Readings in Terminology

“All my life I've looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” - Ernest Hemingway

“All my life I’ve looked at words as though I were seeing them for the first time.” – Ernest Hemingway

* Recommended for beginners/Ah-Ha! moment 

** Intermediate

*** Advanced


*The Pavel tutorial is a free course offered by the Government of Canada’s Translation Bureau (TERMIUMPlus). Not only is it the most complete course you will find online, but it is well organized, easy to understand, and you can read it in English, French, and Spanish. The only issue is that it hasn’t been updated for a while, but it contains all the information that you would expect to learn from a general terminology course. Also, check out their Glossary.

**Handbook of terminology by Silvia Pavel and Diane Nolet. The Introduction refers to Terminology in general; Chapter I “Principles of Terminology Research” includes Subject-Field Classification, Identifying Terminology Units, and the Single-Concept Principle, etc.; Chapter II “Terminology Work Methodology” includes “Establish the Diagram of the Concepts to be Defined”, “Load the Records into a Database and Proofread Them to Confirm Conformity”, etc.; Chapter III “Terminology Work Tools” includes “Term-Extraction Tools”, “Terminology Research Tools”, “Automated term-extraction tools”, etc. The Handbook also has useful Appendixes and a Glossary.

*Notes on Terminology, gives some general notes on several authors and links to terminology projects and related sites.

*The POINTER report. Proposal for an operational infrastructure for terminology in Europe. University of Surrey, provides basic notions on terminology and is a practical case on terminology.

*Basic Aspects of Terminology Management, a Bachelor’s Diploma Thesis by Kamila Králíková of the Masaryk University (Czech Republic) is a good read for beginners. It includes definitions, talks about standards, and other basic information, and includes a glossary.

*/**Guidelines for collaborative legal/administration terminology work published by LISE (Legal Language Interoperability Services). A good example of a guide and workflow followed for a terminology project. It has a great glossary on terminology terms on page 73.

*/**Guidelines for Terminology Policies. The International Information Centre for Terminology (InfoTerm), founded in 1971 by contract with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), compiled these guidelines in 2005, (at the request of UNESCO). Beginners might find it long and complex but you may want to read page 3 in which they define basic concepts such as terminology science, terminology management systems (TMSs), etc.; page 12, in which they explain the difference between terminography and lexicography; and page 34, in which they provide a glossary with the terms used in the document that will also help better understand some terms. You can find the guidelines in several languages here.

*/**Terminology Starter Guide by TerminOrgs (Terminology for Large Organizations) provides a very complete terminology guide. Chapter 3 gives a detailed definition of terms, concepts, terminology, terminology management, etc., but worth reading the whole thing!

**Quality Assurance in Terminology Management: Recommendations from the TermFactory project by Igor Kudashev (2013) via the University of Helsinki. The TermFactory project is a “platform developed for presentation of collaboratively created terminological, ontological, and lexicographical content in the form of ontologies”. You may find this document useful, but if you are a beginner just glance through it and make sure you read the definition of basic concepts on page 14. I also recommend reading the Overview (section 1) which talks about e.g. ontology.

**Recommendations for Terminology Work. The Working Party on Terminology and Documentation of COTSOES (Conference of Translation Services of European States) edited this 2002 publication which includes basic and advanced information on terminology. Sections are: (1) What is Terminology for?, (2) What is Terminology?, (3) Terminological Co-operation, (4) The Terminological Record, (5) Terminological Working Methods, and (6) Classification, plus three annexes on Basic Concepts (Glossary), Bibliography, and Useful Internet Addresses.

***The Journal of Specialized Translation. Special Issue on Terminology, Phraseology and Translation, July 2012. It includes 10 interesting and useful articles on terminology such as “Terminology in the age of multilingual corpora” by Alan K. Melby and “Meeting translators’ needs: translation-oriented terminological management and applications” by Isabel Durán Muñoz.

* Procedural Manual on Terminology. Translation-Oriented Terminology Work, Vesna Lušicky and Tanja Wissik. January 2015.

*The Global English Style Guide: Writing Clear, Translatable Documentation for a Global Market by John R. Kohl. Read my blog post here.


*A short Guide to Terminology Work by Michèle Kaennel and Renate Prüller and includes the following sections: (1) Am I about to re-invent the wheel?, (2) A Terminology for Whom?, (3) Keeping Tracks, (4) Printed or electronic terminology?, (5) What is the minimal terminology information? (Compulsory terminological and management fields -a table-), (6) Where to start and where to stop?, (7) Original or borrowed definitions?, (8) One or several records per term – One or several terms per record?, (9) What about multilingual terminologies?, and it ends with a 9-point list of steps that a terminology project should include.

**Four questions about strategic change – Success factors in the development and implementation of terminology policies by Anja Drame of InfoTerm. A document answering the following questions: (1) What is a terminology policy, (2) Who needs a terminology policy? (3) Why are terminology policies useful? (4) How are terminology policies made? (5) Summary

***Frame-Based Terminology, (published by LexiCon Research Group) an excerpt from an article by Pamela Faber, talks about this cognitive approach to terminology, which seems to share many of the same premises as the Communicative Theory of Terminology.

***Is terminology specialized lexicography? The experience of French-speaking countries by John Humbley. Hermes Journal of Linguistics, no. 18 (1997).

**Language planning and domain dynamics: Challenges in term creation is an article by Frieda Steurs and Hendrik J. Kockaert from the University of Leuven and the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein. In this article they refer not only to term creation (esp. borrowing) but also the challenges of finding equivalents in a multilingual environment. Domain dynamics and domain loss are also discussed in the second part. They touch briefly on language planning and policy.

*Professional Corporate Terminology Management: Tips and Tricks for a Successful Introduction by Silvia Cerrella Bauer provides readers interested in professionally managing corporate terminology with hints and practical tips on successfully implementing terminology management in an organization.

*Selected Words (Articles) by Uwe Muegge, includes several articles on terminology. I wrote a blog post with several quotes on a few of his articles called “8 quotes by terminologist Uwe Muegge”. You will find more advanced readings in his list too, but the articles I mention in my blog post are easy to read and hands-on.

*/**Terminology in the age of multilingual corpora by Allan K. Melby, provides an overview on the case of terminology management and terminology exchange and talks about the TermBase eXchange (TBX) standard.

*The benefits of terminology management by Graham P. Oxtoby refers to the software called TermX PRO, a software package that he himself created, but in the first two pages he explains why terminology management is important.

**The Textual Function of Terminology in Business and Finance Discourse This article by Fernando Chueca in the Journal of Specialized Translation (JoSTrans) might seem a bit advanced, but you might want to read the sections “What is a word and what is a term?” and “How can we identify terms”.

***Theories of terminology. Their description, prescription and explanation by Teresa Cabré Castellví refers to the history of terminology and talks about the General Theory of Terminology and the Communicative Theory of Terminology. This used to be a freely available PDF but now you have to subscribe and pay. (advanced reading)

*Working with terminology at Microsoft. A case study. By Licia Corbolante, describes the evolution of terminology work and workflow at Microsoft from simple isolated glossaries to its current multilingual, concept-oriented database. A 3-page read, this is a presentation she made during the 2008 tcworld conference.

**What can be an Object of Terminological Description in a Term Bank, an article by Igor Kudashev of the University of Helsinki, defines what is a term bank and a terminological description, talks about term banks as reference sources, provides examples of LSP units that can be objects of terminological description in a term bank, and refers to designations that are unlikely to be objects of terminological description.

*The article “Translation terminology” was written as a guest post in the blog “Carol’s Adventures in Translation” by a terminology expert who is very active in Twitter, Raphaël Toussaint, from Belgium (I recommend you follow him to be updated on the latest in terminology @Mulleflupp). He refers to the different uses of terminology (academic, corporate and translation), the complex scenarios that translators often have to cope with when dealing with client termbases, and compares the use of Word vs Excel vs a CAT tool to manage terminology. He wraps it up by giving an important piece of advice on the need to follow TM rules.

Other resources:

*Lecture notes by terminologist Gerhard Budin, published by the Vienna University Computer Centre (Department of Philosophy of Science; Department of Translation Studies). It includes (1) Types and Applications of Terminology Management, (2) Foundations of Terminology, (3) Terminology Management and Quality Assurance, (4) Terminology and Technical Translation, (5) Aims and Purposes of Technical (6) Communication, (7) Terminology Planning, and (8) Recommended Further Reading

*The Wikipedia on terminology.

*The Epistemological Lifeboat talks about the history and other general aspects of terminology in one of their Science Studies.

*The importance of corporate terminology management, an e-book by Silvia Cerrella Bauer and Diana Brandle is a short document that gives some helpful tips.

*Terminology Management in Companies. A Power Presentation by Prof. Dr. Petra Drewer.

**Terminology in a Corporate Environment. A practical case published by Silva Cerella-Bauer which provides an account of the terminology process that took place in a language department of a company.

*Let’s Talk Terminology. A series of blog posts on how to manage monolingual terminology by Val Swisher. CEO of Content Rules.


Favorite Page: Terminology Coordination (TermCoord) of the European Parliament is your first place to go for updated information on terminology. Their InterActive Terminology for Europe (IATE), operational since 2004, is the terminology database for all EU institutions and was created with the aim of providing an internet-based service for sharing terminology between institutions. It is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive page, with blog included (’s top (#4) Language Prof. Blog 2014). You will also find publications, traineeships, a neologism database, a glossary, their DocHound document search tool, cooperation with universities, theses and papers, and much, much more.

The European Association for Terminology is a “non-profit professional organisation for the terminology sector in Europe in particular. It is designed to further plurilingualism through terminology, to provide a European platform for promoting and professionalising terminological activities and improving awareness of them, and to liaise and cooperate actively with other relevant organisations, associations and institutions at all levels.”

International Information Centre for Terminology (InfoTerm), as founded in 1971 by contract with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with the objective to support and co-ordinate international co-operation in the field of terminology.


On Good Terms with Terminologists by Barbara Inge Karsch and Jost Zetzsche, on mapping some of the differences and similarities in each other’s approach to terminology.

Interviews to prominent terminologists prepared y trainees of the Terminology Coordination Unit or translators/terminologists of the European Parliament and made with terminologists who have an active contribution to this discipline.

Also visit my interviews section in this blog Terminology Talks.

Personal websites that include articles and other useful information:

Terminologist Rodolfo Maslias

Terminologist Uwe Muegge

Terminology Rocks a page curated by Maria Pia Montoro, owner of terminology blog WordLo. (You need to have a account).


Interview: Rodolfo Maslias, interview with Rodolfo Maslias, the head of the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, by Gala Gil Amat.

Interview: Tim Cooper, a terminologist of the European Commission’s Directorate General for Translation on terminology and translation. An interview by Andy Walker published by the Journal of Specialized Translation (JoSTrans), provides an easy explanation of what a term.

Top 5 tips to enhance your terminology management IQ: Strategies from the field, by Net-Translators and

Managing Source Terminology Even if You Don’t Translate by Net-Translators and Content Rules.

Terminology personas: the role of terminologist and terminology manager” presented by Silvia Cerrella Baeur (I have other resources from her in my blog), Managing Director of CB Multilingual. An SDL Trados video.

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