Where could I work?

In large organisations, a terminology professional can carry out various jobs such as terminology project manager, terminologist, computational linguist, translator or localization expert.

Terminology work and terminology management are a prerequisite for specialised/technical communication, translation of specialized texts and smooth knowledge transfer.

Terminology work is an interdisciplinary activity, which involves tasks from a variety of fields such as linguistics, informatics, cognitive science, documentation and knowledge management, which are carried out in a multilingual and highly-specialised environment. In order to be eligible for the multifaceted job profile of a terminologist, a professional needs to possess specific skills, competences and knowledge.

Tasks Description

Before focusing on the Professional Profile of a terminologist, here is a summary of the typical tasks carried out nowadays by a terminologist:

  • Analyse terminology needs of the specific environment or target users
  • Terminology planning activity (analyse terminology needs of companies and design/implement an efficient terminology management workflow/strategy)
  • Terminology work (write definitions, coin new terms, define concepts)
  • Develop mono- or multilingual terminology databases
  • Communication with subject-matter experts (to determine the appropriate terms for concepts)
  • Analyse and test terminology software available on the market
  • Prepare and manage terminology collections (terminology databases such as glossary, vocabulary, nomenclature, term list, etc.)
  • Set up a termbase and data structure compliant with industry standards
  • Terminology database management (administer and maintain termbases)
  • Design and implement terminology management systems
  • Give training, consultation and support on terminology work
  • Organise and lead a terminology team

Skills Description

Managing all these different tasks in the field of terminology requires skills in the four broad competency areas: linguistics, IT, communication and management. The key skills required from a professional terminologist can be summarised as the following:

Terminology and Language Skills:

  • Advanced knowledge of the principles of terminology (theory and practice)
  • Knowledge of linguistic principles
  • Competence in field-specific languages
  • Excellent language competence in mother-tongue
  • Proficiency in at least one language in addition to the native language
  • Linguistic creativity and highly developed feel for languages
  • Research competences and ability to identify essential information
  • Management competence of terminology collections
  • Competence of knowledge management (KM)

Management and Communication Skills:

  • Project management competence
  • Intercultural competence
  • Ability to plan and manage processes and projects
  • Ability for teamwork and networking
  • Knowledge-transfer and teaching skills
  • Competences in using media technologies
  • Competence to liaise with external experts
  • Knowledge about basic legal aspects, terminology standards and copyright

Technical Skills:

  • Mastery of electronic tools for terminology management and their interfaces with other applications
  • Basic knowledge of information technology and documentation
  • Tools expertise (ability to evaluate relevant software, such as: Terminology Management Systems, Computer Assisted Translation, Machine Translation, TMS interfaces to other applications, Term Extraction tools, and related tools such as Concordancing Software)
  • Proficiency in the use of terminology databases
  • Basic knowledge of mark-up language
  • Mastery of different browsers and defining efficient research criteria (search operators, regular expressions)

Soft Skills:

  • Systematic work approach
  • Abstract thinking skills
  • Problem solving skills
  • Power of persuasion and argumentative ability
  • Negotiation skills
  • Multitasking
  • Creativity and flexibility
  • Social competences
  • Inter and intracultural thinking



National and International Bodies

  • European Parliament, Directorate-General for Translation
  • European Commission, Directorate-General for Translation
  • Council of the European Union
  • Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union
  • Court of Justice of the European Union
  • European Central Bank
  • European Investment Bank
  • United Nations (UN), Terminology Unit
  • United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Translation Operations Unit
  • World Meteorological Organization (WMO), Language, Conference and Publishing Services Department
  • North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Terminology Office
  • World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Terminology Unit
  • Travaux publics et Services gouvernementaux Canada, Bureau de la traduction
  • Chancellerie fédérale (Suisse), Services linguistiques centraux
  • Ministère de la culture et de la communication (France), Délégation générale à la langue française et aux langues de France
  • American Medical Association (AMA)
  • FIFA



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