Three steps for an efficient terminology management




Terminology is a very complete science with a solid theoretical background and history. The first step needed to deal efficiently with terminology is to study and understand how concepts are represented through terms; the onomasiological approach consists in studying the concept, and the semasiological approach studies the context in which the term explains the concept: the time, the place, the purpose, the target audience. Terminology theory is taught in most linguistic departments, it is a frequent subject of postgraduate studies and makes the object of thousands of books and scientific articles.


Terminology is stored in databases and glossaries. They are always related to a specific field or cover several domains. The method of presenting terms obeys very strict rules making for consistency, reliability and disambiguation. All glossaries and databases contain a set of rules or a handbook that has to be scrupulously followed when creating, completing or updating an entry. For more complex databases covering several domains, cross-referencing, a logical and user-friendly taxonomy, rules or tools to avoid duplication and noise are essential. The selection of terms and the corpus of texts from which they are extracted depend on the target audience. For practical reasons it is useful if all this material is inserted in a well-developed platform; an attractive layout following the latest trends on the web and user-friendly features should permit easy consultation and feeding.



Terminology is linguistic material produced to enable accurate, precise and consistent multilingual communication. It is needed for any institutional, academic, industrial and commercial activity in specific fields or in more than one language. Reliable terminology is created by specialists. By means of disambiguation it is possible to obtain sets of normative terms, thus enabling their use in the latest tools for computer assisted and automatic translation. Tagging and indexing are the most important preconditions to enable a wide and targeted terminology search in the semantic web. Interlinking of terminology data through web services, cloud technologies, metasearch engines, web portals and communication platforms is a must for every actor wishing to contribute to effective communication. Cooperation in terminology through collaborative tools can be beneficial for achieving one unique and fully reliable terminology in each field, thus avoiding a huge waste of time in work overlapping. Connecting these terminology data and making them accessible to all users would be a precious asset for the communication and cooperation in our globalized world.

International Institutions and big companies managing huge multilingual and multidisciplinary terminology databases have to assume the responsibility and initiative for the interlinking of all resources opening their tools, platforms and portals developed with more human and technical resources.

Since its creation in 2008, TermCoord has put a huge effort into making available all terminology data produced in the EU Institutions to the widest range of users. This is done both through its website, and through its cooperation and networking for terminology projects around the biggest multilingual public terminology database IATE, the most relevant termbank for all fields of activities of the European Union.

Rodolfo Maslias
Head of Unit TermCoord