Round-up of COVID terminology recommendations

Having seen the announcement a few days ago by the World Health Organization (WHO) to adopt letters from the Greek alphabet to label key variants of SARS-CoV-2 as a way of avoid place names and the stigma and discrimination attached to that, I thought a post on recent terminological guidance might be useful.

The WHO update can be found here and the process is discussed in detail by an article published in Forbes magazine.

In the francophone world there is divergence about whether COVID should be masculine or feminine, with all the linguistic repercussions that entails. A great blog post, Faut-il écrire « le » ou « la » COVID-19 dans ses traductions ? from the University of Lille’s specialized translation program sets the position out very clearly.

The Académie française is clear in its statement on the matter. In the same vein, a letter to the editors of the British Medical Journal pleads for differentiation and accuracy.

The British Government issued a glossary in May, containing the most common scientific terms used in research relating to COVID-19. It also includes a list of international and UK organisations involved in public health, their institutional acronyms and descriptions of their work.

Lastl but by no means least, the “Terminology Without Borders” project of the European Parliament’s Terminology Coordination Unit (TermCoord) publishes a fantastically useful list of resources in more than 25 languages.

Please do send in any more sources that you feel would be worth sharing.

Credit: Wordcloud is by kind permission.


You might also be interested in this post, “New words 2020-2021“, published a couple of months ago.


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