The Top 10 Must Haves in Terminology & Language Industries

This blog post is part of TermNet’s Anniversary Challenge. It is 29 weeks until TermNet’s 30th Anniversary on December 12th, 2018

We all know that innovation has become a critical success factor in any kind of business, in particular in saturated markets. Se we agree that we have to be innovative – even in the booming language and terminology industries.

But HOW to be innovative?

What do we really need?

For years and decades we were talking about the „Ten Good Reasons for Terminology Management“, addressing rational and economic thinking

Now I want to look a bit more at the emotional part and share some thought-provoking ideas about how to „sell“ and „do“ terminology management by using positive emotions.

Yes, this is what I am saying: We need the most frequent 10 positive emotions – to flourish in the Terminology & Language Industries.

Translation and the management of terminology and technology is stressful, time consuming and costly.

In times of harsh competition, Language Service Providers (LSPs) as well as their clients tend to forget things like quality, committment, passion, joy and innovation in their daily work. But these things are key issues to survive and „flourish“ (being successful and sustainable) in the business.

Without positive emotions, we can’t do a stressful, time consuming and costly work successfully and for a long time.

There is no Knowledge without Terminology , this is TermNet’s slogan. And there is no successful terminology work, management and strategy without the „Top Ten Positive Emotions“ of Human Beings.

That’s why they are considered in this blog post as „Top 10 Must Haves“ when you deal with terminology.

The blog post is based on and inspired by Barbara Fredrickson, a renowned Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Let me start with the most frequent emotion, according to Barbara Fredrickson:

#1: JOY

Hurray! Enjoy terminology!

To enjoy terminology products and services, we don’t need only a cool tool. But it definitely helps. Tools are not too often the source of pleasure, so it is worth thinking about how to improve our tools.

So, yes, there is room for improvement (of course, TermNet members are exceptions proving the rule 😉

Examples: Interfaces and interoperability are still a challenge or not existing. But they are key issues of real user-friendliness and competitive advantage: The better a terminology software is embedded in and inter-operable with the client’s software architecture (e.g. Microsoft Office, Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, etc.) the easier it is to use, the more it will be used (=bought)  and the more it will be enjoyed meaning bought again and recommended to other potential users and customers.

How to improve the tools?

There is an ISO standard about terminology management systems, and soon there will be certification of terminology tools based on that standard: ISO 26162:2012 Systems to manage terminology, knowledge and content — Design, implementation and maintenance of terminology management systems.

There is also room for improvement with regard to the communication & professional & social skills of terminology experts.

Don’t get me wrong, the expertise and competence of terminology experts usually is very good or at least okay. But we need to bring the message through, to tell a convincing story, to „sell“ terminology, to manage terminology projects successfully including return-on-investment calculations and professional project management, etc.

These skills are emphasised in the „ECQA Certified Terminology Manager“ trainings, ECQA standing for „European Certification and Qualification Association“, and in TermNet’s Terminology Summer Schools.

Let me mention that there are some pleasures after all:

I do agree that Multiterm or Quickterm pleasure us (from time to time ;-). Without the famous flags as representations of languages, it would be even a greater pleasure (at least for myself). As Austrian, you are not amused to see the German flag as symbol for the German language. The same is true, I guess, for America and the UK, Aussies and Kiwis, etc.

There is an increasing variety of tools for various target groups and user needs – and we’ll enjoy that trend (see TermNet’s tool study free of charge and on request)

#1.1 PLAYFULNESS (part of JOY)

What is really cool in terminology?

Nothing  (Not much !)

Terminology is boring!
At least this is the image terminology work and terminology experts have (sorry to say).

Change it!

Make terminology sweet and sexy

Create cool stuff, TermApps, Games, whatever works!

Termbank for James Cameron’s Avatar,  a fancy new Klingone glossary, etc.

Your current customers may not be playful – your future customers will be, as those you didn’t address or convince yet.

You may not be playful yourself  – but even decent terminology people need some FUN (except flags representing language, of course 😉

So bring in playfulness to find ideas for new products and solutions. Usually mavericks or computer nerds are sources of playfulness. Use that resource.

Talk to them, try out something new and play around with different aspects of playful approaches – they might lead to cool new things. Remember: Innovate or die.

Folks, this it is for the moment. We are done with Joy and Playfulness.

If you are interested in the remaining 9 positive emotions to boost your language and terminology business, check out the blog posts in the next 9 weeks – and/or watch thi video:

Here is the video of a 55 Minutes Keynote Speech I held at the Translation Technology Terminology Conference 2015 in beautiful Ljubljana in Slovenia:

Enjoy terminology – I’ll be back




Head of the TermNet Group


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.