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Managing terminology in commercial environments

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Abstract

Terminology as a discipline and as a vocation is making its entry into the world of business. This chapter explores terminology management from a commercial perspective, that is, how and why terminology is managed in companies. Managing terminology in companies presents unique challenges compared to less marketdriven sectors engaged in terminology management, such as public or academic institutions. The conventional notions of Terminology as a discipline and vocation, and its traditional theories and methods, are reviewed with additional perspectives about their relevance for commercial environments. The fundamental question about whether the language used in a company even constitutes an LSP (language for special purposes), and therefore actually contains terminology, is considered. Elements of a theoretical and methodological framework for managing terminology in commercial environments are then proposed. Such a framework would emphasize practises and approaches for managing terminology that have proven effective in commercial settings. Term selection criteria, automatic term extraction, data categories, workflow, and repurposability for different purposes and applications are among the topics discussed in this context. Arguments are presented that demonstrate that terminology management in commercial settings would benefit from being more corpus-based. Conventional theories and methods of terminology should not be interpreted as hard and fast rules in commercial environments, where terminologists are expected to produce terminological resources that support the business goals of improving quality, increasing productivity, saving costs, and gaining market share. Further research and dialog is encouraged to provide effective guidelines for commercial terminologists.

References

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