Terminology Studies and Terminology Work

Terminology training

Terminology module

Terminology work

Terminology database

Terminology research

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Terminology training

Increasing specialisation in research, development and production is leading to a growing number of technical terms and phrases. In order to prevent Babylonian confusion from complicating communication, it is necessary to define the meanings of the terms and their usage. In this context it is not the linguistic form that matters, but the objects and processes existing in the real world of the various special fields. Due to the increasing globalisation of knowledge, technology and economy, specialised communication and information on products and services across language barriers are becoming more and more important. This is where multilingual terminology work, i.e. processing and classification of technical terms in two or more languages, comes in. Terminology organised on such a basis facilitates communication. It also guarantees the clarity and unambiguity of the information and hence accelerates all in-house text production. It also significantly enhances the performance of the translator or interpreter. That in turn increases a company’s image, strengthens its position on the international market and reduces the risk of financial difficulties that might arise out of inadequate or incorrect information or documentation (product liability).

Given the importance of terminology work, we made terminology studies and practical terminology work part of our curriculum as early as two decades ago. Students are trained in the theory and methodology and in practical multilingual terminology work with the help of state-of-the-art computer tools. Terminology training enables students to search methodically for technical terms, to produce their own glossaries and to develop an in-depth approach to terminology studies. Terminology training is a module of the third part of the curriculum.

 

Terminology module

This module is a requirement for students who wish to write a terminology thesis. It is made up of three courses. An introductory course provides an overview of general terminology theory, an introduction to the methodology of writing a terminology thesis, and offers a glimpse into terminology research. It is followed by a training course that deals with research techniques and involves work with terminology databases including the in-house database. These two courses are accompanied by a seminar that offers an in-depth look into terminology studies and management. All the results of the students’ terminology theses are saved in the in-house database.


 

Terminology work

An important aspect of the department’s terminology work comprises practical terminology projects and regional terminology assignments. The department’s main clients in this field and the main users of multilingual terminology are international companies with a strong focus on exports as well as the bilingual region of South Tyrol (Terminologie Österreich-Italien in Recht und Wirtschaft).

Our senior students are often on the lookout for special fields requiring bilingual terminology work on terms and concepts. If their academic tutor considers it suitable, they can write their theses in the form of commissioned work. We have had very positive results with this system, encouraging us to take a further step towards terminology work as part of a company’s in-house information management system. Cooperation with companies in the form of internships and commissioned work would greatly support this development. Nonetheless, systematic terminology work is a very labour-intensive and expensive process. On the other hand, the costs of standardised terminology have to be paid only once, while the result will reduce the running costs of the information management system in the long term.

Terminology database

The department’s terminology database is used to save the results of papers on terminology (seminar papers and theses) written at the department, including the source materials used. As the database is part of the department’s internal network, it can be accessed from all the computers at the department, and students can use it for their terminology work in the computer room. The database is also available on the Internet.

Terminology research

Terminology theses always contain a theoretical part, in which specific problems within a special subject area are discussed. Together with the corresponding course, this theoretical part represents the starting point for terminology research to be conducted in the framework of research projects and dissertations. To help them with their research projects, students can access a well-stocked library with useful bibliographies.