Why study Terminology? The Power of Words
Since the advent of social media, information is relayed in no time with only one click. While some years ago traditional mediums could ruin – or restore – the reputation of a company by publishing a post in the paper or sharing the news on TV, anyone can now become a journalist, give his/her opinion on any topic and spread it all around the world.
This is where communication comes in handy – more than ever. According to the Holmes Report, companies with effective communication strategies have 47% higher returns to shareholders, more engaged employees and less turnover. Conversely, among 400 corporations surveyed over a year, almost $40 billion were lost due to employee misunderstanding.
Although external communication often initially comes to mind, internal communication is just as important. Before focusing on client satisfaction, companies and organizations should execute an efficient internal PR strategy. When employees are inspired by a common sense of purpose and identity, they are more likely to remain loyal and embrace the brand… But how should you go about it?
To stand out from the crowd, marketers have to use twice as much imagination, especially as social media have given many companies and organizations the opportunity to sing the praises of their products and/or services to a large audience in a few clicks – even with a tight budget. Unfortunately, many teams go for attractive visuals to catch people’s attention, forgetting about the power words can have.
Verbal branding is just as important as visual communication, especially in the context of globalization, where many companies and organizations deal with overseas markets and audiences. Verbal identity should be culturally aware and nuanced in its messaging, while still being vibrant enough to stand out from local brand alternatives.
Hence the importance of terminology – it’s not just about finding a pun or a catchy slogan, rather it’s about choosing the right words, bearing in mind the concepts they refer to, both from a linguistic and a cultural point of view, as well as the impact they may have on the target audience. No matter which way a brand chooses to establish a dialogue with its consumers, the use of words is critical to craft stories people will embrace.
Although we focused on the value of terminology in both corporate and institutional communication and the necessity to hire more linguists, this is also the case in other fields involving any act of communication, such as politics, translation and interpretation.
So, even if people often underestimate the importance of terminology, your expertise is of great value – if not vital – to many companies and institutions.
As the saying goes, “The beginning of wisdom is a definition of terms”(Socrates).
New section created by Laura Campan – Translator, Liaison Interpreter and Communication Manager, currently completing a six-month communication internship at the Terminology Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg)