Five principles of terminology management

Many companies have more or less extensive terminology lists which, in most cases, have different structures. Such lists are created mostly by employees using software meant for spreadsheet calculations. This article shows how terminology can be captured in tables and what tabular structures are supported by terminology tools.

Text by Rachel Herwartz


Five principles of terminology management

There are five basic principles for organizing terminology in a table: 1. concept orientation, 2. elementary nature, 3. granularity, 4. autonomy of terms and 5. few mandatory fields. These points are also part of a standard that has been signed off by the Deutsche Terminologie-Tag e. V.  for capturing terminology in tables. The standard is explained in the collected volume “Terminology Work: Best Practices” in the chapters “Principles and methods” and “Tools and technologies” [1].

1. Concept orientation

A terminology database is not a dictionary. Whereas a dictionary starts with the term in a given language and captures all its possible meanings, a terminological entry is based on the concept, that is, the conceptual content, to which the terms in various languages correspond. A typical “glossary”, a term which is used erroneously for many terminology lists, in most cases captures only ...