Study visit from Portugal in TermCoord


For the short month of September, I was lucky enough to be a Study Visitor and intern at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament.

As a student of the European Master of Lexicography, I was no stranger to the vast world of theoretical terminology, but it was clear to me that to witness and practice terminology work and research would be a completely different and exciting experience. That is why, for my curricular internship, I decided to combine this curiosity for terminology with my previous studies in Languages and International Relations and come visit the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in the wonderful city of Luxembourg. After over a year of the pandemic, the fact that I was able to actually be in the office with the whole team is something I did and do not take for granted and which made me even more excited about this opportunity.

During this four-week period, I was welcomed with open arms and encouraged to focus on whichever areas I had the most interest in, which for me meant I got to venture into a little bit of everything that goes on at TermCoord, even in fields I had less confidence in. One of the many ways in which this Unit stands out is its social media presence, an area in which I have a newfound interest after witnessing not only the great work that is done behind the scenes but the final projects, which manage to turn the sometimes scary-looking world of terminology into interesting and fun content. As for my contributions, I wrote an article for IATE’s Food Term of the Week, posted about the term ‘misinformation’ in TermCoord’s Instagram account, added my mother tongue to the IATE goes AUDIO collection, and learnt, with the help of the amazing Communications Team, about how they manage both the website and the social media accounts.

But of course, the real focus point and “shining star” of my internship was the time I spent doing work as a terminologist. One of TermCoord’s mottos regarding terminology is that it is an investment in quality, and that was something that stood out for me when I first heard it. Especially inside the European Institutions, it is of the outmost importance to guarantee the correct usage of terms and their equivalents in the different languages, and IATE is a mirror of the quality work that is done by the terminologists and its coordinators. I got to pretty much delve into all steps of what goes into adding a new term in IATE, per example. From the gathering of the corpus to the term extraction, the careful screening and selection of the term candidates, the thorough research of each term… Throughout each of these phases there was an extremely hardworking, well-oiled team to fill me in on all the procedures, give me different tips on the best resources and ways to conduct my research, while also being open to any ideas I had. Even if my short stay meant that I could not take part in every project of the Unit, my presence in the meetings and presentations of the team showed me just how versatile and complex the work of TermCoord is, from their partnerships with Universities all over the world to the maintenance of the incredible database that IATE is.

One of the many highlights of the internship was my visit to the Portuguese Translation Unit. Terminologist Daniela Silva was kind enough to show me around, talk me through her workflow and tell me about the projects she had undertaken, such as the creation of all sorts of Termbases. Generally, though, this visit helped me understand exactly how the different Language Units and the Terminology Coordination Unit work together to fulfil the common goal of ensuring and safeguarding the quality of the translations of all the documents essential to the EU’s functioning. In the end, I can only describe this experience as incredibly enriching. Not only did I get to work with inspiring and prestigious professionals, I got to do it in an environment that made you feel at ease, yet always motivated. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed every single day I was there and that I will take what I have learnt with me everywhere, not only in my studies but throughout my entire career.


Margarida Castro

Margarida holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Languages and International Relations, career in which she focused on English and French. In 2020, she started, and is currently attending, a European Master’s Degree in Lexicography in the Universidade do Minho, an international programme conducted in English and German. During the second year of her current career, she made an EMLex ERASMUS Semester in Friedrich-Alexander-Universität in Erlangen-Nürnberg. She is passionate about terminology and lexicography.