Interview with Victoria Ivashchenko


Victoria L. Ivashchenko is the Head of the Terminology Commission under International Committee оf Slavonic Scholars, Professor at the Institute of Journalism at Borys Grinchenko Kyiv University and at Chernihiv National Pedagogical University named after Taras Shevchenko. She was a mentor of the Council of Young Scientists of the Ukrainian Language Institute at the NASU (2009-2013). V. Ivashchenko gained her Doctoral degree in Philology in 2007 and later held the chair of the Scientific Terminology Department at the Ukrainian Language Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in 2010-2016. During that period she was in charge of the Scientific and Methodic Committee on the Ukrainian Language at the Scientific and Methodic Council on Education at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. In 2013-2015 she became a member of Dictionary Council at the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. V. Ivashchenko has been working in the field of terminology for nearly 20 years, has more than 140 publications, and is the author of the monograph Концептуальна репрезентація фрагментів знання в науково-мистецькій картині світу [Conceptual Representation of Knowledge Fragments in Scientific-and-Art World Image] (2006). Her areas of research interest are terminology, phraseology, lexicology, lexicography, and cognitive linguistics.

Is Terminology your passion_Ivashchnko

  1. What is your academic background? How and why did you develop an interest in terminology?

In 1987 I graduated from Kamianets-Podilskyi State Pedagogical Institute n.a. V.P. Zatonskyi (now Kamianets-Podilskyi National University n.a. Ivan Ohiienko) and I was offered the position of assistant to the chair of Russian linguistics, where I worked for three years. From 1990 to 1992 I was Intern Researcher at Kyiv State Pedagogical Institute n.a. M. О. Gorkyi, where I began my research activity. In 1993 I enrolled in the Post-graduate Department of the Ukrainian Language Institute at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, where I defended the Candidate’s dissertation in 1997. I began terminological research when I started working at the Lexicology, Terminology and Onomastic Department in 1997. I was interested in linguistic terminology, terminological representation of connotative semantics of words. Then I turned my attention to the problem of connotative semantics of terms.

  1. You are currently heading the Terminology Commission of the International Committee of Slavonic Scholars (TC ICSS). Could you tell us about its work? What are the main activities of SlavTerm?

First, a few words on the Title of the Commission. Today its official name is the Terminology Commission under International Committee of Slavonic Scholars (TC ICSS). In October 1955 the Meeting in Belgrade decided to establish the Terminological Commission as a new direction of research and terminological studies under International Committee of Slavonic Scholars.

In 1958-1963 the Terminological Commission comprised two subcommissions – on Linguistics and on Literature. In 1963 the first Commission was transformed into the Commission on Linguistic Terminology, and the second one into the Commission on Terminology of Literature. In 1978 the two Commissions merged into a new Commission. In 1998-2008 the Commission remained inactive. In September 2008 the Commission on Terminology was formed at the initiative of S. Gaida at the XIV International Convention of Slavonic Scholars. It was renamed into the Commission on the Terminology (“SlavTerm”). In 2013 I was appointed Head of the Commission by the decision of the XV International Convention of Slavic Scholars, held on 20-27 August 2013 in Minsk. In 2013 the Commission received the official name of the Terminology Commission under International Committee of Slavonic Scholars (TC ICSS).

The activity of the Terminology Commission under International Committee of Slavonic Scholars has been irregular over the 60 years of its existence. It was not active in 1998-2008, and it did not produce any teamwork after 1979. In 2008-2013 the Commission included 14 people from 6 countries (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Bulgaria, Finland). Since 2013 its membership has grown considerably and now includes 38 members from 10 countries (Ukraine, Belarus, Poland, Russia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Macedonia, Serbia, Slovakia).

Since 2014 the Terminology Commission under International Committee of Slavonic Scholars has been working on an analytical collective monograph Slavic Terminology of the End XX – the Beginning XXI Centuries. The successfully completed monograph in different Slavic languages presents a complete picture of the development of modern Slavic terminology, summarizing the experience of scientific research in Poland, Ukraine, Serbia, Croatia, Belarus, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Macedonia. The monograph focuses on theoretical achievements and problems of terminology schools, terminology papers, special dictionaries, computer terminography, terminological databases based on modern information and communication technologies in various Slavic countries. The main goal of this teamwork was to unite the creative potential of representatives from different Slavic cultures around the common idea of national terminology development against the backdrop of globalization. The monograph takes inventory and systematizes the fundamental theoretical works on terminology, general and specialized dictionaries, textbooks, manuals, periodicals, journals, collections devoted to terminological problems.

TC ICSS took the first step to collecting the Bibliographic Index Slavic Terminology and Terminography (1990-2017).

TC ICSS tries to meet the needs of modern information society requiring the development of Slavic computer terminography, and thus the creation of inter-Slavic, or even inter-Slavic and non-Slavic specialized electronic dictionaries, terminology databases, corpora, online resources, virtual terminographic laboratories, and digital libraries. Therefore TC ICSS started a project on the creation of a Slavonic terminographic database with the working title Višejezične Mrežne Terminološke Baze kao Podloga za Izradu Baze Slavenska Terminografija. TC ICSS is planning to make this database freely accessible on its website.

A significant achievement of TC ICSS was the creation and content development of the website in the Slavic languages in 2014-2016. Today members of TC ICSS  are working on the English version of this website and the first electronic edition on the problems of terminology in Slavic languages  Вісник Термінологічної Комісії при МКС = Вестник Терминологической Комиссии при МКС = Bulletin of the Terminology Commission under International Committee of Slavonic Scholars dedicated to the 60th anniversary of TC ICSS.

Members of TC ICSS regularly meet and discuss organizational issues, tasks and achievements declared in the Program for 2013-2018. Such meetings were held in 2013 – Ljubljana (Slovenia), Zagreb (Croatia), Warsaw (Poland); 2015 – Kyiv (Ukraine), Warsaw (Poland); 2016 – Belgrade (Serbia); 2017 – Warsaw (Poland).

In 2015-2017 the Commission held three international conferences: Українська термінологія і сучасність [Ukrainian Terminology and Contemporaneity] (2015, Kyiv, Ukraine) in cooperation with the Commission of Linguistic Bibliography at ICSS; Словенска терминологија данас [Slavic Terminology Today] (2016, Belgrade, Serbia) and Terminologia słowiańska: dziś i jutro [Slavic Terminology: Today and Tomorrow] (2017, Warsaw, Poland).

Today the TC ICSS focuses on: 1) initiating comparable Slavonic studies of: a) socio-terminological problems; b) ethical problems in inter-Slavic cooperation; c) specialized terminologies of modern philosophy of science, “complexity sciences”, humanity sciences (jurisprudence, social communication etc.), new technologies, high technologies, innovative technologies; 2) creating linguo-philosophical theory of term based on the cognitization of science, updating its methodology, explosive development of complexity sciences that determine: a) updating the methodology of modern terminology; b) creating socio-humanitarian conception of  terminology because of the peculiarities of the term functioning in the field of humanities, its  communicative functions in a professional environment; 3) creating linguo-technological conception of applied terminology development in view of  special terminology functioning in modern information society and linguistic regulation of terminologies in various Slavic countries.

International cooperation in TC ISS focused on the revitalization and consolidation of studies in Slavic terminological, terminographic and terminology spaces (traditional, electronic and virtual) as preparation for the creation of a terminological portal in Slavic languages.

  1. As author and coauthor of over 140 publications, could you outline the most important ones in the field of terminology? What is the latest research you have done in this area?

I am interested not only in problems of terminology and terminography, but also lexicology and lexicography, phraseology, lexical semantics, linguoconceptology, cognitive linguistics, especially cognitive semasiology. Among the most significant published works I can mention: my monograph Лінгвоконцептуальна репрезентація фрагментів когніції в термінопросторі української мистецтвознавчої картини світу [Languaconceptual Representarion of Cognition Fragments in the Terminological Space of the Ukrainian Art Studies World Image] (2006); collective monograph Фразеология и терминология: грани пересечения [Phraseology and Terminology: Borders of Crossing] in collaboration with T. Fedulenkova, A. Ivanov, T. Kuprina and others (2009); the bilingual dictionary Російсько-український словник, том 1 [Russian-Ukrainian Dictionary, vol. 1] in collaboration with I. Hnatiuk, S. Holovashchuk, V. Zhaivoronok and others (2011); chapter Ukrainian School of Terminology in the collective work Polskie i europejskie nurty terminologiczne (ed. M. Małachowicz, S. Grucza, 2017).

There are important papers on the problems of terminology: Когнітивне термінознавство: перспективи розвитку [Cognitive Terminology: Prospects of Development] (2011), Історіографія термінознавства: метамова і структурні підрозділи [Historiography of Terminology: Metalanguage and Structural Subsections] (2013), Українська школа термінознавства: з історії становлення [Ukrainian Terminology School: from the History of Development] (2016) and others.

I gained interesting experience as a managing editor of the collected papers Термінолонгічний вісник [Terminological Bulletin] (2011, 2013, 2015), Українська термінологія і сучасність [Ukrainian Terminology and Contemporaneity] (2013) and a scientific editor of the dictionary Зведений словник назв суб’єктів культурної діяльності в українській мові [Compiled Dictionary of Names of Subjects in Cultural Activity in the Ukrainian Language] (2016).

I am currently finishing my monograph Українське термінознавство: історіографія парадигм наукових пошуків [The Ukrainian Terminology: Historiography оf the Paradigm of Scientific Searches]. Together with other members of TC ICSS I am preparing the international collective monograph and Bibliographic Index “Slavic Terminology and Terminography (1990 – 2017)”.

  1. What is the role of terminology in Slavic studies? Do approaches vary in different languages?

Perhaps the question should be formulated in a slightly different way: what is the peculiarity of investigating terminology particularly in Slavic studies? The role of terminology is the same in all languages, in my opinion. But the study of terminology in Slavic languages is rather specific. In the conditions of globalization, cultural, economic and political integration of diverse language communities, modern terminology challenges the preservation of its Slavic identity in linguistic forms, while being international in its content. This determines solving problems of Slavic terminology that inherits the traditions of Slavic linguistics. Significant Anglicization of scientific terminology, excessive borrowing of foreign (non-Slavic) terms into many Slavic languages threatens its identity to some extent. Problems of language ecology, its purity, language culture are determined by people’s ability of original term producing, term generating and term usage. Therefore, the priority of Slavic terminology is to reveal the nation building potential of the separate Slavic languages as a factor in the identification and self-determination of a certain ethnic group through the use of native terminology.

Of course, every area of Slavic culture has its own peculiarities in special terminology development and its formalization in the national terminology system. These processes reflect the historical specifics in the development of certain Slavic literary language, Slavic nationhood, and Slavic language policies. For more than a century different scholars have been discussing these issues in connection with the development of terminology on the national ([general] folk / [real] language) or international basis. If Russian terminology aligns with an international basis, then Ukrainian, Polish and others focus on the national one. Such discussions produce ethical problematics, in particular, an efficient dialogue of different worldviews and linguistic cultures and an effective inter-ethnic scientific communication of terminologists. Unfortunately, today there is a lack of international contrastive collective studies that would summarize the experience in these cutting-edge issues in Slavic terminology.

  1. Is terminology taught as an academic subject at Ukrainian universities?

Yes of course. Ukrainian universities provide disciplines “Terminology”, “Modern Ukrainian Terminology”, “Terminology Editing” (Publishing and Editing faculties), “Fundamentals of Terminology”, “Ukrainian Terminology” (Humanitarian faculties), “Ukrainian Language for Special Purposes” (Technical faculties), “Juridical Linguistics” (Law faculties), “Terminology Culture of a Specialist” (Culture and Art faculties), “Biomedical ethics and field terminology”, “Medical terminology and the Latin Language” (Specialty  “Biomedical Engeneering”), “Carrier-guidance English Terminology” (Veterenary, Biotechnology, Marketing faculties), etc. Over the period from 1990 to 2016, the authors published more than 50 textbooks, guidebooks, teaching aids, methodological instructions, terminology hands-on courses, training manuals on general terminology and special field terminology (scientific, technical, legal, medical, biological, historical, zoological, chemical, economic terminology and terminology of transport, physical culture and sports).

In Ukraine higher school provides a course of the Ukrainian Language for Special Purposes and some other compulsory or selective courses on terminology studies.

  1. Recently you published an article outlining the main trends in Slavic terminology development in the late 20th – early 21st centuries. Could you briefly explain what these trends are?

The problematics of modern polyparadigmatic Slavic terminology highlight the main ways of its development, primarily because of the peculiarities of the terminology itself as a transdisciplinary synthesis of certain fields of knowledge, logics, systematology, semiotics and linguistics in close interaction with informational technologies. Prevailing tendencies of research developments in Slavic language cultures at the turn of the century are defined by a “cognitive turnaround in the philosophy of science” indicating a change of value orientations.

The main trends and ways of the development of Slavic terminology at the end of XX – beginning XXI centuries are determined above all by its problematics.

In view of the general problematics Slavic terminology is represented by three basic paradigm ways of research: system and structural / traditional (28% works with prevailing onomasiologic and semasiologic); functional (24% works with dominant problems of translation, linguodeduction, field communication, field text stylistics, theory and practice of drafting specialized dictionaries); cognitive (10% works with prevailing cognitive-nominative;
-semasiological, -communicative, information-technological aspects, problems of linguistic philosophy, information-semiotic theory of term and computer terminography). Pride of place also goes to cross-paradigm (26%) and cross-disciplinary (14%) research intelligence.

In Slavic field (applied and comparative) terminology the dominant format of research intelligence “non-Slavic (primary English) – Slavic languages” lacks research into inter-Slavic parallels in terminologies (it accounts for only 1.1% of the total inventory). This calls for future international collective studies on Slavic terminology.

With an eye toward the national/ [general]national problematics of terminology in different countries at various times, with their ideologies, language doctrines and political orientations, it remains in question for research aimed at finding connections of terminological equivalence. These connections help to reach understanding in the usage of terms in different Slavic linguistic spaces. The approaches include historical-etymological, dialectological, ethnolinguistic, linguo-culturological research of field term systems.

The applied Slavic terminology including Slavic translational terminography, are the main directions of research demanding from terminologists of different Slavic countries to intensify and consolidate their effort regarding the lack of truly inter-Slavic dictionaries. Each area of Slavic culture has a significant influence on the formation of field terminology of one or another language which, in fact, is reflected in terminographic practice. For example, among dictionaries of the end XX – beginning XXI centuries in the format of “Slavic – Slavic language” in the tradition of the Belarusian and Ukrainian terminography one may calculate 45.5% and 42.4% of articles respectively (with preferred format “Russian – Belarusian or Ukrainian language” and vice versa), in Polish terminography – 6 % terminographic works, in Czech – 1.4%, in Croatian – 0.7%, in Serbian – 0.5%, in Slovenian – unable to find any such dictionary.

The needs of modern information societies call for the development of computer Slavic terminography, and thus for the creation of inter-Slavic, and inter-Slavic – non-Slavic electronic dictionaries. Some experience in this area has been gained, for example, by scientists of the department of terminological dictionaries of the Institute of Slovenian language named after F. Ramovsha within the framework of the project Terminologišče (2004-2016) aimed at drafting electronic monolingual (Slovenian language) and multilingual terminographic translated works, however, mainly in the format of “non-Slavic – Slovenian” language. The Ukrainian Lingua-Information Fund of the NAS of Ukraine developed ON-LINE resources, including Ukrainian National Linguistic Body, 4 multilingual electronic dictionaries and 2 virtual terminographic laboratories (2001-2016) on its web-site. Significant achievements in this regard are also obtained in other countries.

Another demand of modern information society that shapes the independent direction of linguo-technological research in terminology is the creation of terminological databases. In particular, Russian Language Institute named after V.V. Vinogradov of the RAS and the company “” created an electronic terminology database Географическая терминология Европейского севера России (2005). The linguists of the department of the Slovak National Institute of Linguistics named after L. Stuhr of the SAS created a Slovak terminology database – Slovenská terminologická databáza (2016). The project, supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic, resulted in the creation of the Czech terminology database of library and information science – Česká terminologická databáze knihovnictví a informační vědy (2015). Sofia University named after St. Kliment Ohridski developed a multilingual terminology database with the text body, which among Slavic languages contains only Bulgarian – Многоезична терминологична банка (2016). The Institute of Croatian Language and Linguistics developed a multiple field terminology database Struna (2016) in the Croatian language, and others. It is important to create a terminological portal in Slavic languages taking into account the linguo-technological aspect. Some progress in this regard has been made by the Slavic community, namely: in Croatia – Hrvatski terminološki portal (2016); in Slovenia – Slovenski terminološki portal (attempt to create 2009); in Ukraine – Лінгвістичний портал (2003-2016) etc.

  1. How would you define the profile of a modern terminologist?

The modern terminologist is a terminological expert who has professional training based not only on the chosen specialization but also on linguistics, systematology, philosophy (in particular philosophy of science), logics, semiotics, communication science, computer technologies, cognitive science, and science studies. It is a person who should  have a good command of several languages and translational skills, know the general trends of development of both specialized fields and science on the whole, use contemporary methods, methodologies, techniques and technologies of scientific research, be able to introduce  theoretical achievements into practice of social request for a term, create electronic courses on terminology, electronic dictionaries and terminological databases and operate them, participate in terminological conferences, international terminological projects, constantly improve his or her proficiency level. It is, of course, not a full list of features one should possess to be a real modern terminologist.

  1. How do you see the future of terminology as a discipline?

Unfortunately terminology as a general science and at the same time linguistic discipline does not have the status of compulsory, officially assigned to the curricula of universities in all countries today. Its introduction into the curricula of some universities largely depends on teachers’ initiative. Therefore, the future of terminology as an interbranch discipline depends on providing it with the official status of a compulsory discipline at all universities in those countries where it doesn’t have such status yet. It is important because the level of terminological competence determines the level of specialist’s competence in a particular sphere of knowledge and thereafter reflects the development of science in this sector in general.

Government agencies in various countries promote modern terminology development, create special committees on standardization of scientific and technical terminology oriented on the activities of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). The main objective of ISO is to ratify standards developed by joint efforts of representatives from various countries. One of the tasks of such committees in different countries is to harmonize current international terminological standards and develop their own ones in order to unambiguously establish common recognized systems of national scientific and technical terms, in conformity with with relevant international (European) ones. Are technical universities currently preparing terminologists within compulsory programs that would specialize precisely on terminology standardization issues? No. The question of introducing the discipline “Terminology standardization” into the curricula is only one of the aspects of the general problem of standardization to a greater extent. Unfortunately, today only one training module is taught at universities at the most. Therefore a promising linguodidactic direction in development of modern terminology as an independent discipline is to elaborate and practically implement special training programs into the training process.

On the other hand, today it is important to harmonize the terminology of socio-humanities, because their conceptual and lexical ambiguity and interdisciplinarity require regulation and unification. Currently we challenge development of socio-humanitarian conception of terminology elaboration. That calls for the creation of relevant terminology centers or committees in many countries.

Introducing computer technologies into the learning process, creating electronic textbooks, electronic terminology dictionaries, terminology databases, portals, virtual terminology laboratories and other resources requires modern terminologists to develop and certify electronic training courses and electronic textbooks on discipline “Terminology”, “Fundamentals of Terminology”, to develop courses “Computer Terminography”, “Term Databases Management”. Today it is important to elaborate linguo-technological and linguo-didactic principles of future terminology, which will contribute to the further development of integrated traditional, electronic and virtual terminology studies. The quality  of terminology studies, the possibility of creating international terminological centers, the future of every modern Slavic terminology involves close interaction of traditional and innovative terminology, theoretical achievements and practical experience of terminologists from  different countries, of course, with the support of the Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) of the Directorate-General for Translation of the European Parliament.


Interviewed by Yelena Radley, Terminology Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, language teacher and sociolinguist.

Yelena has a lifelong interest in languages and linguistics. She has worked as a language teacher and translator in Russia, UK and Luxembourg. Having recently completed a Master’s in Learning and Communication in Multilingual and Multicultural Contexts at the University of Luxembourg, Yelena is currently starting her PhD in sociolinguistics and language sciences, with a focus on language use in international workplaces.



Post prepared by Katerina PalamiotiTranslator, Social Media and Content Manager, Communication Trainee and Foodie at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament