Reasons for studying Terminology


Terminology plays an important role in many aspects of everyday life; studying it is fundamental for many reasons, both for specialists and non-experts.

Undoubtedly, terminology helps to understand specific topics and to spread this knowledge to non-specialists, given the fact that without the knowledge of specific terms, there could not be a full understanding of specialised texts.

Hence, terminology is essential not only for specialists, but also for translators who use terminology to make their translations more precise and coherent, and as well for documentalists who rely on terminology to facilitate their work with classifications, indexing and cataloguing.

Reasons for studying Terminology banner - Small globe on top of a book; library background

The improvements terminology contributes to the quality of national and international communications make this a valuable resource for various fields, such as business and journalism.

For business and marketing, a consistent and up-to-date terminology is essential as it increases communication and, therefore, improves the efficiency of companies and helps avoid cultural and/or linguistic misunderstandings. This is why companies should be encouraged to invest in terminology.

In journalism, reporters do not often rely on translation, which is perceived as an automatic and invisible practice. However, terminology and translation should have a key role in the press in helping journalists reduce misunderstandings, improving the communication and raise their visibility and credibility.

As mentioned before, terminology also affects traductology by giving meaning to specific terms and creating new ones. As for this last aspect, the study of terminology is useful since it helps maintaining and protecting a language while enhancing its cultural identity.

Another field in which terminology makes a significant contribution is writing and translating websites. Even though localization and the translation of User Interface (UI) can at first be considered an easy practice, it is in fact something much more complex. The UI must be user-friendly, interactive, dynamic and easy to understand, otherwise browsing the website loses its efficiency at the expense of its visibility.  Terminology has to be taken into account by web content managers in order to improve the website performance and its usability. Finding the right terms for a specific topic to allow non-specialists to understand the content often poses a challenge to which terminology is able to respond, as a necessary tool in reducing unambiguous elements in the content.

When it comes to spreading terminology knowledge, institutions and academic centres could play a significant role by offering material aimed at different target groups of learners according to the type of terminology they need.

In this sense, as far as the European Union is concerned, the Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) of the European Parliament in Luxembourg manages terminology in the translation units stimulating and coordinating their terminology work. TermCoord is active in spreading the importance of studying terminology by offering languages specific resources, glossary links and other resources for translators outside the EU institutions and for users interested in learning more about terminology.

Written by Serena Grementieri – Terminology trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, BA in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation and MA degree in Specialized Translation at the School of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Interpreting and Translation (ex-SSLMIT) of Forlì, University of Bologna.

Prepared by Pedro Ramos – Translator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).


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