Content is king and terminology is the queen
I’m writing this post still inebriated by the enthusiasm of the lesson I gave yesterday at the University of Luxembourg in the frame of the Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts together with the team of TermCoord participating with a 20 hours module on terminology. I experienced the pleasure of being in a classroom with nice people interested in my topic and actively participating to the discussion.
Relates to my topic, well, mine was not a lesson, I don’t like to call it in this way. Mine was more an awareness raising session on the importance of terminology consistency in the user experience (UX) of the websites.
Being a web writer and a terminologist makes me see terminology from a different perspective.
Terminology can be seen as a resource that can improve the performance and effectiveness of websites, beyond translation, including user experience.
I started from quoting Bill Gates article written in 1996 “Content is king” and, by providing the students various slides about some terminology inconsistencies in some popular websites, I completed his famous quote by adding to “content is king…and terminology is the queen”!
A consistent terminology is essential part of the interface between user and the website.
Indeterminacy phenomena such as inconsistent terms and icons are the causes of various forms of unclear communication. In the case of websites, terminology is particularly important because terms are operational components of the websites themselves.
The root of all evil is the lack of terminology awareness by developers and the lack of website user experience awareness by translators.
Take a look at this example; clearly here the translator was not aware of the difference between Login and Register. What I want to say is that the one that can really be helping in improving user experience in websites is a kind of “Web Terminologist”, whose profile, other than the traditional terminology know-how, should also be familiar with usability, user experience, accessibility, web design, and even cognitive science.
Maria Pia Montoro
Web content manager and linguistic tester at Intrasoft International Luxembourg.
ECQA certified terminology manager, previously trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg. More info on: WordLo