Let’s talk terminology!

If you are working in the field of technical communication, chances are you are using terminology on a daily basis, though you might not always be aware of it. So, what exactly is terminology?

Text by Stine Jensen


Image: © solidcolours/istockphoto.com

Let’s start with a brief definition: Terminology is

the vocabulary (terms) of the professional language within a given field

Like general language, terminology develops in line with new inventions, technologies, and methods, and thus reflects the reality of its users – in this case, their professional reality. You might think that terminology is standardized. After all, this is the format in which it is often found, e.g., on Google, in professional dictionaries, in word lists or glossaries published by authorities, in publicly accessible terminological databases such as the ones published by the eurotermbank, etc. But terminology per se is not standardized and consolidated. There is as much variety in terminology as there is in professional language.

What you see on Google is the finished terminology product. What you don’t get any insight into are the steps that led to the product: ...