Legal Translation in Dubai: Considering terminology research and entry creation

The previous blog post offered an introduction to terminology management and highlighted this this practice can lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness when trying to achieve a consistent image for an organisation, the successful promotion of products and services and ensuring delays are avoided and the general public or other bodies are not confused by varying terms. In this post, we are going to focus on two aspects of terminology management: terminology research and entry creation.

Starting with terminology management: this involves the task of identifying the words that are important and significant enough to merit consistent use within and between documents. To tackle such a challenge of establishing essential vocabulary to become obligatory within and across documents produced by an organisation, it is very likely that some form of team will need to be created and include representatives from different departments (depending on the organisation’s size). This could include staff from research and development, marketing and communications and legal. As the group identifies and collects terms, it is no easy task to reach a consensus quickly. The work of this “terminology circle” is vital, has some form of financial cost and is not a task that can be hurried if later gains are going to be made through having terminological consistency in the organisation.


Terms in Certified Translation

After the issue of which terms should go into a termbase has been resolved, the next stage is to consider what additional information about the term must be entered to ensure it is used appropriately in internal and external documents and within and across such written works (whatever they happen to be: manuals, product descriptions, company ethos and so on).

At the most basic level, a termbase is going to feature the term, its equivalent in other languages. Definitions are not always seen as an integral part of terminology management because it makes the process longer and potentially much more expensive. However, definitions are highly valuable if an organisation also wishes for it to double as a knowledge base. Definitions can help with correct term selection from options available. New translators collaborating with a company as freelancers or in-house will be able to understand an unfamiliar concept behind a term with great ease. This returns us back to the principles of consistency, efficiency and effectiveness.

Terminological Definition in Legal Translation

So, what would constitute a good terminological definition? A concise statement, in a single statement if possible, that identifies the generic group the term belongs to and helps distinguish it from other terms. Let’s look at a quick example.


USB stick

An electronic device for storing digital information and documents, smaller and much more easily transported than a hard drive.

In the example, the USB is a storage device, just as a hard drive is. However, the terminological definition provided highlights that portability and size distinguish it from hard drives.

With the rate of change in so many areas of life and business in the twenty-first century, terminology management is inevitably going to involve termbase maintenance. Language is constantly evolving so glossaries and termbases need to do so also. Existing entries will need to be reviewed and terms updated. So, on the one hand, the termbase is essential in providing consistency and a common point of reference, but it will develop organically as the world around us changes.

In our next blog entry, we will be leaving terminology management behind to mark International Translation Day 2018, which falls on Sunday 30th September.


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