Panel 17: Translation Studies and Terminology: From Centre to Periphery or Two Sides of the Same Coin? (Heike Jüngst, Leona Van Vaerenbergh)

Translating or interpreting a text means that we deal with words in a highly conscious way. Translating or interpreting texts from specific disciplines means that we deal with words that have a highly specific meaning and concept structure, namely terms. Does this mean that the terminologist who collects and stores these terms is a kind of service provider for the translator and that terminology has the status of an auxiliary science? We also know that glossaries and terminology databases are based on monolingual as well as multilingual texts – terms are extracted from texts. Editors and translators play more than one role in this process. They are terminology users and terminology providers at the same time. This is also true of terminologists: Texts and translations are the departing point as well as the goal of their work. From this, we can conclude that translation and terminology can be centre as well as periphery, depending on where we stand. Moreover, both disciplines have to provide a connection between linguistic, cultural and domain knowledge.
The research fields are in the same situation as the disciplines. In Translation Studies, we find aspects from contrastive lexicology, phraseology and multilingual terminology. Results from Translation Studies research support the development of criteria regarding the production of texts suitable for translation in technical documentation contexts. The cultural background, norms and standards of terminology are important topics in this field.
In terminology research, we find that the needs of translators and interpreters build a basis for new theoretical and methodological descriptions of concepts and terms and lead to new developments in terminology management. Since the 1980s, the focus in Translation Studies and terminology research has been broadened in the same way: In addition to semantic analysis and description, we find the pragmatic and cognitive dimensions of language, terminology and translation which have by now come to the foreground. Moreover, there is a growing tendency towards corpus-based research.
Collections of online corpora, along with the possibility of automatic analyses, make the search for terms and their placement within a context much easier, as well as supporting empirical methods in the comparison of original and translations. The interaction between the two research fields is most obvious where technological developments are concerned and a true form of integration takes place. Terminology databases (which manage terminology) and translation memories (which manage textual units) are integrated elements of every CAT tool.


  • The mutual influence between translation studies and terminology research: What kind of influence do new insights from terminology research have on translation studies? How does a focus on translation influence terminology research?
  • What role do norms and standards in terminology play where the working processes of documentation and translation are concerned?
  • Terminological equivalence between the languages and cultures of the European institutions – is it possible? How can semantic interoperability be realized?
  • Technological developments in TS and terminology, tools for corpora analysis
  • Domain-related approaches, problems and needs in terminology and translation. Domains to be considered include Law, Medicine and Engineering. Collecting and managing terminology for interpreting contexts (conference interpreting as well as community interpreting) should also be considered an important topic.
  • Pictures in terminology: Are they more useful than definitions? Where do they come from and what do they really show? How can they be translated?