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Translation Bureau - The Pavel Terminology Tutorial
Introduction – Overview
Terminology Research Principles
Methodology for Creating Terminology Records
Supporting Documentation
Linguistic Papers by Silvia Pavel

Introduction — Overview


Over the course of many years, the Government of Canada's Translation Bureau has had the opportunity to establish and improve the methodology used to carry out terminology research and standardization work and to develop the TERMIUM® data bank to store, manage and distribute the results of this work. By collaborating with other participants in the language industries throughout the world, we have contributed to the establishment of terminology principles and methods that are recognized internationally, and have ensured that our methods reflect them.

The importance of correct terminology to accurate and effective communication in special languages has become increasingly obvious in that time, as has the need to standardize the terminology used by groups of individuals and organizations with common interests. We began to look for ways to share the knowledge we have gained about the terminology standardization process with Canadian federal public servants and with other groups seeking to establish consistent terminology usage at the national and international levels, and decided to prepare a tutorial.

Happily for us, the possibility of offering self-study courses on-line through the Internet was evolving just as we were considering tutorial delivery options. The Canadian federal administration and, in particular, the department of Public Works and Government Services Canada are major proponents of e-learning in its various forms. The Translation Bureau is fortunate to belong to such a forward-looking administration, which is among the leaders in e-government. We are pleased and proud to be able to offer you this on-line, interactive tutorial in terminology, thanks to our administration's support of e-learning and a very fruitful collaborative effort between the public and private sectors.

The tutorial's purpose is to give you an overview of terminology principles, methods and tools and to guide you in the process of terminology standardization so that you will feel at ease when called upon to contribute to consistent terminology usage in your organization. We hope that you will find both the contents and the delivery method useful, interesting and even fun.

Francine Kennedy
President and CEO
Translation Bureau
Public Works and Government Services Canada


Producing an on-line tutorial was a very new experience for the development team. The concept was enticing, but we had a lot to learn! We wish to thank the ENS eLearning project team members, and in particular Denis Parisien, for their expert guidance, their outstanding project-management and instructional-design skills - and their patience! The "e" part of your e-learning experience is all thanks to them.

The development team responsible for the tutorial's contents included the following members of the Translation Bureau:

  • Silvia Pavel and Christian Beké, chiefs of the Professional Development Division, Terminology Standardization Directorate
  • Christine Hug, team leader responsible for terminotics
  • Christine Leonhardt, team leader responsible for Termium® Management Service
  • Claude Gauthier and Jean Charbonneau, general technicians
  • François Mouzard, team leader responsible for training co-ordination, electronic publishing and project coordinator
  • Diane Lafrance, library technician
  • Melissa Ehgoetz, trainee.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all of them for the superb work they did to bring this interactive, on-line tutorial on terminology to fruition.

The team also wishes to thank Nelida Chan, who prepared the module on standardization and reviewed the other modules for us. Nelida is a terminologist with the Government of Ontario and a longtime teacher of terminology at Glendon College of York University in Toronto. She is also the international convenor and project leader for Working Group 3 of ISO Technical Committee 37, Subcommittee 1, which is responsible for the standards ISO 704, Terminology Work-Principles and Methods, and ISO 1087-1, Terminology Work-Vocabulary-Part 1: Theory and Application. Nelida's knowledge, experience and expertise were invaluable to us.

The pilot version of the tutorial has been tested and evaluated by several specialists in Canada and elsewhere:

  • Carole Carlson, translator, Manitoba Education, Citizenship and Youth, Winnipeg, Canada
  • Julie Gagnon, terminologist, Canada Post, Ottawa, Ontario
  • Carolina Herrera, terminologist, School of Translation and Interpretation, Ottawa, Canada
  • Dr Jake Knoppers, computer engineer, Standards Council of Canada, Ottawa
  • Dr Frieda Steurs, Chief, Computational Linguistics Department, Lessius Hogeschool, Antwerp, Belgium

Their constructive comments are deeply appreciated and have contributed to the user friendliness of this tutorial.

François Mouzard
Terminology Standardization Directorate
Translation Bureau
Public Works and Government Services Canada

Table of Contents

1.1. Introduction — Overview

1.1.1. Navigating the Course

1.1.2. Course Introduction

1.1.3. Basic Concepts and Best Practices

1.2. Terminology

1.2.1. Introduction — Terminology

1.2.2. What is Terminology?

1.2.3. Purposes and Benefits

1.2.4. Term versus Word

1.2.5. Simple Terms and Complex Terms

1.2.6. Comparative and Monolingual Terminology

1.2.7. Key Points

1.3. Activities

1.3.1. Introduction — Activities

1.3.2. The Terminology Manager's Role

1.3.3. Term Extraction

1.3.4. Term Research versus vocabulary Research

1.3.5. Terminology Case Files

1.3.6. Standardization Committees

1.3.7. Terminology Records

1.3.8. Content Management

1.3.9. Products

1.3.10. Key Points

1.4. Products

1.4.1. Introduction — Products

1.4.2. Publications

1.4.3. Terminology Databases

1.4.4. Terminology Standards

1.4.5. Key Points

1.5. Summary — Overview

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Last Updated:  2008-12-19