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APCDA Glossary

APCDA Glossary of Career Development Terms

We hope to have Simplified Chinese and Korean versions soon.

Additional terms for the Glossary may be submitted to: Glossary@AsiaPacificCDA.org


Why does APCDA need a Glossary?

The Asia Pacific Career Development Association includes several countries in which English is spoken as one of the official languages, such as Australia, Canada, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, and USA, among others.  These countries use different terms and expressions in career development.  In addition, many of our members use other languages, where some of our commonly used terms may be translated with additional meanings.  For this reason, it is important for us to agree on the meaning of common career development terms so that we can clearly understand each other when we speak and write.

This project was begun in 2014 at the urging of the European Lifelong Guidance Policy Network (ELGPN).  Familiar with the confusion caused by dealing with a variety of countries that understand English words slightly differently, they advised us that this should be one of our early projects.  In 2017, the project was revived by a group or active members willing to put their time into the project. 

The current list contains over 100 terms and phrases which we agreed are used very commonly.  It probably needs to double in size because there are many other words and phrases that we also use frequently. This list was created by volunteers from English-speaking countries, and heavily based on selections from the ELGPN glossary.  It needs to be expanded to include words APCDA members use most frequently in English. 

APCDA is excited to have translations in some of our member languages.  It is our hope that our member countries, especially those that do not speak English officially, will translate the English glossary into local languages.  In this process, we believe other terms will be identified that need to be added. Having glossaries in local languages is one of many services that we wish to provide for our members.

In the process of building the English Version of the Glossary, we found many terms that had different meanings for English speakers.  For example, “Career.”  Based on the normal translation of “Career” in Chinese, we learned that our colleagues with a Chinese cultural background strongly disagreed with those with other backgrounds on the correct definition of “Career.”  We learned that the person called a “Guidance Counselor” in India is called a “School Counselor” in the USA.  A “Dropout” in the USA is an “Early School Leaver” in several countries and the age which is considered “early” varies.  Even a simple phrase like “Work Experience” raised controversy.  Creating this glossary was a fascinating experience which required compromise and careful use of words to assure that our definitions were not ambiguous.

We believe this is only the beginning. Please submit terms you would like to see added to the Glossary to Glossary@AsiaPacificCDA.org.


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