New Thesis: A termino-ontological resource in viral diseases

A termino-ontological resource in viral disease

In the last decades, the interest of professionals in terminology for ontologies has increased and several studies dealing with the application of ontologies in the context of terminological work have been carried out. The project I developed for my Master’s dissertation consists in the realization of a termino-ontological resource: a multilingual terminological database for specialised translators in the domain of infectious diseases, supported by a formal ontology.

Relying on high quality terminological resources, such as glossaries and specialized dictionaries, is key in the translation process and it profoundly influences the accuracy of the final product. According to the best industry practices, translators should have a solid knowledge of the topics on which the texts they translate focus. Particularly, the contexts in which the terms are used are very important for translators.

However, getting to know the domain in which a translator wants to translate can be very time-consuming. Often, traditional multilingual resources lack this kind of information and are usually limited to definitions and equivalent terms. Therefore, the idea behind the project was to create a terminological resource that, as well as being a multilingual collection of terms, could help translators to gain a coherent and unite picture of the domain under analysis.

The research question of my dissertation is: can a formal ontology be a support tool for the translator in understanding the conceptual structure of the domain of interest? The premise of this project lays its foundations on the acknowledgment of the importance of a conceptual system in terminological work. This need has been stressed out since the beginning of the development of a theory of terminology with Eugene Wüster.

Indeed, structuring and classifying knowledge is a fundamental activity in order to obtain a coherent image of the portion of world under analysis, i.e., the domain of interest. For this purpose, in recent years, different methodologies (Faber et al. 2005, Roche et al. 2009, Temmerman and Kerremans 2003) that foresee the application of ontologies in terminological work were developed. In my dissertation, I used “termino-ontological resources” to designate a collection of terms supported by a formal ontology that serves as conceptual system of the domain of interest. This resource does not intend to be a complete and ultimate resource, but it is proposed as a model applicable in cases where the development of an ontology can be integrated into multilingual terminological work. The aim of this work is, thus, to create a model for the collection of a terminology in which the two levels of terminology, linguistic and conceptual, are separated but at the same time linked. To create a database of this type, LexO-lite was used. It is an editor for termino-ontological resources developed by researchers at the Institute of Computational Linguistics “A. Zampolli” in Pisa.

You can find this dissertation on our Theses and Papers page.


  • Faber Benítez, Pamela, Carlos Márquez Linares, e Miguel Vega Expósito. 2005. «Framing Terminology: A Process-Oriented Approach». Meta : Journal Des Traducteurs / Meta: Translators’ Journal 50 (4).
  • Roche, Christophe, Marie Calberg-Challot, Luc Damas, e Philippe Rouard. 2009. «Ontoterminology: A new paradigm for terminology». In International Conference on Knowledge Engineering and Ontology Development, 321–26. Madeira, Portugal.
  • Temmerman, Rita, e Koen Kerremans. 2003. «Termontography: Ontology building and the sociocognitive approach to terminology description». Proceedings of CIL17, 1–10.

Alice Sanfilippo is a graduate of the University of Heidelberg, where she completed the Master Program in Translation Science. She is trained as a professional translator and has a special interest in terminology management.
Her Master’s Thesis “Creating a termino-ontological resource for translators in the domain of viral infectious diseases” was presented at the TOTh 2021 conference organized at the University of Savoie Mont-Blanc.