Terminology training moves to alternate reality

TeachingHaving a strong command of terminology theory is not enough for a terminologist who has to manage complex processes and workflows in a company or institution. Training to be a terminologist should also entail developing skills such as collaboration and team-work, negotiation, problem-solving, critical thinking, management skills etc. (see our article What does it take to be a terminologist?).

These skills cannot be gained through classical training or teaching methods only.

That is why Professor Ciobanu (“Politehnica” University of Timisoara) presents a new innovative method of teaching terminology: using ARGs – Alternate Reality Games (Ciobanu, 2010, 2011).

ARG is exactly what it says: a game played in the real world using multiple media platforms (online, text messaging, newspapers, phone calls, physical events and objects), organised for a particular purpose.

ARGs can also be useful in training and corporate environments (Ciobanu, 2011), where they are able to generate knowledge, experience and reflection through lifelike events and environments. ARGs are successfully implemented in language teaching and were even made the focus of a recent European-funded Comenius project for promoting multilingualism namely,” ARGuing for Multilingual Motivation in Web 2.0” (2009).

But why do we need more innovative methods for terminology training?

As we all know, terminology is an interdisciplinary science; terminology management involves very complex tasks which can only be done through team-work, collaboration, discussions, and collective brainstorming of a group of experts.

That is why certain advantages offered by ARG, such as participation, puzzle-solving, use of multimedia, social-networking, sharing, mediating, not to mention analysis, real-life problem-solving and online activities, can be of great benefit for terminology training. Do not forget the collaborative nature of terminology work, a skill highly emphasised in ARGs. Using problem based or situated learning to gain knowledge would give terminologists the ability to develop problem-solving skills.

Rooted in the need for motivating students to understand the importance of language, one of Ciobanu’s studies (2010) proposes the scenario of an ARG called “The Saviours” with the goal of preventing domain loss and creating native terminology for endangered domains. In this ARG, students are supposed to make an inventory of terms of an endangered domain and create new ones for those missing. To tackle this task, students will use the ARG to improve their professional skills such as: designing, creating and maintaining a terminology database; establishing equivalents of terms; collaborating and team-working, raising awareness of cross-cultural issues; negotiating; problem-solving; online researching; analysing and classifying; critical thinking; managing; creating etc.

As we can see, using ARGs in terminology training can increase the motivation and the interest of students/trainees in terminology, and at the same time make terminology activities more attractive.

Article written by Matilda Soare based on:

Ciobanu, Georgeta, 2010.” ARGs in Teaching Terminology”, in Proceedings of the International Conference “Terminology and Knowledge Engineering Resources Online: Models and Challenges”, Dublin: Fiontar – Dublin City University, pp.279-291, ISBN 978-0-9566314-0-4.

Ciobanu, Georgeta, 2011. “Terminology Moves into the Alternate Reality” in Buletin Stiintific, Academia de Studii Economice din Bucuresti, Centrul de Cercetari literare si de Lingvistica aplicata la Limbaje de specialitate Teodora Cristea, “La Formation en Terminologie” – Actes de la Conference Internationale de Bucarest, 3-4 novembre 2011, Editura ASE Bucuresti, pp.31-40, ISSN 1584-3122.

About TermCoord

The Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament in Schuman Building on Place de l'Europe, Luxembourg
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