The designation ”Terminology” is often used for the complete vocabulary or all terms within a specific subject area or domain. However, terminology is much more than that. Terminology is closely related to knowledge. The concepts of a domain actually represent its entire knowledge, and the terms are used to communicate that knowledge. Thus, terminology work includes many activities ranging from concept analysis through structuring, management and sharing of knowledge to planning terminology within a specific domain and the use of this terminology in LSP (Language for Specific Purposes) texts, for instance in international business communication and web communication.
Whilst traditional lexicography is word-oriented and thus concerned with words, the methodology of terminology is concept-oriented. This means that terminology investigates the subject-specific knowledge relating to concepts - not the words (terms) - and the way the concepts are related to each other. By analysing the information retrieved about the concepts you will be able to turn the information into knowledge and structure concepts and their related concepts in concept systems (so-called terminological ontologies), and describe those concepts by applying definitions to them. Ultimately, you can register the results in terminology management systems.
The methodology of terminology was initially created for the implementation in technical fields in connection with the standardisation of technical products and the appertaining terminology planning. Similarly, nowadays precise and consistent terminology ensures an unambiguous communication in Technical Communication. However, in fact the methodology of terminology plays an important role for a wide range of various professional fields.
For years research-based teaching in multilingual terminology has been offered to students at study programmes in international business communication. Multilingual terminology has more purposes: one is to ensure consistent use of terms and thus a consistent communication and documentation in the languages in question. Another purpose is to conduct contrastive studies within the same domains for translation purposes. Thus, multilingual terminology is the bedrock of LSP communication in the global community. The EU multilingual term bank, IATE, indicates the importance of multilingual resources.
In the light of the external pressure from the English language monolingual terminology work may in future turn out to play an increasingly important role to preserve Danish as a complete and preferred language.
Terminology work is not only an important factor for private companies. For a number of years, Danish authorities have discovered that concept clarification and knowledge modelling can form a better basis for digitisation and communication in the public sector. The Department of Design and Communication participates in the Danish Network ”Forum for Videnmodellering i Offentligt Regi“ (Network for Knowledge Modelling in the Public Sector):
One of the focus points of the network is the establishment of a common ontology for the public sector. This work includes the definition of multiple general concepts, e.g. ydelse (benefit), tjeneste (service), service (service) and so forth. It has turned out that many of the authorities use these terms, but with different appertaining meanings. The aim of this work is to contribute to a consistent terminology usage across Danish authorities. As a result, it should become easier for the citizens to communicate with the authorities and also for the authorities to understand each other.
Researchers at the Department of Design and Communication have taught and researched in the establishing of term databases within subject areas such as economics and textiles to name a few.
Terminology is especially relevant and useful in disciplines such as international business communication and web communication, but is also closely related to the disciplines of information science and library science.