Visit to TermCoord in Luxembourg

Last day of work, with Rodolfo Maslias and Maria Pia Montoro

Hello everybody. I’m finally back in DC after my week-long  study visit to the Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) of the European Parliament, and I have now the time and energy to report on my visit after recovering from jetlag and dealing with personal and professional matters.

First of all, I want to thank Rodolfo Maslias, Head of the Unit, and his staff for giving me a great welcome and also making me feel like part of their team from day one. They gave me an office and an email account so I could be informed of everything they discussed and see the external emails that staff receives from the organization. They allowed me to attend their meetings and took me out for lunch, dinner, and even took me for a nice walk in the city. I cannot mention each one of them here, but my appreciation goes out to each one of you.

It meant a lot to me to finally meet Rodolfo and Maria Pia Montoro in person, after exchanging information with them for over a year when I started my blog. Maria Pia gave me the first advice on how to manage a blog, based on her own experience with her terminology blog WordLo, and Rodolfo, who also was the first person I interviewed for my blog.

Maria Pia and I also had the chance to skype with Licia Corbolante, who has a successful blog on terminology in Italian, terminologia etc. It was the first time that I had the opportunity to talk to her and to “personally” thank her for all her support during all this time. It was nice to be able to talk to my two favorite Italian ladies at the same time!

The first day, Rodolfo and Maja Pušpan gave me a thorough presentation on the information contained in their intranet page which has a lot of useful information for their staff. I felt like a kid in a candy store. So many things to learn! I spent most of the week clicking away and discovering excellent little jewels. By the way, I recommend you to take some time and browse their webpage thoroughly, since they make available to the public valuable information, such as the workflow diagrams on how they manage terminology that you can see here.

I was invited to their weekly meeting and I was impressed on how well organized they were, following up of previous issues and giving each other feedback on different events and even taking a few minutes to look at funny findings in the form of pictures and cartoons. I think it’s a great way to create a comfortable work environment. You can see from their exchanges that the reason why IATE is so successful it’s because of the team that keeps it going, from the staff to the trainees who are extremely committed to their work.

I was invited to meet with Pilar Martínez and Carmen Torregrosa, Spanish translators, who provided great information on how they handle terminology and work with IATE and QUEST (metasearch) and EURAMIS (translation memory), which are the tools they use to find bilingual concordances.  Terminologists also use these and other tools. I found two presentations online that can give you a better idea of the tools they use. One is called “Terminology” by terminologist Tim Cooper (2011) and “Translation tools Computer assisted translation and workflow” by Andreas Taes, (2011).  I also met with María Mesías, Quality-control coordinator, who explained the translation quality control process.

Terminologist Manos Peclaris explained the use of Synchroterm, the term extractor they are currently using and Clara Machado showed me the “insides” of IATE and how it works. Simona Tigris, one of the outstanding trainees of TermCoord, interviewed me. It was an interesting process and I was once again impressed with the preparation and professionalism of the trainees. I had even the honor to attend a piano concert by staff member Violina Stamtcheva during lunch time as part of an artistic show by EP employees. What a treat!

The last day was my D-day, when I had the presentation on my blog which was an opportunity to explain how the blog grew from rags to riches, as the presentation was called.  I want to thank all attendees for making this an unforgettable experience.

All in all, the week went too fast. It was very productive and an outstanding learning experience, but what was most rewarding was meeting the people behind TermCoord and IATE, and feeling at home, being able to speak our common terminology language, and seeing firsthand how committed they are to making it work and disseminate and increase terminology awareness. My congratulations to such a great team, and to each one of you my biggest Merci!

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