From hacker spirit to collaborative terminology
Resourcefulness in humanitarian work
Whether dealing with social work, humanitarian assistance, solidarity or cooperation, the multilingual linguistic resources necessary for supporting social mediators within the domain of humanitarian work are significantly lacking. Institutional infrastructures which could be capable of fulfilling these needs end up being excessively rigid and sluggish in responding to the complex linguistic situations in which people in vulnerable circumstances find themselves immersed. As such, in times of need and of assistance following a natural disaster, or as a consequence of armed conflict or due to reasons of social injustice, the traditional, linear and hierarchical processes of terminology production prove inadequate when the tools critical for dealing with urgent situations must be provided.Unlike the methods typically used in industrial societies, the “network society” proposes new models of collaborative work patterned on virtual communities. This article takes as its premise that the hacker spirit, a key aspect of the “network society” (Castells 2011), is an exceptional point of reference around which new processes for terminology work can be developed. The goal of the article is to explore this terrain and show how these ideas have actually been implemented in practice through the creation of the collaborative platform Humanterm.
Keywords: collaborative terminology, hacker spirit, humanitarian sector, Humanterm, network society
Published online: 15 November 2013