal corporate terminology ultimately reduces legal issues because it stops protected terms, expressions and trademarks from being altered. Finally, when your technical documentation is more consistent and understandable, the content and translations will be less prone to errors.

A consistent corporate image

As you can see, there are a number of benefits to using binding corporate terminology within your company. By using pre-defined terminology, employees will communicate more effectively with each other and will communicate this image to the outside world.

Individual departments and locations within your company will all have access to the same information and ultimately speak the same language. This is a very simple way to demonstrate your competence to your customers.

Successful communication for a successful company – thanks to effective terminology management.


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