Standardized terminology will of course have a positive effect on our external image and enable shorter product cycles thanks to shorter review processes.
Cecilia Mongardi, Graduate Translator at HIMA
HIMA Paul Hildebrandt GmbH + Co. KG is the leading provider of safety-related automation solutions in the process industry and in the fields of rail, logistics, and machine safety. For more than 40 years, HIMA systems have protected the facilities of large companies of the oil, gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, and energy industries in more than 80 countries.
Due to the international orientation, translation and translation management are inseparable parts of HIMA. Especially in the Development Documentation (DD) department, this topic plays a key role when it comes to the localization of manuals, certificates, internally developed software, and online help texts. Additionally, marketing and training documents are prepared for the target markets. With up to six different target languages, this means a substantial translation workload. Some years ago, the department therefore opted for the translation management with the Across Language Server in order to make the handling easier and more efficient. This software platform centrally stores all translation-relevant data and creates a shared work environment for all involved in a project. The use of Across has already proved beneficial in many projects, as the reuse of previous translations has enabled more consistent texts and reduced the workload.
Concept Development for Terminology Work
Apart from the translation memory and project management functions, the Across Language Server also comprises a terminology system. Therefore, it appeared reasonable to pay more attention to the corporate terminology as well. Systematic terminology work is always based on a careful analysis of the as-is state in order to determine the need. Thus, the need for more consistency, central administration of the terminology, and improved internal communication was identified. Based on the Across system, a standardized corporate termbase was to be established. "In addition to the tool, successful terminology work in the enterprise of course also necessitates suitable processes. Experience has shown that most companies undergo several phases in connection with the introduction of professional terminology work. Usually, several options are tested until the optimum workflows crystallize", explains Christian Heinrich, Team Leader Customer Care at Across Systems GmbH. At the beginning of the project, new terms were collected according to individual criteria. However, as this approach was soon found to be impractical, the elaboration of a new terminology concept was initiated, and a time schedule with clearly defined goals was prepared. The key goals were as follows:
- Optimize internal and external communication
- Accelerate workflows
- Reduce cost of terminology, editing, and translations
- Strengthen corporate language and corporate identity
- Optimize the management of terminology and translations
- Make corporate terminology available to all team members
An important step to reach these goals was to conduct meetings with the affected departments and employees in order to coordinate the terminology work and the functions of the Across Language Server as efficiently as possible to the requirements of all parties. Though the main responsibility for purging the database and introducing new terminology would lie with the DD department, the use of the language resources by all in the company was always the long-term objective. In the next phase, the function scope of the system and categorization possibilities were defined. The most successful way of handling the terminology work at HIMA was to be found with the help of Across employees. During this time, awareness of this subject grew in all departments, allowing the project to progress rapidly. After the main term categories had been defined in Across with the three instances "HIMA products", "Third-party products", and "Specialized terminology", HIMA developed a guide that provided certain criteria for the systematic implementation of terms. New terms are to be gained primarily from the following sources:
- Existing material (product specifications or manuals)
- Application-specific standards
- HIMA-specific workflow
- Checked employee suggestions
Among other things, each record in the database is accompanied by usage information (standard, allowed, not allowed), the source and creation date, further information, and of course the corresponding translation. The DD department attaches great importance to the endorsement of the entries, as this is necessary to maintain the high quality of the terminology database. Therefore, the division of the termbase into different subject areas was thoroughly examined and discussed.
Results of Uniform Corporate Terminology
A lower error rate during text composition and fewer term-specific verification and correction cycles save time and thus costs. Moreover, uniform terms increase the quality of the source texts and translations, thereby significantly minimizing the translation workload.
"At the beginning of the project, we somewhat overestimated the conditions for terminology work in our department. Still, many challenges were mastered efficiently as we gained experience. Across gave us the needed technical foundation and also provided guidance at the subject level.
Meanwhile, we have elaborated a sound basis and are ready to enter the next phase. This will involve the development of corporate workflows that are tuned to department-internal processes and that will assist us even more effectively in our terminology work", says Cecilia Mongardi, graduate translator at HIMA Paul Hildebrandt GmbH + Co. KG. "Greater awareness of the constantly growing specialized vocabulary in the entire enterprise will make the interdepartmental communication clearer and easier. In the next step, standardized terminology will of course also have positive effects on our external image and enable shorter product cycles thanks to shorter review processes."
Outlook and Expansion Options
As the company's demands on the terminology work grow, Across can be flexibly expanded. Currently, the company is considering to introduce crossTerm Web and gradually include other departments. In particular, the terminology system is soon to be used in the software localization as well. From the outset, the terminology project at HIMA was designed in such a way that eventually all employees throughout the company would be able to search the terminology database. Across delivers the needed functionality. Flexible access possibilities via Web browser or even directly from common editors under MS Windows enable company-wide use of the corporate terminology. In this way, the responsible departments benefit from the terminology work with Across, and the entire internal and external corporate communications become clearer and more consistent on the basis of uniform language data. Depending on the permissions granted, employees of other departments will henceforth also be able to participate in the terminology work with their own ideas and recommendations via a suggestion module. Thus, standardized terminology in product communication is turning into an issue that concerns everybody.
- Specialist in safety-related automation solutions
- Locations in more than 50 countries, production in Germany only
- More than 800 employees worldwide
- Revenue 2012: EUR 90 million
Across components employed
- Across Language Server
- crossTerm Web
- crossTerm Lookup
- Central terminology management
- Development of standardized corporate terminology that is available throughout the company