By Robin Lombard, Terminology Research Manager, Microsoft Corporation


On Tuesday, May 13, 2008 I gave a lecture to a class of University of Washington students who are enrolled in the Technical Communications program. The class is a graduate seminar with a different theme each quarter – this time it is content publishing and user design. The university invited five people from Microsoft to lecture about their work and to come back a week later to lead a discussion about the topic they lectured on.


My lecture was entitled “Terminology Management at Microsoft”. I started with a definition of terminology management (The investigation, documentation, and consistent reuse of terms and their associated concepts) and very briefly covered some of the essential literature and theory. I tried to spend most of my 50 minutes talking about why terminology management is needed and providing examples from my experience with Microsoft terminology.


Class professor David Farkas said he really liked the lecture (I’m not so sure about the students), and he gave me some hints about how to get a discussion going with the class next week. For example, he suggested I think about how there are two types of students: those concentrating on content and those concentrating on design. So a student will want to know about how our team interacts with usability experts, and what sort of processes we have for ensuring that usable terminology is also globally-appropriate terminology. I probably should also tell them about our localizability/globalization alias.


Here’s hoping I can get the students engaged in a discussion about what I think is a fascinating field…