How to Handle Specialist Terminology in Translations


Does your company have its own specialist translation terminology? Technical terms, acronyms and abbreviations can sometimes be tricky to navigate when it comes to written communications. From legal and medical to finance and manufacturing, every business sector or industry imaginable makes use of specialist terminology. 


What’s more, individual companies within these sectors will also have their own unique internal jargon or will specifically refer to technical products or materials in terms that differ from their competitors. This article will delve into the importance of terminology translation and how you should handle it. 


The Issues Surrounding Terminology Translation


Handling specialist terminology and company or sector-specific terms can be challenging when it comes to translating documents, websites and other written materials consistently. The repercussions of any inaccuracies when translating technical or specific terms into other languages can be daunting. 


You’re expected to strike a balance between accuracy and readability – and that’s just the start. On top of staying true to your brand identity and meeting your audience’s needs, you’ll also need to consider your reputation, profitability and potential legal issues.


Why keep terminology in translations?


If that all sounds a bit scary, you might be wondering why you should keep terminology in translations. Well, you definitely need to keep your specialist terminology for clarity and accuracy. Depending on your reader or industry, you might need to use technical terminology or convey complex concepts. Inaccurate or inconsistent use of terminology can lead to confusion and ambiguity, potentially causing errors or misunderstandings in the target text. In the worst cases, mistranslations can be dangerous to health and safety.


Other reasons to keep terminology in translations include:



Consistent terminology demonstrates a high level of professionalism in translation. It shows that the translator has a deep understanding of the subject matter and is committed to providing a quality translation. It also helps you comply with industry standards, guidelines and regulations.


Brand identity

In marketing and corporate materials, consistent use of terminology helps maintain brand identity and recognition. It ensures that the same product names, slogans and trademarks are used across different languages, reinforcing the brand’s image. It means people will see the same terminology across a range of media and touchpoints – both online and offline.


Client preferences

Sometimes you don’t have a choice about using terminology. Your clients might have specific terminology preferences, and sticking to those preferences ensures client satisfaction and a better working relationship.


Legal requirements

In legal, medical and technical translations, using the correct and consistent terminology is crucial to meet regulatory and legal standards. All types of text, from patents to training manuals, are subject to strict regulations.


Tips for Terminology Translation


Terminology translation can be a problematic area, but we’re here to help! Here are our four top tips for handling specialist terminology within the translation process.


Create a glossary

A consistent glossary of terms during translation reduces the need for repeated research and decisions on term choices. Work alongside your colleagues to create a definitive list of terms, acronyms and abbreviations used in your company in your native language. Enlist the help of your local market teams to insert the relevant terms in the required languages where available. Streamlining the translation process with a glossary saves time and lowers costs.


Employ expert translators with industry-specific knowledge

At Comtec we only use translators with expert understanding of specific industries or sectors. Combined with our stipulation that they only work in their native language and have an in-depth cultural knowledge of the target country, we find this to be the only way to ensure a high-quality specialist translation. If you’re going to employ a freelance translator for your translation project, we would advise you to do the same.


Use translation memory software

Translation memory software is the key to consistent and accurate translations across different platforms, multiple documents and large translation projects. In brief, it provides a linguistic database of all the terminology and phrasing used in your texts alongside your preferred translations. This database grows as more translations are added to it, resulting in a comprehensive and unique resource for your company. For information on the benefits of this technology read our page on the importance of Translation Memory Software.


Call in the experts

There is no denying that translating content that uses specialist terminology is a job for the experts. With both ISO 9001:2015 and EN15038 quality certifications, Comtec has developed a reputation for exceptional quality built on continuous – and rigorous – assessment of working practices. Long-term expert help can save your business money too, with more accurate and faster translations than you could ever hope to achieve alone.


We love sharing our knowledge and expertise on this, and many other language, culture, translation, and localisation-related subjects. Please do get in touch, our friendly team is always very happy to help.

Call us on +44 (0) 1926 335 681 or email