Wise Words: Insights from successful terminologists (Part II)

interviews2Following up on my previous blog post (read Part I here) I present today some quotes from more terminologists (hard to pick!). Read the full interviews from these and more experts by accessing TermCoord’s second collection of interviews: Why is terminology your passion. I hope that after reading Part I and Part II, I have encouraged you to access both collections and read the interviews to find your favorite(s) and learn about how terminologists have come to work in and love terminology.

  1. Terminology work was the aspect of translation work that I most enjoyed. So, initially it was the thrill that goes along with confirming your hunches through research. My passion wasn’t so much focused on the linguistic aspects of ‘what should we call this thing in our native language.’ It was the understanding of the concepts and their relationships; and then how do we most easily make that knowledge accessible to others. And beyond the entries, how do you set up a system to optimize it for your users; what inputs do you need to achieve the right outputs for an environment.” Barbara Inge Karsch
  2. “As regards terminologists’ personality and the soft skills they need, in my view the ability to work in a structured, systematic way is essential. In addition, terminologists need a good deal of determination and, at the same time, diplomatic skills, since they often face resistance from within the firms on whose behalf they are working.” Petra Drewer
  3. “Neology is a phenomenon inherent to every natural language. All living languages are constantly adopting new words or lexical units, either in order to adapt to social, scientific and technological changes, or to express the same reality in a different way. Loanwords are one of the existing resources for lexical updating. However, the use of loanwords can have sociolinguistic consequences. The so-called ‘loss of domain’ in a language is simply the result of the large-scale adoption of loanwords, as such words present the sole possibility for expressing concepts in that domain.” Maria Teresa Cabré
  4. “[ ] terminology has become so important in many lines of work (translation, computational linguistics, localisation, databases, etc.), so a basic understanding opens up career opportunities for students. [ ] the intellectual exercise of building databases, identifying ontologies, etc. equips students with intellectual competencies that are useful beyond the confines of terminology itself and helps them further develop their understanding of how the way we formulate things affects our social life and interactions. Examining how terminology evolves over time speaks volumes, for example, about social structures and processes.” Ingrid de Saint-Georges
  5. “I am pleased to see that terminology is no longer the preserve of translators and people interested in languages and that many young people are starting to take an interest in terminology. More and more people are coming to recognise the importance of terminology in industry and in the economy as a whole and links are being established with knowledge management and related areas. Effective knowledge transfer and knowledge management are impossible without (clear) terminology. Terminology is everywhere, and in coming years we will have to pay more attention to the scientific background to terminology and to practical terminology work with a view to solving terminological problems and using the results in a variety of areas.” Petra Drewer
  6. “I am convinced that terminologists could have a place in a great number of large businesses, both public and private, since the work of a terminologist is not confined to translation. It also involves compiling bilingual or multilingual glossaries and databases, documentary and terminological research and even scientific writing and the creation of ontologies.” Pascaline Dury
  7. “I honestly think that the internet can support the survival of “smaller” languages. It makes a wide range of knowledge available to a lot of people. This can eventually foster the survival and success of languages. Even though people complain about the poor standard of language used on the Internet and in social media, the Internet has great potential as a tool for accessing the literature and terminology of minority languages. In my opinion, this unprecedented level of access to digital media can really help to counterbalance the dominance (real or perceived) of a few languages.” Danielle Henripin
  8. I do not think translation students are really aware of the role of terminology until they come up against terms needed for specialist translations, but there are those who, after reading in a general subject and in terminology management, are keen to specialise in it. I think students in other fields of study also become aware of terminology when they need it in their own language during their training and when they learn other languages for specific purposes, even though they may not know that terminology exists as a discipline.Mercè Lorente Casafont
  9. There are sometimes “prejudices” about Terminology and the teachers’ role is to show students that there are close ties but not exclusive between terminology and translation: terminology is essential to any professional communication and it is not limited to an ancillary role for the translation.” Donatella Pulitano
  10. There is no term that is not tied to a concept. This means that terminology relies on two systems, a linguistic system and a conceptual one. The Artificial Intelligence field of ontology, developed in the context of knowledge engineering and defined as a formal definition of a conceptualisation, offers one of the most promising ways forward when it comes to representing conceptual systems. By providing a means for formulating explicit and computational representations of concepts, ontology can serve as a tool not only for operationalising terminology for IT applications, but also for focusing on concepts independently of language.” Christophe Roche
  11. Terminologists must be constant, consistent and curious professionals who are willing to learn about a wide range of issues they may not previously have been familiar with. They have to be systematic and organised, and not be afraid to use new technologies or to network. Above all, they have to love languages, and especially words.” Miguel Sánchez Ibáñez


Happy reading!



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