3 Challenges in Translation Terminology: How to Overcome Them

Using accurate terminology is a critical aspect of the translation process. The wrong terminology can alter the original meaning and ruin the quality of the project.

During most translation projects, there are a few terminology challenges that can pop up. In this blog, we’ll discuss how to overcome common terminology issues in the translation process.

Challenge 1: When the Client Reviewer Gets Replaced

Employee turnover is normal. But turnover in translation projects can introduce some challenges. This is especially true when a client reviewer moves on to another company.

Sometimes, the replacement reviewer can end up adding their own terms to the content and even causing inconsistencies. This further complicates things when the “corrected” version comes back to the translation team and must be updated on the TM or Translation Memory.

In an ideal world, translation processes would be carried out by the same translation team for eternity. There are several advantages to this. The first is familiarity. The team gets used to the client’s way of doing things and therefore, can ensure expectations are always met. When the content is reviewed and the feedback is applied, the team has approved content they can refer to and a glossary of terms that should and shouldn’t be used.

However, we don’t live in an ideal world… So, what’s the solution when there’s reviewer turnover?

When faced with this challenge, it is best to discuss things with the new reviewer. Set up a meeting between the reviewer and the team’s lead translator to clear up doubts and agree on terminology updates. Your team can then learn what terms are no longer approved and why. It might set timelines back a bit, but it’s worth it

You could also ask your client to keep you updated on relevant personnel changes. Some clients might agree to this. Knowing that a new reviewer will be taking over can help your translation team stay prepared.

Challenge 2: No Client Reviewer Available

What happens when there is no one to review the terminology from the client’s side? Well, this is a challenge that’s just as likely to pop up as the previous one.

In this case, your best bet is to go with a third-party reviewing service. You can hire SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) from the same industry as your client to help you out. These SMEs possess domain and linguistic expertise, which can more than make up for the lack of a client reviewer.

Challenge 3: Varying Preferences in Terminology

Sometimes, terminology preferences can vary from department to department. This is probably the most confusing challenge of all. For example, internal documents might need to be translated using terms that are specific to each department, even though the core material is the same.

You may even have situations where the content needs to be translated with varying terminology for different divisions within the same department.

The best solution, in this case, is to establish specific translation memories for each division and use the appropriate TM for each team. However, if the terminology for each division isn’t very lengthy, your team can simply create division-specific glossaries.


Need some more support in the translation process?  Localize uses advanced technology to translate your websites, online software, mobile apps, documents, and more.

With a built-in translation glossary, brand style guide, and terminology management tools, Localize helps to ensure that your industry-specific terms are translated correctly and consistently. The Localize TMS integrates with many translation agencies and language service providers to optimize the entire translation process.

Contact Localize to find out how we can help you publish content for a global audience.

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