The importance of terminological accuracy in translation

Traducción técnica y especializada

The process of translating texts into different languages requires a high level of skill and knowledge, as both the meaning and style of the original text must be preserved. For an accurate and consistent translation, the translator must have in-depth knowledge of the languages concerned and of the terminology specific to the subject matter.

In this post, we discuss the importance of terminological accuracy in translation and how terminology errors can negatively affect the quality of the output.

Terminology in translation

Terminology is a set of technical and specific terms used in a given field of knowledge, such as medicine, engineering, law, architecture, information technology or psychology.

To be able to accurately translate specific content, an understanding of the terminology is absolutely vital. For example, some legal and financial terms lose their original meaning if they’re translated literally.

Terminology matters in technical and specialised translation. But it’s equally important for the translation of more general content. In addition, terminology may differ from one country to another and may even vary in different regions of the same country.

Terminological accuracy in technical and specialised translation

When it comes to technical and specialised translation, terminological accuracy is paramount. Documents dealing with these subjects are highly specialised and contain specific terminology that only experts in the field can be familiar with. For this reason, the translator must have thorough and up-to-date knowledge of the subject matter and the relevant technical terms used.

Poor terminological accuracy in technical translations can have serious consequences. For example, if an instruction manual for industrial machinery has been badly translated, an error in terminology could result in a procedure being performed incorrectly, putting the safety of equipment and workers at risk.

That’s why it’s so important to choose a translator who has experience and subject matter expertise, who has access to terminology resources and computer-assisted translation tools, and who does a thorough review of their work before delivering the final translation.

How to ensure terminological accuracy in translation

To achieve terminological accuracy, the translation process must include these crucial steps.

Do some preliminary research

The translator should research the subject matter and the specific terminology used in that field.

Choose the right technical dictionary

Many specialised subject areas have dictionaries devoted just to them, so it’s important to choose the right one for the translation project.

Use computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools

CAT tools help the translator maintain terminological consistency and accuracy throughout the translation project. In particular, these tools enable the translator to adopt a consistent linguistic and terminological approach across all the material translated for the same client. And this is the best way to prevent errors in terminology and style.

Work with a specialist translator

If the text is highly specialised, the most reliable and safest option is to work with specialist translators who are experts in the subject matter.

These translators have specific training in their specialist field and keep abreast of any changes or developments. Also, they usually have extensive experience in the subject area, which means they can find the right terminology and language to fit the requirements of the text.


In translation, the importance of terminological accuracy and consistency cannot be underestimated. Translators play a pivotal role in this process. They should have thorough knowledge of the subject matter of the material they’re translating. They should use the most appropriate terminology resources. And they should carefully review their translation before handing it over to the client.

This is the only way to ensure an accurate and consistent translation that meets the client’s expectations and is meaningful to the target audience.

At Traducendo, we take the quality of our translations very seriously and we believe that terminological accuracy is a fundamental part of the equation. That’s why we create and maintain glossaries and term bases specific to each client, to ensure that the language used in their translations is always consistent and accurate.

This is especially true for our clients who require technical or specialised translations, where the specific terminology can be very complex and varied.

By having client-specific glossaries and term bases, our translators can ensure that the language used in their translations is consistent and accurate. This helps avoid any possible confusion or errors that may result from a lack of uniformity in the terminology.

Better still, this practice not only ensures greater terminological accuracy, but it also allows us to better adapt to the specific language needs of each client. By customising our glossaries and term bases for each project, we’re able to create translations that are tailored to the target audience. And this can be especially crucial for clients seeking to communicate with very specific and varied audiences.

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