Lessons learned from TermCoord’s terminology interviews in 2017

It is very enlightening to read what terminologists around the world have to say, so I present below some quotes from the language lovers interviewed by TermCoord this year. I believe they help us reflect about important terminology issues. Not one comment is more relevant than the other, so I present them in alphabetical order. Please check the links to read more about their backgrounds and the full interviews. Enjoy !

  1. I am thoroughly convinced that, while terminological training should involve learning about and applying the main terminological theories, there should be a focus on the methods students are most likely to use in their future careers, which will see them working with various text types and discourses and managing a number of terminological resources. When thinking about new ways of teaching terminology, we should also consider how it can vary according to context and/or text type (including the web genre).Jana Altmanova, researcher and lecturer of French language, linguistics and translation in the Department of Literature, Linguistics and Comparative Studies at the Orientale
  2. Corpora have improved and accelerated practically-oriented applied research in terminography and lexicography and have promoted semasiology, that is working from a term to a concept by analysing corpus data, including the collocational environment of terms, to arrive at their meaning. It’s difficult to imagine a modern bilingual dictionary or a termbase developed without any input from parallel and comparable corpus data. —Łucja Biel, Associate Professor at the Institute of Applied Linguistics, University of Warsaw, Poland.
  3. The future translator has no choice but to increasingly use technologies that get sophisticated in time, in order to deliver a final top quality product. The new translator profile must include advanced technological competence, which will lead to new professional openings such as terminologists, writers and reviewers of specialised texts, TM reviewers, CAT engine creators and localisers, etc.Anabel Borja, PhD degree in Translation (UAB), a Master’s degree in Business Law (UV), a Postgraduate degree in University Training (UV)
  4. It is correct to say that terminologists now integrate both the traditional concept-to-term approach (onomasiology), as well as the term-to-concept approach (semasiology) that was previously more typical of lexicographers. In terminology, the driving force behind the move towards semasiology has been corpora. A corpus is a large collection of authentic texts stored in electronic form. The most direct access points into a corpus are lexical items, rather than concepts. —Lynne Bowker, Full Professor of Translation (FR-EN) and Information Studies at the University of Ottawa, Certified Translator, Member of the Association of Translators and Interpreters of Ontario (ATIO).
  5. Personally, I try to make them see [students] that, thanks to terminology work, they can resolve their lexical needs from any one of its perspectives: cognitive, socio-functional, grammatical. I do think that having an excellent skill in terminology management does add value to language professionals’ CVs whether working in languages from a monolingual or a multilingual perspective. —María Rosa Castro Prieto, Spanish Philology Department at the Autonomous University of Madrid (UAM).
  6. Today it is important to elaborate linguo-technological and linguo-didactic principles of future terminology, which will contribute to the further development of integrated traditional, electronic and virtual terminology studies. —Victoria L. Ivashchenko is the Head of the Terminology Commission under International Committee оf Slavonic Scholars, Professor
  7. I believe that theory-based or theory-oriented terminology can be studied as a separate discipline but I am a very passionate supporter of the interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature of terminology exactly because it connects to knowledge about the world; I certainly cannot think of contemporary translation studies without terminology in the curriculThemis Kaniklidou, Assistant Professor in Translation Studies and Associate Director of the Ph.D. programme at the Hellenic American University.
  8. With machine learning being used more frequently in different types of applications, I expect that future ‘intelligent’ technologies in practice-oriented terminology will take over some of the tasks when creating terminological databases, such as creating definitions for new concepts. Perhaps we will witness a meaning extension of the term ‘post-editing’ in the near future as it will probably also become partly a reality in practice-oriented terminology. — Koen Kerremans, Assistant professor at the department of Linguistics and Literary Studies (Faculty of Arts and Philosophy) of Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB)
  9. Linguistic studies are being connected with new needs of the market and I am very pleased to see how many universities are developing new graduate and postgraduate modules, connecting language with communication and technology and I can assure you, terminology with all its multiple aspects and uses is always part of them.Rodolfo Maslias, Head of Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.
  10. Nowadays, everything is easier for young people stepping into the world of terminology than it was for my generation. We were mostly autodidacts, whereas today there are terminology workshops, seminars, schools, meetings in which terminological knowledge and skills can be acquired. I made my own methodology for my PhD thesis because I had no role models, and today there are many PhDs on terminology issues related to various fields. However, the important thing is practice, constant work on concrete language material and continuous collaboration between linguists and experts in a specific field. —Milica Mihaljević, PhD in linguistics from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb in 1984.
  11. It really matters that translators can have immediate access to reliable terminology in the numerous fields they tackle. I would say that the less time they have to translate a text, the more solid terminology has to be. Indeed, the search for the right word for a concept can take a lot of time, so you can imagine how much time you can save when you happen to find in one click all the terminology you need. —Caroline Soteras-Scuflaire, French translator and terminologist at the European Parliament.
  12. I would say that terminology, together with a very good knowledge of the culture and customs of your client, is one of the most important things when interpreting. I always prepare a glossary. Even when I am already familiar with the topic, I always compile a special glossary or update the existing one. In our jargon we call this a ‘crutch’, which helps us to manage various challenging situations that occur during every interpreting task. —Tomáš Sovinec, PhD in Translation and Interpretation from the Faculty of Arts of the Comenius University in Bratislava, Slovakia.
  13. The quality of the MT output depends a lot on the construction and maintenance of the underlying dictionary. This is where terminologists play a significant role, in making sure that the right set of contextual vocabulary is in place, is broad enough and is adapted as required along the project. —Axelle Vansnick, Terminologist at the NATO Standardization Office (NSO).
  14. Beside solid knowledge of the theoretical framework of terminology, information mining competences and technology competences are essential. So are knowledge about language resources (e.g. corpora), repositories and catalogues. And since terminologists are increasingly required to work collaboratively, a capacity for teamwork also comes in handy.Tanja Wissik, PhD from the University of Vienna in translation studies with a specialization in the field of terminology and corpus linguistics.
  15. Terminology is ‘applied philosophy’, in the sense that it forces you to think about the nature of a concept, that is: to think about the essence of something, about what it really is. —Folkert Zijlstra, Senior Terminologist and Head of the NATO Terminology Office).

Further reading:

Why is Terminology your Passion? A collection of interviews by TermCoord.

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