Terminology management: how to trea$ure a trea$ure


Terminologiebeheer-geld-en-tijd-besparenEach company or institution has its own language which defines the corporate image or branding, facilitates the communication about the products and services, plays a major role in customer relations and increases the visibility of the website in online search engines. This particular language is what we call terminology. During the translation phase, it is the translator’s challenge to render the meaning of the source text into the target text, using the adequate terminology.

Of course, not only does terminology evolve over the years, it can also be affected by all kinds of trends and developments. It is therefore extremely important to keep terminological data bases up to date. If translators can rely on the latest terminology and know how to carry out qualitative terminology management, the translation process will be more efficient, translators will benefit from higher productivity, while the consistency – and thus the quality – of the translation will be positively affected.

It will have a positive effect on the consistency and thus quality of the translation.

In order to make the most out of terminology management, it could be useful to

  • develop an effective online search strategy, for example by using the operators ‘AND’ and ‘OR’, and the ‘advanced options’ of the different search engines. This will help you to find more specific information and documentation like multilingual glossaries, specialised websites, terminology data bases, corpora and much more;
  • create your own list of online sources. One option is to add the links to ‘Favourites’, but you can also use tools like Excel, social bookmarking platforms, Del.icio.us, Padlet or Pinboard;
  • integrate terminology management into your workflow by means of Excel spreadsheets or one of the numerous CAT-tools;
  • keep track of the latest developments and evolutions in the field of terminology by reading blogs, handbooks, articles etc. Warmly recommended are the website of the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament and Patricia Brenes’ blog, In My Own Terms.

The results of good terminology management will only become visible after a while. In the beginning, the translation process will even be longer and it might seem that you are losing money, because creating a reliable term base takes time and requires quite some devotion and efforts. But, once your term base contains a certain amount of terms, the investment will start to pay off: your productivity will rise again and your efficient terminology management will be an extra asset to attract new clients and interesting translation projects, for example via TM-Town, where you can promote your terminology skills.

It may be clear that consistent terminology is a valuable treasure for all parties involved and therefore it is worth the investment of time, energy and money!

Do you want to learn more about terminology management? If the answer is “yes”, you might be interested in the workshop “Terminologiebeheer: opzoeken en opslaan van vaktermen” organised by OCPE on 11 October 2016 in Utrecht. Other occasions to become more familiar with terminology management, is attending the yearly Terminology Summer School (TermNet) or even a traineeship or study visit at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Luxembourg.


This article is based on “Terminologiebeheer: een onbekende schat” published on the website of OCPE, Permanente Educatie voor Tolken en Vertalers.


Written by Leen Boel

Certified Terminologist (ECQA)

Former terminology trainee at TermCoord