Number 121, February 2021
In memory of Jan Roukens
A great man who devoted so much time to terminology, a true power source, deeply rooted in the European Union idea left us last year: Jan Roukens, former president of NL-Term and responsible for the MLIS (Multilingual Information Society) programme within the EU was also a member of the EAFT Board.
Personally, him and I had many interesting discussions, and we did not always agree. When I suggested a whole summit devoted to “domain loss”, it was not so popular. We also thought of creating GERMTERM together – a network, like Realiter, for terminology organizations in the Germanic-speaking world. But it did’t happen – yet … And I remember many nice moments we shared, especially a wonderful rijstafel he invited us to in Hague.
Jan was always full of energy and frank – like when he adviced us at TNC (Swedish Centre for Terminology) not to write many long reports on what we had done, but rather spend the time realising our ideas. His talks were always memorable and many of us surely remember his examples with Stevin and bananas.
He always thought big and never ceased to bring out new ideas. He was such a resource for the EAFT, for Dutch terminology work and for the whole terminology world and he will be dearly missed!
ELETO lost a good friend! We have lost a very good friend of ELETO (of Greece, too); a firm friend, who honoured with his presence the conferences “Hellenic Language and Terminology” organized by ELETO every other year. Jan Roukens passed away on 9 August 2020, at the age of 83. He was a Dutch citizen who lived in Brussels. He had studied physics at the Delft University, Netherlands, and specialized in health and medical informatics. He worked for the European Commission from 1981 to 2002. He designed and launched the European Multilingual Information Society (MLIS) programme, promoting language diversity.
After retirement, he continued to focus on the preservation of language diversity, as a member of European and national committees for multilingualism. From 2009 he chaired the Stichting Nederlands (Dutch Language Foundation), which – together with EAFT – were main supporters of the ELETO–EAFT Symposium “National Languages and Terminology in Higher Education, Science and Technology” (Athens, Greece, 7 November 2013). Characteristic of Jan Roukens were his zeal and efforts to support the role of terminology in promoting national languages against the threat of globalization, his favorite subject of the papers presented at ELETO’s conferences.
Rest in peace, Jan! You will be alive in our memories forever!
ELETO’s board members