"Selection of Essays" Technical Translation and Terminology Management Technology: Professionals Say Professional Words

This article comes from the experience and experience of XLM1226 students in the SphereEx SIGs [Translation] group in their daily translation work, hoping to bring inspiration to everyone.

Technical Writing (Technical Writing) or Technical Communication (Technical Communication) is becoming more and more important in today's rapid technological development. Many commercial companies, especially in highly technical fields such as medicine, Internet, and manufacturing, need professional document engineers. Or technical writers to complete documentation related work.

As far as the general requirements of technical writing are concerned, the emphasis is on readability, that is, to make the information transfer clearer and easier for readers to understand, so as to improve communication efficiency and reduce communication costs.

The book "Developing Quality Technical Information: A Handbook for Writers and Editors" published by IBM Press recommends three core requirements for technical writing:

  • Easy to use:task-oriented, accurate and complete.
  • Easy to understand:clear, concrete and style.
  • Easy to find:organized, retrievable, and visually effective.

simple terms, an important point in technical writing is be simple.

In actual work, Technical Writers often need to undertake the work of Technical Translation. Of course, technical translation is still technical writing in essence, but technical writing in another language.

As a language learner, I instinctively resisted technical documentation at one time, because I could see words that I couldn't understand, most of which were terminology, with a big head...

However, everyone should understand that the translation of a given term itself does not involve difficulty: if you know it, you know it, and if you don’t know it can be found, of course, on the contrary, if it is not standardized, it is not standardized.

The difficulty is to translate a word that cannot find a corresponding expression. It may be that the new word has not been defined and fixed, or the use of this word may be confusing, or it may be that the search business is not enough...

To translate terminology well, it is recommended to cultivate a certain "terminology awareness".

What is the term?

A term is a reference to a word of a general concept in a particular area of expertise.

Terminology is also an important field of study in linguistics. In this article, I will not cover more in-depth subject knowledge, but I hope everyone must remember one word when referring to terms: concept-based.

A term represents a concept.

Why is the term "fear" in translation?

People who have just come into contact with a field do not understand the concepts behind some words just by reading Chinese, let alone expressing them in another language.

There is another situation: I don't know that the language expression corresponding to this term is standardized, and gradually the use of this term is confusing, and many-to-one. For example, I once came across a term called "finished car"... what is it?

Once the relationship balance of "a term represents a concept" is broken, coupled with the horrific speed of the Internet, a phenomenon emerges: one-to-many. For example, the pathogenic factor "prion" of "mad cow disease" has nearly 20 Chinese translation names such as "prion", "prion protein" and "prion". One-to-many, scary for novice translators, because you don't know which one is right, you can't judge, or just guess...

Many people mistake the term as an "academic specialty," a term that experts complicate.

However, in fact, the reason why we need to pay attention to terminology is that there is ambiguity in language expression and thinking, and the use of normative terms is a manifestation of professional language expression ability.

The terminology actually reminds practitioners to have "professional awareness" and to pay attention to the accuracy and professionalism of their language expressions.

What is "term awareness"?

That is, as a professional, please pay attention to saying "professional words". This specialization, of course, is not about complicating a concept, but about communicating effectively, especially across languages. A language like English that believes that simple is beautiful, and it is more active to carry out the plain English movement, which is simple, so that it can be explained clearly.

literal translation is not a panacea.

When it comes to technical translation, people tend to think of literal translation. After all, it seldom involves playing word games, there is no romance, and there are not many ethnic and cultural differences to deal with (of course, it is necessary to consider the document usage habits and standardized expressions of the target culture).

Word-for-word translation can never go wrong, right?

Friends who have translation experience know that literal translation is not omnipotent. Hard translation will also be nondescript in technical translation.

If you use Google Translate (machine translation is roughly equivalent to "literal translation staunch advocate") to "hard translation" the word: data hijacking, you will get one word: data hijacking.

What do you think of this translation at this time? Of course, now we are not sure whether the translation of the word is correct or incorrect. But with "terminology awareness", the first thing to do is to double check and at least search for relevant results.

If you search for this word and it is often associated with negative words such as attacker and steal, then data hijacking may become a bad word in native speaker ears.

There may also be some buddies whose sense of language will work instinctively: "hijack" is a word with a clear negative tendency.

At this time, the literal translation not only fails to explain the concept of the word clearly, but risks causing misunderstanding among the readers of the target language.

However, the definition of data hijacking refers to: when accessing or modifying a property of an object, a piece of code is used to intercept this behavior, perform additional operations or modify the return result.

Does the literal translation of "data hijacking" accurately reflect the concept?

terminology consistency

Of course, there is one word we must keep in mind when it comes to terminology: consistency.

The terminology emphasizes consistency. We also mentioned before that the terminology is often concept-based, and try to achieve "one radish, one pit". Of course, in real life, there are many free expressions, and there is no need to exclude linguistic diversity and individualized expressions. As professional translators, we need to be aware that when terminology consistency cannot be guaranteed, we have to face some potential problems:

  • Inconsistencies in terms before and after personal translation may result in normative errors or mistranslations, and even cause unnecessary misunderstandings;
  • Inconsistent translation of team terminology may also cause confusion or even misunderstanding among readers; and when the team tries to maintain terminology consistency, real-time synchronous update of the glossary (Glossary) and the establishment of the terminology standard specification is another problem, especially at the enterprise level. Terminology Management Solutions.
  • Of course, another very real problem is: when language team members adjust or among relatively independent document translation contributors in the open source community, accurate and consistent terminology resources can improve the translation speed and translation quality of new members to a certain extent. After all, There are already a lot of repetitive terminology, which is to make it faster to get started, reduce the workload of post-review and the risk of rework.

Why form "term awareness"? Why be precise?

Tell a little story.

There are two types of life jackets: cold-proof and non-coldproof, and XX did not realize this before, so only life jackets were written in the ship purchase contract with Japan's Mitsubishi Group. As a result, the ship was equipped with life jackets that were not cold-proof. Well, this life jacket cannot used. Later, the term "cold protection immersion suit" appeared in the approved and announced terms of the National Technical Terminology Committee.

This word does not seem to be "terminology" at all, but it is a term that corresponds to a concept.

Without "term awareness", or a concept-based expression habit, the relatively vague word "life jacket" is chosen.

As a translator who depends on language, it is even more necessary to develop a good "terminology awareness" and to express accurately.

In addition, the ability to identify, define, translate new terminology and even develop terminology standards are important professional competencies.

The meaning of terminology is not just as a translation resource (human translation needs to rely on terminology resources, and machine translation also needs the training of reliable professional terminology corpus), it is essentially responsible for the quality of language expression. At the beginning, it was emphasized that the importance of terminology is inseparable from concept-based. Doing a good job in terminology management is actually to clarify the connotation and extension of terminology concepts, and the relationship between concepts and concepts, whether in the human brain or through Tools form a conceptual network, which is to better understand products and technologies, that is, more professional. With in-depth understanding, they will grow into senior translators who can use professional knowledge and language ability to judge the quality of term translation.

Without technical background, ensuring terminology is accurate is the guarantee of technical translation quality

For example, developers or users at home and abroad who follow ShardingSphere documents and blogs are very sensitive to common terms. In many cases, they do not need to read word by word, but only need to grasp some keywords including terms. You can interpret the information of the original author by yourself. Conversely, getting one term wrong can cause unnecessary problems.

The solution: an up-to-date terminology management system

Having said that terminology is very important, how to cultivate "terminology awareness"?

Nowadays, translation is no longer just one person, one pen, one piece of paper and one dictionary.

With the "terminology awareness" at the thinking level, it is natural to use terminology technology to save time and energy, which is the modern upgraded version of "terminology awareness".

In the era of information explosion, the market has higher requirements for translation speed and quantity. How to increase the speed and ensure the quality is a problem that translators need to think about.

In addition to the ability to learn quickly, the translator can't break the corn, forget it after turning it over, and waste a lot of time on repetitive searches; but the human brain is indeed inferior to the computer in terms of storage and calculation. Admit defeat and do what the human brain is good at: comprehend. A smarter way is to use computers to complement each other's advantages and use "human brain + computer" together.

In addition to the improvement of language ability, translators still need to learn professional knowledge and consciously go to the Internet to collect and summarize information on multilingual terminology in one or several fields of interest to build a personal knowledge structure system, cultivate bilingual or even multilingual ability to "Writing" or "speaking", to exchange information, memorizing vocabulary alone cannot achieve qualitative improvement of translation ability. Professional knowledge must be combined with language and cultural knowledge to output, input combined with output.

Terminology management

Terminology management is a series of activities for terminology resources, which can be briefly summarized as the following important knowledge points:

  • The general process of terminology management includes: collection, screening, description, use, update, maintenance, translation, etc.;
  • The terminology management technology includes terminology extraction technology, terminology labeling technology, terminology management system, terminology database technology, etc. The terminology database is the terminology database, which is the place where the terminology is stored by computer based on the terminology management system;
  • Terminology management technology is an important part of modern machine-aided translation technology. Translators can use CAT (Computer-aided Translation) software to call matching terms and add new terms at any time during translation;
  • Pay attention to the construction of customer-oriented terminology management standards, including the implementation of terminology standards and terminology work standards. For example, in enterprise applications, in order to ensure the translation quality of Alibaba Machine Translation in the field of e-commerce, Alibaba proposes a terminology management solution, which formulates a series of standards for terminology management in detail, including how to conduct terminology mining, screening, Translation, etc. (Wang Huashu & Wang Shaoshuang, pp 185-188).

Partially open source terminology management tool

With the development of terminology management, there are many reliable terminology resources available on the Internet.

You can search some authoritative public termbases, such as terminology online.

Of course, in general, search engines such as Google are also sufficient. With the help of a rich corpus of common technical terms, the accuracy of the Google translation engine in translating a single term is also good, but there are exceptions.

As for the terminology management tool, it is actually the simplest. Our commonly used office software such as Word, open office or Note Pad plain text editor, access, curtain, Notion, etc. can be used as tools for personal terminology collection, organization and management. Simple finishing needs.

What I want to share with you are some open source professional terminology management tools, which can be used to try to build a more convenient terminology management system:

  • Apelon DTS 4 Open Source Edition


DTS 4.7.2 supports Windows and Linux systems, and some plugins are also available.

However, I prefer the design of their Documentation, recommended as study material for technical writing in English.

  • termwiki community edition


I prefer termwiki. Students who are interested in terminology research, terminology translation or terminology management can discuss in this terminology community, or want to use it as a professional terminology learning platform. It is highly recommended~

  • Terminologue


Terminologue is a cloud-based open source terminology management tool. After registering and logging in, you can see the ☟ interface to create your own cloud termbase. At present, the trial feeling is still very friendly to novices, and the operation is very simple.

  • Terminator


Terminator is an online terminology management and discussion tool, suitable for terminology management scenarios of team collaboration. It supports terminology management, permission setting, project setting, online terminology search and terminology discussion and other functions, and supports glossary download.

This is the one I opensource.com , but I haven't tried it yet, so here is a translation of its introduction.

Before I knew it, I wrote a lot...

In short, what I want to emphasize is: let's be a professional translator ~ have a sense of terminology!

Interested students, welcome to join the SphereEx SIGs Translation group and do translation together~


1. The course of "The Principle and Practice of Computer Aided Translation" at Peking University

2. Wang Huashu & Wang Shaoshuang, "Terminology Management Guide"

3、Developing Quality Technical Information:A Handbook for Writers and Editors. IBM Press

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根植于Apache 顶级项目「ShardingSphere」,SphereEx 始终秉承开源、共享、生态、平台理念。

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根植于Apache 顶级项目「ShardingSphere」,SphereEx 始终秉承开源、共享、生态、平台理念。

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5 粉丝