Pandemology: Corona terminology as a virtual project

Pandemology: Corona terminology as a virtual project

The pandemic is changing our everyday life. We have to reinvent ourselves in our interaction: not only in our private sphere, but also professionally. Companies have to create infrastructures in order to stay in contact at a distance: with employees in the home office, suppliers, customers. The number of virtual projects has risen sharply with Corona. The pandemic made many of them possible in the first place. Pandemology is one of them. The initiative not only makes an important contribution to Corona terminology. The Pandemology team also shows how virtual projects can be carried out in a corona-compliant, agile and very successful manner.

Coordinate Corona terminology: online and collaborative

Pandemology is a freely accessible discussion portal for the terminology of pandemics. Corona voice data can be collected worldwide, managed centrally on the pandemic platform and easily made available for download in many formats. The highlight of the matter: The Corona terminology is evaluated by all parties before it is released. The initiators of Pandemology do not just want to offer another corona glossary. The aim is to create a platform on which as many language users as possible worldwide can agree on Corona terminology together.

Agile working: Success in four SCRUM teams

The International University SDI Munich started the virtual project in the Corona summer semester. Students of the dual master’s degree in Translation Management developed Pandemology under the direction of Professor Dr. Rachel Herwartz as a term paper. When it comes to project management, those involved rely on agile methods: four SCRUM teams take on different tasks. The research team brings together existing data collections and supplements them with current sources. The basis is a uniform database concept defined by the database team. The validation team is responsible for the approval. It systematizes terminology according to jointly defined criteria and documents the result in the terminology guide. The Marketing team developed the landing page with instructions and a link to the Pandemology database.

Virtual project management: the right tools help

The approval process is the crucial step in the virtual project. Corona terminology must first be sorted for this. The team uses the classic workflow process in three stages:

  • New – The entry was adapted and imported with regard to the database concept, but the terminology was not checked any further.
  • In progress – The entry is being revised and discussed by the community.
  • Approved – The entry has been approved by a validator.

Because Translation Management is offered as a purely online course, the entire project management is virtual. The teams use the Trello Free tool, which is available free of charge. The weekly voting takes place online with the open source software Jitsi Meet.

Online terminology management: collaborative to achieve better results

Online terminology management: collaborative to achieve better results TermSolutions GmbH provides the terminology tool, which is already used in the Ebola project at Heidelberg University, free of charge for the pandemology project. TermSolutions GmbH provides the terminology tool, which is already used in the Ebola project at Heidelberg University, free of charge for the pandemology project. The collaborative approach leads to better terminology results. Various export options such as csv, xls, multiterm-xml and tbx make handling easy. If conceptual relationships are also maintained, the conceptual systems can also be exported as

Corona terminology: challenge for virtual projects

Terminology work is ideal for virtual projects. However, Corona makes it a special challenge. Common rules of the game are always essential to make a project a success. The project participants not only have to agree on how to deal with the fields in the database and what makes a good name. In order to achieve good quality, the agreements must also be consistently adhered to by everyone. In addition, the “Corona” topic is not only globally relevant, but also terminologically complex: In addition to standard definitions, definitions for experts and definitions in easy language must be researched and documented. It is important that online terminology management meets these complex requirements.

Strong together: Pandemology is looking for comrades-in-arms

Pandemology can facilitate the cooperation of international experts in the fight against the virus and promote global convergence in the pandemic. One thing is certain: the more language users participate in the project, the stronger pandemology becomes. The project initiators are therefore dependent on colleagues – interested laypeople and experienced terminologists. If you want to have a validation account, you can get it by email at The project team is also happy to receive ideas, requests and suggestions – whether in the area of PR / marketing, research, validation or database design.

Investing in virtual projects is not only worthwhile in times of social distancing. At some point, Corona will be history – perhaps also because there are initiatives like Pandemology that are bringing the world together in the fight against the virus. One thing is certain: virtual project management will still play an important role in the post-corona period.

Should virtual project management also play a role in your company? In our free webinar “Agile & Virtual” we will tell you why this is a good decision.