Archive for April, 2009

Survey on Terminology Management by SDL

According to a recent survey by SDL, there is a strong link between Terminology and Branding. Big corporations as well as translation professionals recognize the need for effective terminology management and branding.
terminologySDL, the leading provider of TMS (Translation Management Systems), announced the results of its two surveys exploring trends in terminology and branding; the first completed by business professionals and the second by translators. The results clearly identified a strong link between terminology and brand, highlighting the growing awareness of and need for effective terminology management solutions to maintain a consistent global brand. 
You can read the full research paper on this survey at


Financial crisis and the translation industry


According to a recent article of the translation directory, the economic crisis “brings new reality” to the translation industry in that it forces translation agencies to examine their translation work-flow and to invest in TMS (translation management systems). Many agencies admit that they have been putting off investments in new software solutions but, more than ever, they need to consider investing in new technologies in order to survive the recession.


And indeed, in these difficult times clients are trying to cut off on translation costs. As a result, when they find another translation agency offering the same services as you but at a lower price, they leave you without a word. One positive outcome of the crisis on the other hand, is that companies will necessarily have to increase their cost-efficiency. For example,  no one can afford re-translating the same segments or spending time searching for terminology. An outcome is the use of TMS. According to various surveys, translation agencies using TMS are 30-80 percent more efficient than other companies. Therefore, it is worthwhile to become familiar with such systems. You can get in contact with me for a free presentation about the possibilities of implementing such systems.

An interesting report of the Common Sense Advisory suggests that the crisis doesn’t hit all companies: the largest LSPs (Language Service Providers) like Lionbridge or  Thebigword are actually recording increase in income and number of translation orders. So there is still hope. Nevertheless, it is worth paying close attention to the market and do some investments in improving processes and company organisation.

Ad hoc terminology


What is ad hoc terminology? In Wikipedia, we find a distinction between Ad hoc terminology  and  Systematic terminology:

“Ad hoc terminology […] deals with a single term or a limited number of terms.

Systematic terminology […] deals with all the terms in a specific subject field or domain of activity”


According to the same definition, ad hoc terminology “is prevalent in the translation profession, where a translation for a specific term (or group of terms) is required quickly to solve a particular translation problem.”


Another resource, the COTSOWES – Recommendations for Terminology Work,  claims similar importance for ad hoc terminology:


Every day translation services have to solve individual terminological problems as quickly as possible. These usually involve terms, neologisms or official expressions which are not in dictionaries or unconfirmed equivalents of terms.





Although both resources underline the importance of ad hoc research in terminology, no elaborated and tested methodology is available yet for translators who deal with terminology on a daily, ad hoc basis. Next time, I will give a short summary of a methodology for ad hoc terminology research worked out at the Dutch Network for Terminology. In the meantime, please wait patiently.

“Translation Management Takes Flight”


In its April 2009 report “Translation Management Takes Flight,” Common Sense Advisory, Inc., interviewed 30 companies about their translation management systems (TMS) to uncover how the systems are helping multilingual content producers meet demand and improve productivity. The results describe the types of systems (from house to commercial off-the-shelf), benefits and possible shortcomings of the TMS options available, and the factors driving TMS demand.


(Source: Multilingual News 15 April 2009)

Sustainability in the translation industry


The key concept of the 21st century is sustainability (in French: durabilité, in Dutch: duurzaamheid and in Spanish: sostenibilidad). Not only the ecosystems, the agriculture, the technology or the architecture need to become sustainable in our age but also the translation industry.

Why? Because it saves money and energy. The translation industry is one of those necessary evils: how much easier and cheaper life would be if everybody spoke the same language!? Back to the Tower of Babel! But since we don’t speak the same language and English hasn’t become the lingua franca yet, translations are unavoidable… and expensive.


What is the solution? To attain sustainability in the translation industry, translation agencies need to start/continue implementing and exploiting Translation Management Systems. Through different work-flows, TM Systems automate the whole translation process from the moment a text arrives at the agency until the translation is delivered to the client.

Using TM systems, translation agencies can save time (sentences which were translated earlier and which are already stored in the translation memory, can be re-used in the automatic or semi-automatic translation of new texts). For the same reason, using such systems also saves money and since the terminology of the client is used consistently thanks to the Terminology module, it also results in translations of a better quality.

An ideal TM System is web-based, multi-user, with integrated import/ export possibilities, easy-to-use, contains a Translation Memory- and a Terminology module, flexible, has a rich user hierarchy, supports different standard formats etc. Such systems are usually very expensive. To begin with, you need to buy the licences, have it installed on you server and shape the system according to your needs. The initial costs can be over the 10.000 euro. Then the system needs to be regularly updated and upgraded. You can count on an extra 100 euro or more on a monthly basis for keeping your TM system “alive”. A much cheaper solution is using GlobalSight (an open source software) offered by ExacTerm as Software as a Service on More on this another time.

Briefly, sustainability in the translation industry can only be reached, using a TM system.

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE UP THE CHALLENGE… and enter the next level in your translation business??!!

Swansea, march 2004


Once upon a time, there was a conference in Swansea (Wales), with the same title as this blog. Organized by Pius ten Hacken (Swansea) and Willy Martin (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam), this two-day conference opened up new perspectives for the interdisciplinary science of Terminology.


According to a description of the workshop (to be found on the Swansea University website):

“The topic of terminology has been approached traditionally from the perspective of standardization. More recently, corpus-based approaches have gained prominence. A question which is relevant to both approaches concerns the relationship of terminology to a theory of the lexicon.

In this conference, these perspectives were considered not only theoretically, but also from a practical angle. The study and management of terminology is an essential component of commercial, technical, and scientific translation. Computational tools provide an almost indispensible help to any translator, whether working in an institutional translation service, an independent translation company, or as a free-lance translator.”

A couple of weeks ago sitting in my favourite armchair, sipping a nice cup of coffee, I decided that the spirit and innovation of this conference had to be continued. So here it is a new blog dedicated to

Terminology, Computing and Translation.

Enjoy your reading and don’t hesitate to react.