An impressio-NATO: a conference on Terminology Management hosted by the NATO

December 8, 2015 1:01 pm

It has now been more than two weeks that I travelled to Brussels (Belgium) to attend the Conference on Terminology Management organized by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was the first time I visited the NATO headquarters and I had no clear idea of what to expect. In retrospect I can say this: it was quite the adventure.

Upon arrival, we had to undergo a rigorous safety procedure, before being escorted to the venue in groups of ten. Inside the venue, the organizing staff provided us with all the necessary documents. After some morning coffee or tea, we were invited to take a seat in the room and prepare for two fully booked but very instructive days of knowledge sharing. Mr Folkert Zijlstra (NATO) officially opened the conference and Major General Mažeikis (NATO) addressed a warm welcome to the audience.

After that, Mr. Ian Jones, former head of the Linguistic Service of the Allied Command Operations, gave a presentation on the history of Terminology and Terminology Management: from the prehistoric era through the secret history of the card index, up to the beginnings of NATO terminology standardization. In my opinion, this was a perfect introduction to the conference, as it was utterly clarifying and seamlessly linked together all other topics. The presentations, though closely linked, covered an interesting variety of themes, for instance terminology management at the NATO and NATO terminology, ISO standards, as well as organizational and governmental related terminology and databases. There was also enough time for questions, further discussion and exchange of ideas after each presentation and during the breaks.

NATO: a “world” in their own right


Like any other event, it was the perfect occasion to catch up with many old acquaintances and meet new people, but now, it was slightly different and unusual, in a certain way, as I found myself not only among men and women in formal – or in some cases rather informal – dress, but also men and women in uniform whether or not with a lot of distinctions. Other than that, the screens on the wall, displaying military and maritime operations lead by the NATO, did not only make me aware of the importance of the organization on the level of national and international defence, but also of the fact that the NATO headquarters are very much a “world” in their own right.

With speakers and participants from all corners of the globe, I can say that this conference was an enormous success and I am already looking forward to the second edition.


Written by Leen Boel
Terminologist trainee at TermCoord

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