MySMARTerm1: What is Terminology?

I thought about SMART terms while I was listening to a terminology webinar on the business case. I already knew the acronym*, but I thought it was a smart idea (pun intended!) to use it as terminology management is indeed a smart idea (Did I just say smart again?) because in the long run it saves time, money and energy. Smart, isn’t it? 🙂

My first SMART term, of course, had to be “terminology”. When you study terminology, a differentiation is always made in its definition as it refers to two concepts. (The definitions provided were taken from some of the major sources available):

As a study field:

1.   ISO 1087-1:2000 defines it as the “science studying the structure, formation, development, usage and management of terminologies in various subject fields”.

2. In the Glossary of Terms used in Terminology it is defined as “The study of terms, concepts, and their relationships.”

3. Pavel’s tutorial defines it as “the language discipline dedicated to the scientific study of the concepts and terms used in specialized languages.”

4. For TerminOrgs “it is the name of an academic and professional discipline associated with studying and managing terms. Considered a branch of linguistics, terminology is closely related to lexicology (defining words and creating dictionaries), but with a focus on concepts (analysis, definition, denotation) in special domains. The field of terminology typically supports content creation, translation and other forms of knowledge management.”

5. Birger Hjørland says that “Terminology (with capital T) is the study of terminology”.

6. UN’s Guidelines for terminology policies says “Terminology science is the subject field that investigates the structure, formation, development, usage and management of the terminologies in various subject fields, and that prepares the methodological foundation for many applications.”

7. If course, I had to include what the Wikipedia says: “Terminology is the study of terms and their use… Terminology is a discipline that studies, among other things, the development of such terms and their interrelationships within a culture… Terminology is a discipline that systematically studies the “labelling or designating of concepts” particular to one or more subject fields or domains of human activity.”

As an activity:

1. defines it as a “set of designations belonging to one special language” (ISO 1087-1:2000). Same definition provided by IATE’s TermCoord in its glossary.

2. For TerminOrgs it is “a set of terms in a specialized area, such as “networking terminology” or “automobile manufacturing terminology”.

3. Pavel’s tutorial defines it as “the set of special words belonging to a science, an art, an author, or a social entity.”

4. Birger Hjørland says that “Terminology (with small t) is a technical vocabulary, i.e. a collection of terms, which has a certain coherence by the fact that the terms belong to a single subject area.”

5. I personally love it with someone defines terms in simple words, such as Silvia Cerella Bauer when she says in her ebook that it is “a vocabulary of words, terms and phrases that are used for a specific industry, organization, or field of study.”

As in any study field, you could always say more, but my intention is to give you just a few so that you get smarter about terminology.

*The SMART criteria are used when setting objectives. The acronym stands for specific, measurable, action-oriented, realistic, and time-based.

Note: I will be saving these SMARTerms on a separate page, so you can see the list as they are published.

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