EFSA’s new multilingual glossary of scientific terms

June 9, 2016 10:25 am


On 1st June, The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) published its first online, multilingual glossary of the key scientific terms used in EFSA’s communications.

The glossary is intended to provide the general public with simple, straightforward definitions of over 250 scientific terms and concepts which can often be quite complex for laypeople.

The main purpose of the new glossary, therefore, is to “support national food safety authorities in their communications to consumers” through the clarification of “concepts or terms that may be unfamiliar to many”, as announced in a press release.

The idea was raised by communication experts from the main national food safety agencies in Europe gathered at a meeting of the EFSA’s Advisory Forum Working Group on Communications.

At present the glossary, which has been managed by the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union and edited by EFSA linguists, is available in English, German, French and Italian in the form of an A-Z list.

The EFSA glossary will be regularly updated and gradually integrated into the “News” and “Discover” sections of EFSA’s website, so that “whenever a term is used for which a layman definition exists, a pop-up opens up where you can read more”.

The glossary is already included in our GlossaryLinks, and the possibility of a future integration with IATE is under discussion.

So far, EFSA’s glossary has been welcomed with enthusiasm. The newspaper Politico defined it as “Food safety for dummies”, saying: “The EU’s food safety agency very helpfully launched a new glossary of food safety terms. Now plebs like us will be able to decipher scientific jargon like ‘non-monotonic dose-response curve’”. “EFSA has committed to become more transparent over the coming years”, they added.

If necessary, the glossary is available upon request as a single WORD/PDF file or in monolingual sdl.xliff format.

Written by Silvia Morani
Communication Trainee at TermCoord

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