9 Steps for Successful Corporate Terminology Management

9stepsI read about Dr. Petra Drewer’s 9 steps in a presentation she made during TermNet’s 2011 Terminology Summer School (see Sources below). The 9 stages are also described in Ariane Großjean’s book “Corporate Terminology Management: An approach in theory and practice”, which I am raffling on occasion of my blog’s second anniversary. So I thought I’d share some highlights and encourage you to read the presentation for more details.

The 9 stages do not follow a strict chronological order and, depending on your needs, they might overlap in terms of content and timing. Note: Subtitles in bold were taken from Drewer’s presentation; subtitles in parenthesis were taken from Großjean’s book.

  1. Objectives and planning: (a) backing and support—get top-down and bottom-up support, (b) scope and objectives—analyze current state and future needs, set clear objective; (c) schedule and budget—estimate of time and costs for nonrecurring and recurring tasks (personnel and system expenses); use existing technologies and content, define milestones; (d) people/groups involved—who will use the results, who will be responsible for the terminology project.
  2. Term harvesting (term collection): (a) collect terminological data throughout the company–quality assessment of e.g. glossaries, word lists, documentation corpus; (b) extract terms from texts (manual, semiautomatic, automatic) and revise them, eliminating different word forms, doublings, and general terms.
  3. Concept selection and organization (Concept-based structuring): (a) assign collected terms to the concepts, (b) write definitions (representations of a concept by a descriptive statement which serves to differentiate it from related concepts.)
  4. Terminology standardization (Linguistic assessment and revision): (a) select one preferred term per concept (check Dr. Drewer’s presentation below for a list of criteria); (b) reject all synonyms; (c) establish spelling rules
  5. Term formation (Creation of new terms): New terms must comply with the following criteria: (a) linguistic economy, brevity; (b) neutrality, political correctness (especially regarding connotation), (c) appropriateness for target groups; (d) pronounceability; (e) potential for derivation (derivability); (f) transparency/motivation; (g) preference for native language. See her presentation for details on term creation methods taken from ISO 704.
  6. Terminology management system (Terminology administration): (a) select terminology management system to store your data in a termbase. Großjean has a separate section in her book on computer-assisted terminology management; (b) select data categories—see “Data Modelling and Data Categories for Terminology Management” by Sue Ellen Wright and my blog post “A termbase: What you should know”.
  7. Distribution (Terminology provision and dissemination): (a) print or electronic version, (b) shared on the intranet or the Internet, (c) internal or external distribution, (d) decide if you will be sharing the complete termbase or just glossaries or vocabularies.
  8. Maintenance (Terminology maintenance): Formal maintenance refers to validation of content, language, formality, and technology. Continuous termbase updating by technical/terminology experts is a must.
  9. Checking (Control of terminology usage): (a) ensure that only approved terms are used; (b) monitor and control terminology manually by experts or automatically by controlled language checkers to verify the correct use of terminology as well as spelling, grammar, and phrasing rules.

The second part of Dr. Drewer’s book presents a practical case on how these nine stages might work in a business environment. Sign up for my book raffle here to win a copy of this book.

Sources and further reading:

Drewer, Petra. Terminology Management in Companies. Audiovisual presentation.

Großjean, Ariane Corporate Terminology Management: An approach in theory and practice.


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2 Comments on “9 Steps for Successful Corporate Terminology Management

  1. Yes! Very interesting! Let me add as a source the international standard ISO 15188: Project management guidelines for terminology standardization.

  2. Thanks for adding this information, Katerina, and for taking the time to write your comment. People might want to look at this version of ISO 15188 and learn more: http://bit.ly/1MhOxSp

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