Who is Who in Terminology: Ernest K. Dresen (1892-1937)

dresenErnest Karlowitsch Dresen* was a Latvian/Russian-Soviet linguist and an expert on scientific and technical terminology, interlinguistics, and Esperanto.

In 1926 he was the driving force behind the International Federation of National Standardizing Associations (ISA) (now the International Organization for Standardization, ISO) and in 1936 he helped establish an international group of experts on terminology (today’s ISO’s Technical Committee 37). He translated into Russian (along with 4 more translators) the 1931 German dissertation by Eugene Wüster “Linguistic Standardization in Technics”.

He pioneered the creation and promotion of planned languages and the development of principles of terminology standardization for the purpose of mutual understanding without ambiguities, mainly through his report submitted to the 1934 ISA conference which became the inspiration for the ISO Technical Committee 37.

European and Russian pioneering research activities set the methodological and theoretical foundation of most terminology work largely based on the tradition initiated by Dresen and Wüster, who favored the use of international auxiliary languages such as Esperanto in an effort to optimize communication through Interlinguistics to develop international terminology standards. (Campo)Drezen-Moskvo

He was one of the first terminologists who proposed to adopt the semiotic perspective to terminology description and standardization. He suggested that in terminology (nomenclature) of the parts of mechanisms, it was possible to complement definitions with sketches and pictures. (Platonova)

Wüster included Dresen on his list of “intellectual fathers of the terminological theory” during a brief tribute (“International Activity in Terminology: 75 Years of Research – Foundations and Challenges for the Rest of the Century”) to “four dynamic and forward-looking men” who, during the first half of the century, fostered the development of terminology (alongside Schlomann, de Saussure, and Holmstrom). (Cabré/Campo)

*Also found as: Ernest Karloviĉ Drezen (in Esperanto), Ernest Carlovitch Drezen, and Ernst Karlovic Drezen.

Some works by and about Ernest Dresen:

  1. Problem of internationalization of science and technology terminology, history, current state and prospects: Report accepted by the Commission for Technical Terminology at Soviet Academy of Sciences and of the Conference of ISA, Stockholm, 1934
  2. Internationalization of Scientific-Technical Terminology, 1936.
  3. PICHT, Heribert Terminology and Technology Transfer in the Multilingual Information Society: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Terminology. In Commemoration of E. Drezen’s 110th Anniversary.
  4. Further details on Dresen/Wüster work (besides Sources below): I recommend consulting this article by Manuel Halvelik, “The International Terminological Key for Sciences and Technology”, which is in itself and interesting document, but also provides some information on Dresen’s terminological work.
  5. AVERBUH, K. JA. (1994): E. K. Drezen, Terminologist and Standardiser, Terminology Science & Research. Description of the life and work of the Drezen, with special emphasis on his contributions to terminology, classification and standardization. (Translated from Russian by H. Felber et al.)

Sources: (extracted/adapted from)

CABRÉ, M. Teresa. Terminology Today: A Science, an Art or a Practice? Some Aspects on Terminology and Its Development

CAMPO, Angela The Reception of Eugen Wüster’s Work and the Development of Terminology (2012)

PLATONOVA, Marina. Term formation and application in the thematic field “environment and ecology”: contrastive analysis. (2011)

The Wikipedia in German [visited on 12/29/2014]

The Wikipedia in Esperanto [visited on 12/29/2014]

Picture source 1

Picture source 2

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