IV EMLex Colloquium on Lexicography in Santiago de Compostela

On 30 March 2017, the Head of the Translation Department, Thierry Fontenelle, was invited by the University of Santiago de Compostela to attend the 4th EMLex Colloquium on Lexicography, which was part of a series of annual symposia organised by the EMLex Consortium, a managing member of the Erasmus Mundus European Master in Lexicography. He took part in a panel discussion on ‘Building bridges between lexicography and industry’.

The European Master in Lexicography (EMLex) is an international course of studies (Joint Master Degree) that:

  • promotes the international and interdisciplinary training of lexicographers;
  • teaches lexicographical theories at a high international level;
  • includes a distinct connection to the practical application of dictionary creation;
  • brings together students from all over the world.

EMLex is offered under the Erasmus Mundus programme and involves a number of partner universities. The colloquium was articulated around a morning session which included a series of lectures on the topic of ‘Teaching and learning lexicography’, as well as a presentation on employability measures. A fair in the afternoon allowed the participants to meet representatives from publishing houses, research groups, institutions and companies active in the field of dictionary-making.

The round table on ‘Building bridges between lexicography and industry’, in which Thierry Fontenelle was invited to participate, involved representatives from academia, publishing houses and companies active in the field of natural language processing. The discussions made it clear that there is a need for synergies between initiatives such as EMLex and industry requirements. Given that the EMLex degree includes courses on terminology, a discipline which is, for obvious reasons, closely related to lexicography, and that EMLex graduates are trained to participate in dictionary and terminology project management, it was a good opportunity to discuss some of the challenges faced by translators who are involved in terminological projects.

Because simple equivalence between terms in multiple languages is not enough, the terminologists who create term bases need to be familiar with the techniques used by lexicographers to craft accurate definitions and select linguistically relevant examples (if possible, illustrating key collocational and combinatory preferences). They also need to be able to structure the data in such a systematic way that they are usable not only by humans, but also by the authoring or translation tools used in the translation process. They also need to provide ‘added value’ in the form of metalinguistic knowledge (reliability codes, definitions, contexts, information on preferred terminology or deprecated terms, etc.).

The programme of the 4th EMLex Colloquium can be found here: https://emlex4.wordpress.com/programme/