It seems to be widely acknowledged that managed terminology is the key linguistic resource to attain high quality in text production and translation. However, the question as to whether terminology work is (or can be) economically advantageous is frequently raised, since it is very difficult to express its benefit in numbers.
On the one hand, terminology work is not free of charge, it entails costs. The costs for implementing a terminology management system and for hiring and training personnel for conducting terminology work within business environments are calculable. Much more difficult to express are costs arising from working hours wasted by technical writers and translators while doing terminology research, costs of corrections on documents and, if necessary, products, as well as the lack of reusable components within documentation, development and construction.
On the other hand, the consequence of using misleading terminology may lead to unforeseen costs in the service sector. In a typical example, incorrect spare parts are ordered, down time for the machine is extended, the customer is annoyed and loses confidence in the manufacturer, leading to a loss of prestige. Naturally, the costs for correcting errors caused by missing, inaccurate or ambiguous terminology depend on the sector where they occur, but wherever they occur, they are difficult to calculate.
In this talk, Hans Schwarz will show the benefit and value of terminology work within a company, and will present a model for calculating the return on investment of terminology work.