The Brussels Declaration – for international cooperation on terminology

The first Terminology Summit of the European Association for Terminology (EAFT) took place in Brussels (Belgium) fifteen years ago in 2002 and the Declaration for International Cooperation on Terminology, signed on June 15, was one of its key outcomes, as it gathered a series of principles and actions to promote “special language communication based on multilingualism”. The idea behind this document was to showcase Terminology in society as a whole and provide a useful tool that could be used in different contexts.

It is important to include it in this blog as permanent reference, and it is also a good opportunity to take a quick look at some highlights. The declaration starts by saying that the signing representatives consider that “terminology is omnipresent in all human activity”. This is certainly a useful fact when we are selling Terminology, and a phrase that has to be repeated over and over again if we want to keep giving Terminology the place that it deserves.

Another element of the Declaration points out to the value of terminology “as a tool for communication and transfer of knowledge” and that we need to make professionals and decision-makers aware of this fact—not an easy task when we are trying to sell terminology! However, I think that the Declaration is indeed a good tool for us to prove that managing terminology effectively and efficiently is a great investment towards delivering high-quality translations and technical documentation.

The second part of the Declaration encourages States and governments, intergovernmental bodies and international organizations to get involved in language policies and it offers 13 suggested lines of action to achieve this purpose. Although it focuses on the work that needs to be done by those entities —e.g., establish policies and funding—I believe that we, as individuals, can take it as a guideline to bring the Declaration to our own realities.

We can make alliances with peers to find new ways to collaborate with each other by sharing experiences, initiatives, and projects. We can raise awareness on the importance of doing systematic terminology work. We can create initiatives to promote the use of terminology in our field. We can help encourage multilingualism. We can share terminologies with colleagues/peers. If we cannot afford travel, we can follow international activities in social media. If you work in the academics field, you can try to encourage authorities to include Terminology in translation curricula (or in the industry that you are working).

If you want to read the full text (it’s just two pages), you can download it here (see below) or visit EAFT’s website.

Brussels Terminology Declaration

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