Concordia receives $300,000 to develop a suite of terminology resources in French


Specialized industries each have their own unique vocabulary. Getting familiar with the terms is only part of the challenge – the next step is understanding how to use them correctly.

Over the next three years, Concordia’s Department of French Studies, with funding from the Quebec office of the French language (OQLF), is embarking on a student support project with a suite of terminological tools in French. Since Concordia’s language of instruction is English, these resources will prepare students to compete with the French-speaking workforce and be accepted into many professional orders in the province that require proficiency in French.

The tools are intended for students at the Gina Cody School of Engineering and Computer Science and the John Molson School of Business.

“Our commitment to our students is to ensure that they leave Concordia with the confidence to become leaders in Quebec,” says Pascale Sicotte, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.

“We are proud to partner with the OQLF to provide Francophone resources of the highest caliber to fulfill this commitment.

The $300,000 funding includes paid internships for terminology and translation students to work alongside certified terminologists to develop exercises, tests and other teaching materials. The content will be classified by domain and will consist of 4,500 terminology records.

In addition, exercises and practice tests related to the concepts will be hosted on Moodle, Concordia’s course delivery system.

“This initiative reinforces our efforts to train the next generation of highly qualified engineering and computer science personnel to contribute to the economic prosperity of Montreal and Quebec,” said Mourad Debbabi, Dean of the Gina Cody School.

“Thanks to the OQLF, our students will be better equipped to thrive in French in their future career.

“Students will gain invaluable experience”

Philippe Caignon, terminologist, translator and professor in the Department of French Studies, is in charge of the project. It explains the nuance between a term in a bilingual dictionary and a terminology bank.

“In a dictionary entry, you only find the definition but not a detailed explanation of how to use it in a variety of contexts and with a variety of adjectives and verbs, for example,” he says.

“In a job interview or in conversation with clients, we want students to be able to express themselves at an advanced level.”

A requirement of the project is that 70% of the concepts and terms created do not currently appear in the Large terminology dictionary, the OQLF database hosted on the office’s website. The remaining 30% will be updates to existing entries.

“Students hired for this project will gain invaluable experience working alongside certified terminologists and following OQLF protocols,” adds Caignon.

“We will review student work and provide feedback and essentially treat them as professional terminologists.”

The first year will focus on the development of tools related to engineering and computer science, followed by business terms. Since specialist terms are constantly changing due to advances in technology and other changes, the project team will review them regularly to keep the information current.

“On behalf of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, I would also like to thank Maria Trigueiro and Chanel Bourdon for their work in establishing this fruitful working relationship with the OQLF for the benefit of our students and society in general. “, notes Sicotte.

The Department of French Studies was previously a partner of the office of Réussir en français, the university’s French learning centre. It includes classes, tutors, conversation groups, intensive summer courses and extracurricular activities to develop and strengthen the French skills of Concordia students and community members.


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William D. Babcock

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