The role of the domain expert in legal/administrative terminology work
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High quality multilingual terminology work is essentially a cooperative activity. In the domain of law and administration, domain experts (legal experts or jurilinguists) play a paramount role, especially if compared to other domains. This chapter aims at illustrating the role of the domain experts in the terminology workflow and the strategies and tools used to involve them. First, we briefly introduce the distinctive characteristics of legal terminology, the collaborative aspects in terminology work and the different roles involved in it. Then, we focus on the key role played by the domain expert, i.e. the legal expert, within the terminology elaboration workflow. In the main section, we discuss the results of a qualitative study among terminologists working in different terminology centres throughout Europe and beyond. The data consists in 17 expert interviews conducted in 2011 and 2012 within the EU project LISE (Legal Language Interoperability Services) with terminologists and terminology managers of terminology centres/units located mainly in Europe. The emerging picture is of a rather limited and sporadic involvement of legal experts within the terminology workflow, whereas the ideal situation would be a constant and solid partnership that may trigger a mutual learning process. Cooperation with domain experts results being a weak point in the workflow of all types of institutions. This calls for a new approach to the cooperation between language and legal experts to attain high quality results. Finally, we present existing best practices and a new collaboration platform addressing the needs expressed by the terminologists.