Overcoming Terminologiphobia: Causes and cures!

Phobia-SymptomsIt was professor Mark D. Childress who referred to this term in his article “Terminologiphobia” in a Multilingual Magazine article published in June 2006. It was a fun article about how he had to deal on a daily basis with the terminology phobias that students had when dealing with terminology management for the first time. It was a run-for-your-life feeling that kept them on edge.

I smiled when I read his article because I remembered the first time I myself approached the overwhelming task of learning about terminology. Why is this fear so common among translators and other professionals when we deal with terminology every day? From a visit to the dentist to a call to our bank, or lawyer (well, unless you haven’t paid your debts, of course!). We deal with terminology every day!

The funny part is that it is precisely that contact with specialized terminology which has made it so scary. We always wanted our doctor to go straight to the point and “speak our language”, and Childress suggests that those negative experiences with terminology makes people fearful. A powerful psychological factor I should say!

Professor Childress makes a suggestion to Terminology teachers and instructors, which is to basically make it a more approachable and practical subject.

This is why I created this blog. And do what I did to overcome the fear: start slow. Read the basics first. You have great information on the Internet today. Check out my basic Readings in Terminology, visit TermCoord’s webpage to learn about their traineeships and know about the universities that offer courses, or just check out their e-books and follow their blog for interesting and entertaining posts. Check out BIK terminology for practical cases on terminology work, and if you speak Italian, the blog by Licia Corbolante Terminologia etc, is also full of practical cases (If your Italian is basic like mine, she has this great tool that you can double click on any word and it gives you a definition!).

Pick your favorite Terminology place here, or your favorite training course here.

Maybe after a few clicks here and there you will realize, as Professor Childress says, that you have been a terminologist for far longer than you ever expected!


Childress, Mark D. Terminologiphobia. Multilingual Magazine, June 2006 (page 86).

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