August 27, 2018

Terminology in digital age

Katerina Palamioti attended the Master in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg. The title of her Master’s degree thesis is “The Role of Communication and Social Media in the New Profile of the Terminologist.  A Case Study: The Terminology Management in the European Parliament”. Here is a presentation of the thesis by Katerina herself, at the end of which you can also find direct access to the original paper. We hope you will enjoy her work!

For my Master at the University of Luxembourg in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts, I chose a thesis that attempted to investigate the evolution of the terminology work field and its expert’s profile while exploring the challenges for its future.

In detail, having in mind the human value in the digital age and the digitalisation of work and the radical changes these caused in the translation and terminology industry, for my research project I attempted to answer two questions:

– Whether the communication and information management tools available today have played a role in the evolution of the terminology field research and work.

– To what extent they have changed or affected the work and the profile of the terminology professionals.

To achieve answering these questions, I conducted a Case Study at the Terminology Coordination Unit about the Terminology Management in the European Parliament. My data collection method was an open-end questionnaire delivered to two terminologists in TermCoord, three translators in the European Parliament doing active terminology work and to two translators in the private sector doing an Internship at TermCoord the time I was conducting the research. It has to be noted that the language of the questionnaire was English since the participants had different nationalities (Hungarian, Bulgarian, Greek, French, Danish, Spanish and Spanish/Polish) and that the participants were in the age range of 25 to 60 years old.

After completing the analysis of the questionnaires feedback I concluded that:

  • The evolution of technologies and the tools available to assist terminology and translation work played an important role mainly in the way the work is conducted in both fields and less to the process of research. 

  • Regarding the research part of the world of terminology, especially in an EU context and regardless of experience, background and age, the answers are sceptical towards the use of a communication tool, such as social media, to conduct terminology research. The only exceptions are in case of dealing with neologisms or within a social media context – thus, the social media are not part of the basic terminology research methods/tools in an EU context.

  • The profession will continue to exist but possibly more specialised and always adapting to the technology and translation evolution, while the future of the terminologist will also be positive but hard, since it will have to be a ‘multitalented machine’ with critical thinking.

  • Mostly mentioned skills: good theoretical basis, critical thinking, good judgement, good research and analytical skills, linguistic competency, digital fluency, communication competences and project management competencies, patience to be constantly up-to-date and able to adapt and negotiate when difficulties arise or during experts’ opinion exchange. 

  • Not all of these skills were mentioned equally by all participants, which means that a standardised or even clear image regarding the terminologist profile still does not exist, even in the European Parliament context. 

  • The terminologist’s profile adapts and will adapt to the needs of each Institution.

  • The personal standards and opinion of quality work will shape accordingly the expert’s profile along with the standards of the Institution concerned. 

  • Ultimately, the above-mentioned points also confirm why a generally accepted terminologist profile still does not exist and why its job description always adapts to the tasks it should fulfil within each organisation or institution.


Katerina Palamioti, The Role of Communication and Social Media in the New Profile of the Terminologist.  A Case Study: The Terminology Management in the European Parliament, University of Luxembourg, 2018

Terminology in digital age