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The Arguments for Terminology Management

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I hear terminologists asking this question of each other all the time at conferences and in meetings: “How do you convince managers about the benefits of terminology management?”

Managers are paid to be skeptical. Term work costs money and time – why should an organization spend effort on terminology when there are so many other things to be done?

Fortunately I work at a company where my colleagues and I don’t have to argue too hard about this. Terminology work is not just a passive expectation; it’s a mandatory requirement in the processes and standards checklists and all terminology-related steps have named responsibles. Skipping term work is a “Bozo No-No”. (That phrase dates me, I know …)

Several years ago, when the German Terminology Association (Deutscher Terminologie-Tag, or DTT) was putting together its Best Practices modules for publication, we contributed the arguments we found most effective in our own organization. A few of them are listed below.

  • Standardized terminology increases understanding by systematically explaining and categorizing abbreviations and synonyms.
  • Terms are the smallest units of knowledge in the organization, thus contributing to the overall knowledge management strategy.
  • Terminology work speeds up the translation process and greatly reduces the overall cost of translation projects.

The Best Practices editorial team published more than sixty arguments – far too many to list here, of course.

What other arguments should we be using, as terminologists, to convince management of the usefulness of terminology management – putting it bluntly, of the rightness of our cause? Which arguments work best for you?

Looking forward to some active discussions here!

Greetings from ***  Mark  ***

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