Terminology work and what it is needed for

Terminology work deals with concepts that pertain to special fields of knowledge and are often clearly definable in nature, and with the names (designations) of these concepts. In terminology, names of concepts are called terms. Examples of the special fields of knowledge that concepts and terms may relate to include medicine, law, paper industry, and football.

Most of the communication between people is based on the so called general language, which is the linguistic form used by the majority of the speakers of a language and contains vocabulary familiar to all. However, when communicating within a special field of knowledge – for example among medical doctors, lawyers, or workers of paper industry – so called special languages need to be used. Special languages contain agreed expressions, also known as terms, which aim to make communication between experts in the field of knowledge in question more accurate and effective.

When there is a need to harmonise the use of special field terms and the semantic contents of the corresponding concepts, terminology work is a practical tool.

Purposes of terminology work

Terminology work is about agreeing on which terms are used to refer to certain concepts and agreeing on the semantic content of each concept. In this way, terminology work contributes to creating a common understanding of the concepts of a special field of knowledge.

Terminology work can serve a variety of purposes, from making communication more effective to enhancing information management – for example through developing, taking into use and maintaining information systems – and designing digital services.