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Kockaert, Hendrik J. and Steurs, Frieda (eds) (2015). Handbook of Terminology. Volume 1.

Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pp. 539, €105.00/US$158.00. Pb. ISBN: 978 9027257772; e-book ISBN: 978 9027269560.

Scope, focus and readership

“Terminology […] has nowadays grown into a multi-facetted science […] thanks to […] contributions […] from different linguistic schools, including computer, corpus, variational, socio-cognitive and socio-communicative linguistics, and frame-based semantics, but also from engineering and formal language developers” (ix). With these introductory words, the editors set the scene for the Handbook of Terminology. Volume 1 (henceforth HoT1).

The foreword to HoT1 (xvii-xix) by the eminent lexicologist/lexicographer and cognitive linguist, Dirk Geeraerts, describes very precisely the drastic developments of Terminology over time: from a discipline at “[…] a wide distance from the generativism dominated theoretical linguistics” because it was “lexically oriented rather than focusing on syntax” to a discipline strongly intertwined with current linguistic ideas about e.g. metaphor, prototypes, semantic frames and cognition under the influence of a growing “[…] interest in the lexicon […]”. On top of this, Terminology is linking in more and more with the “digital revolution”, as well as corpus linguistics and computational linguistics. All these developments bring exciting challenges for Terminology. These are reflected in HoT1.

HoT1 aims at a wide readership: “[…] students, researchers, professionals and lecturers in Terminology, scholars and experts from other disciplines [… and] any of those with a professional or personal interest in (multilingual) terminology, translation, interpreting, localisation, editing, etc. […], and experts in any field” (ix-x). HoT1 is the first volume in a series of five. The general topic of HoT2 will be Terminology and communities of practice. HoT1 contains 25 peer-reviewed articles by international experts on a variety of subjects.


The book is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 – “Fundamentals for term base development” – outlines the basics of Terminology and contains 10 articles on:

  1. terms: boundaries and prototypes (Pius ten Hacken),
  2. frame-based Terminology (Pamela Faber),
  3. characteristics and principles of:
    • a. intensional definitions (Georg Löckinger, Hendrik J. Kockaert & Gerhard Budin);
    • b. extensional and partitive definitions (Henrik Nilsson);
    • c. ontological – or concept – definitions (Christophe Roche),
  4. cognitive linguistics and the description of associative relations between terms (Paul Sambre & Cornelia Wermuth),
  5. the terminology of Terminology as a science (Loïc Depecker),
  6. term vs. word, Terminology vs. Lexicography (Kyo Kageura),
  7. semasiological and onomasiological knowledge representation (Claudia Santos & Rute Costa), and
  8. Terminology projects: types and characteristics (Claudia Dobrina).

Chapter 2 (4 articles)  – “Methods and technology” – deals with technological aspects of Terminology: (1) automatic term extraction (Kris Heylen & Dirk de Hertog), (2) a survey of currently available representative Terminology tools (Frieda Steurs, Ken de Wachter & Evy De Malsche), (3) concept modelling vs. data modelling (Bodil Nistrup Madsen & Hanne Erdman Thomson), and (4) how Terminology is dealt with by such “translation recycling technologies” as machine translation and translation memories (Peter Reynolds).

The six articles in Chapter 3 on Management and quality assurance (QA) all focus on aspects of Terminology management and quality assurance vis-à-vis: (1) crowdsourcing (Barbara Inge Karsch), (2) translation (Lynne Bowker), (3) Terminology projects (Silvia Cerella Bauer), (4) translation quality assurance process (Monika Popiolek), (5) commercial environments (Kara Warburton), and (6) the TBX Terminology exchange format for translation and localisation (Alan K. Melby).

Chapter 4 contains two case studies on: (1) the application of Frame Semantics for the production of JuriDiCo, an online bilingual legal Terminology resource (Janine Pimentel), and Terminology and (2) localisation in the development of software products and services for multiple regional markets (Klaus-Dirk Schmitz).

Chapter 5 deals in two articles with language and terminology planning and policy: (1) the situation in South Africa (Bassey E. Antia), and (2) the situation in Canada (Nelida Chan).

Chapter 6, finally, contains one article by Anja Drame on the context (social and organisational) of Terminology planning and work terminologists have to come to terms with.

The book is concluded by a very useful and extensive subject index (521-539).


HoT1 is presented well, as is custom of the publisher, although there are a few flaws. In Figure 2 on p. 64, for example, it is not clear what the branches should connect. Footnote number 12 in the running text on p. 99 refers to footnote 11. Figure 1 on p. 99 contains an empty branch. However, despite these shortcomings, HoT1 is – as the first long-awaited handbook of Terminology – an excellent book giving a detailed and adequate picture of the most important aspects of Terminology today, with a clear and logical division into chapters. The promises made in the introduction about scope, focus, readership, and coverage have been fully realised. As a true handbook, HoT1 is a must for anyone engaged or interested in Terminology and is of direct practical use. HoT2 cannot come soon enough.

Dr. Marcel Thelen
Maastricht School of Translation and Interpreting
Zuyd University of Applied Sciences