Go to the Canadian Translation Bureau: and have a general look - then go to The Pavel Terminology Tutorial - - and follow this tutorial in the languages available, which include Portuguese.

Another on-line document of interest is:

The POINTER report  -

Although somewhat out-of-date, this report on the status of terminology in Europe still contains interesting material and there is a useful diagram distinguishing between the four words in its first chapter at:

-                     lexicology v lexicography

-                     terminology v terminography

And a diagram that defines between lexicography and terminography – see below:







Variety of language: 



General language



Special language

YES - as special purpose lexicography





Subject matter:



Broad areas of knowledge



Delimited domain



Use of classification system






Method of working:












Presentation to user:





YES (if reorganized)

Thesaurus-type structure






Headword/entry term:



Closed class



Open class






Presentation of entries:






Synonyms in same entry











(largely depending on domain) YES




It also provides a useful diagram in the introductory chapter showing how terminology is linked to most of the other areas discussed in the first part of this course.



During this phase of the course we shall follow the lead of most theorists and maintain the word ‘terminology’ to discuss a subject that includes both ‘terminology’ and ‘terminography’ as described above. 

1 Connotations of ‘terminology’

If you search for examples of ‘terminology’ in English you will find that it quite often appears with negative connotations. An example from a selection from the BNC is:

“Many readers, I suspect, will fall by the wayside as we descend into the realms of indigestible rhetorical terminology.”

Otherwise one will tend to find that the context talks of the terminology of a particular area of knowledge.  See this selection from the BNC -and concordance CETEMPúblico for more in Portuguese..


2 Terminology – a short ‘history’


Below you will find notes taken from:

CABRÉ, Maria Teresa.  1998. Terminology: theory, methods and applications. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co. ISBN 90 272 1634 7. Chapter 1.

The POINTER report – “The Importance of Terminology’.

REY, Alain.  1995, Essays on Terminology. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co. ISBN 90 272 1608 8.  “Origins and Development of Terminology”.

SAGER, Juan. 1990.  A Practical Course in Terminology Processing. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Pub. Co. ISBN 90 272 20778 (pb).  Chapter 1.


2.1. Rey (1995) looks at:

  1.  The classical Period in Western Europe (17th-18th centuries) – Locke, Condillac, Bacon .

  2. Social engineering of language and technical-scientific development of 19th century – Romanticism and its identification with language and culture – standardization of European languages within national territory (e.g. French)  - colonization of various parts of the world by Europeans – unifying and standardizing elements in dominating languages.  Industrial Revolution and subsequent developments .

  3. Developments in the 19th and 20th centuries

Apart from the general preoccupation with how man conceptualizes and verbalizes ideas discussed in the previous lesson  - most of which has always been directed towards the organization and categorization of more general ideas – an interest in the systematic naming of scientific concepts has been going on among the specialists interested since the 18th century, for example:

Lavoisier and Berthollet – chemistry

Linné/Linnaeus– botany and zoology

Diderot - encyclopedia

In the 19th century international meetings were held on the subject and, particularly in the areas of botany and zoology, most of us are aware of those carefully designed realistic drawings of plants and animals which – although originally designed to be included in documents listing the species concerned – are now to be found as pictures and prints in many shops selling pictures for interior decoration.


2.2. Cabré (1998) looks more carefully at developments in the 20th century.


The real activity in this area has gone on largely within the scientific and technical fields concerned and it is the scientists and other specialists with a preoccupation for naming objects and processes.  The Austrian Eugen Wüster  (1989-1977) is considered the founder of modern terminology was an engineer, together with the Russian D. S. Lotte.


a)      accelerated development of science and development > large number of new concepts

b)      the pervasiveness and changeability of technology

c)      Mass production v hand-crafted = standardization v individuality

d)      The transfer of knowledge and products > new markets > multilingualism

e)      Information > utmost importance > need for databases

f)       Mass communication > widespread dissemination of terminology and specific terms become part of popular culture

g)      Government intervention in language > standardization > organizations.  Dominant economic interests dominate technology > need to create language in smaller countries


Cabré then goes on to discuss:


2.2.1 The evolution of modern terminology and quotes Auger (1988):


a)      the origins (1930-60) – Wüster and Lotte and the design of methods for the systematic formation of terms

b)      the structuring of the field (1960-1975) – appearance of mainframe computers and databanks – first approaches to standardization

c)      the boom (1975-1985) – proliferation of language planning and terminology projects – the spread of PCs

d)      the expansion (1985-present) – advances in computer science – better software  - more language planning


2.2.2 Scientific and functional aspects


Quotation from Rondeau & Sager (1986):

Throughout the last fifteen years, and in spite of often differing ideologies concerning a substantial number of the guiding principles of terminology, agreement has been reached.  The fact remains, however, that in every country, the objectives and working methods of terminology are subject to a wide range of factors, such as the country’s political, socio-economic and linguistic situation.


2.2.3  The theory of terminology


Three classical approaches from 1930s:

§         A first approach that considers terminology to be an interdisciplinary but autonomous subject at the service of scientific and technical disciplines - Austrian

§         A second approach focusing on philosophy, which is primarily interested in the logical classification of concept systems and the organization of knowledge - Soviet

§         A third approach focusing on linguistics, which considers terminology a subcomponent of a language’s lexicon and special languages as subsystems of general language - Czech


She then goes on to explain how these approaches have contributed to a more general theory that probably owes most to the first approach, particularly given the present situation and the opportunities offered by information technology.


2.2.4 The functions of terminology


a)      For linguists, terminology is a part of the lexicon defined by subject matter and pragmatic usage

b)      For subject field specialists, terminology is the formal reflection of the conceptual organization of a special subject and a necessary medium of expression and professional communication

c)      For end-users (either direct or intermediary) terminology is a set of useful, practical communication units which are assessed according to criteria of economy, precision, and suitability

d)      For language planners, terminology is an area of a language requiring intervention in order to reaffirm its usefulness and survival and to ensure its continuity as a means of expression through modernization.


Schools and working methods in terminology


a)      Terminology adapted to the linguistic system – Vienna, Prague and Moscow

b)      Translation-oriented terminology – Quebec , the Walloon part of Belgium, - international organizations like UN, UNESCO, EU, FAO etc.

c)      Terminology oriented towards language planning – Quebec, Catalonia, Wales


2.2.5 Organizational aspects



All the authors discuss the role and status of terminology today and I recommend that you read as much as you can on this subject.


General Sites


ELRA - Association of European Language Resources and ELDA – European Language resources Distribution Agency

These associations is responsible for the collection, legalisation and distribution of textual resources for research work in the area of corpora and terminology work.

ETIS – European Terminology Information Server Terminological activities, calendar, training programmes, organisations, terminological databases, bibliographies, links with important websites. Presents everything that deals with the current situation in the field of terminology in Europe (and beyond) in a detailed and multilingual way.

POINTER: an official EU-financed report on the European and international situation of terminology at the University of Surrey.  You should download and read this report.

TERMINOLOGY FORUM: at the University of Vaasa, Finland. An excellent resource link to dictionaries, databases, discussions and events on terminology.

TERMIUM: link to information about Canadian terminology databases and publications organised by the Government of Canada Linguistic Data Bank.

UNIÃO LATINA: The organisation which promotes co-operation in the fields of terminology between institutions and individuals in Romance language speaking countries. Portuguese is represented in this organisation and you will find useful information at:

Country / Language specific sites

Infoterm h Viena
CINDOC Centro de Información e Documencatión Científica, Ministério de Ciencia y Tecnologia, Madrid
DANTERM Danish Centre for Terminology, Denmark
ELOT Hellenic Organization for Standardization
IM The Icelandic Language Institute
NTU De Nederlandse Taalunie
Termcat Centre der Terminologia - Catalunya
TNC  Terminologicentrum TNC
TSK The Finnish Centre for Technical Terminology 
UZEI Basque Centre for Terminology and Lexicography

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