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Content Strategy: Creating Standard Terminology

Having a content strategy in place can benefit a business in many ways, from a better customer experience to reduced costs to higher-quality translations. There are many components of a content strategy, including conducting content audits, understanding your audience using personas and creating a content reuse strategy.

Creating standard terminology is another important component of a content strategy. By standardizing terms, you can produce more consistent content leading to a better customer experience while also reducing costs.

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What is Terminology?

Terminology is a set of terms associated with a particular area. For example:

  • Terms that are specific to your business, such as product names, service offerings, trademarks, etc.
  • Classification of products or services within your business (e.g., Widgets A and B fall under a larger umbrella that you call Product Group X)
  • Phrases that you use consistently such as product descriptions
  • Standard industry terminology

Terminology is everywhere. Defining it can be as big or small as it makes sense for your business; it really depends on the number of products or services you offer and how much customer-facing content you generate. Terminology can be found in all different types of customer-facing content such as website copy, user documentation, brochures, social media, product labels, sales presentations and more.

Why Should You Standardize Terminology?

Multiple people, from product managers to engineers to customer service advocates, create customer-facing content. Without common terminology, these content creators may not be representing your product or service accurately or consistently. Having standard terminology in place for your content creators to use will result in consistent English content, leading to a better customer experience and more cohesive appearance as a brand.

More consistent English content will also lead to higher-quality translations while saving you money. When you share your terminology with your language service provider (LSP), they’ll incorporate it into a glossary, also known as a database. When you send content to translation, the glossary will pre-populate the terms. This saves the translator time, leading to a faster time to market. It also saves you money since the terms that are in the glossary will be identified as fuzzy or repeatable words, which cost less than a brand-new word.

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Creating Standard Terminology

As I mentioned previously, terminology can be found in all different types of customer-facing content. It might be easiest to start with content that contains your product or service offerings, such as website copy, brochures or sales materials. Here are some things to consider as you review content:

  • Are there multiple ways to use the term?
  • Is there more than one way to reference a term?
  • Does the term change with the context?
  • Is the term one word or two, or does it vary based on the context?
  • Do you have trademarks that must be documented a certain way?
  • Look at the capitalization

You can use a simple spreadsheet or a document to track the terminology. If necessary, add context for the terms and add any notes that might clarify the terms.

Once you’ve completed a draft and had it validated by the appropriate people within your organization, work with your LSP to incorporate the terminology into a glossary. The translators will translate the terms and if you have them, you’ll want your in-country reviewers to verify the translations. Then the LSP will be able to use the terms for translation work.

Standardizing terminology is an on-going process. You can always expand the scope or add more terms when you release new products or services.


Creating standard terminology for your brand will lead to more consistency and a better customer experience. It will help your teams create content that keeps your brand’s message clear across multiple channels. Having a terminology database will also help keep time and costs down if you plan to translate your content.