For the last few years, I was part of a team called Microsoft Language Excellence. Now, I am part of a consultant group called ExcellenceTerm. To some, including excellence in one’s name might be presumptuous, even arrogant. To me, it is part of the vision.
Let’s look into the etymology. Excellence comes from Latin excellere which means to distinguish oneself or to raise oneself above. If we look up ‘to excel’ in OneLook© Dictionary Search, we find that most dictionaries define it as to do better than, to surpass, to be outstanding, to have a particular talent in something, to do better than a given standard, etc.
Is there something wrong with doing better than a particular standard? Or with being outstanding? I believe not in our Western culture. In a competitive environment, such as the Microsoft culture, there certainly is a positive connotation with the fact that you think you can surpass someone else. My vision for Microsoft Language Excellence was always to be the best resource for terminology management within the company. I believe we fulfilled that vision during most of the existence of Language Excellence.
ExcellenceTerm is part of TermNet, the International Network of Terminology. TermNet was founded in 1988 based “on the initiative of UNESCO, with the aim to establish a network for co-operation in the field of terminology.” ExcellenceTerm is a small group of terminology consultants who are working on various projects, including a certification program for terminologists called the ECQA Certified Terminology Manager.
Economic ups-and-downs aside, we all have to be motivated in our professional lives in order to keep our jobs, make a living, not burn out, etc. Striving for excellence—not achieving perfection—is for me a healthy way to add value and enjoy what we are doing.