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Terminology of Knowledge for Sustainable Development

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On the Website of the Communication Initiative I recently came across the following article from 2005:

The Terminology of Knowledge for Sustainable Development:

Information, Knowledge, Collaboration and Communications

Author: Heather Creech
Publication Date: 2005

URL: http://www.comminit.com/en/node/269383

Summary
This International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) Knowledge Communications Practice Note offers a glossary of terms related to sustainable development communications. The glossary covers: principal distinctions; terminology of knowledge processes; typology of collaborative relationships; and an inventory of communications practices and tools. Examples of this glossary, which is presented in a chart format, include terms such as: Adaptive management; Community of practice; Intellectual capital; K4D: Knowledge for development; Knowledge mobilisation; Appreciative inquiry; and Participatory video, among others.

Glossaries Breakfast Group – Day: Definitions and Contexts

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On day 2, the request came in to discuss how to write good definitions. Slides were presented on good definition form and context form, and we discussed critical issues. Sample definition:

account

A login directory (1) restricted for the use of a particular person, (2) usually password- protected, (3) that provides access to a system.

Where:

the term is:  “account”

the superordinate concept is: “A login directory”

the critical (essential, distinguishing) characteristics are:

(1) restricted for the use of a particular person

(2) usually password- protected

(3) that provides access to a system.

The slides are available at TermNet Website.

What to do when you have to create a glossary

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UPDATE!

The “glossaries” focus group reports what they did:

Essentially, we introduced ourselves to each other and as we did this, established the various frameworks in which different members of the group create different kinds of glossaries and other terminological resources.

Environments, glossary types, target groups

  • Resources designed to respond to distributed development in large enterprises; problem of communication among distributed sites;  getting clear definitions in English
  • Resources designed for the purpose of translating EU legislation based on multilingual glossaries with master en equivalents (languages: Croatian & Turkish)
  • Regulatory affairs in order to support translation activities by outsourced translators
  • Language planning in the context of the Welsh language boards; Welsh/English; issues of acceptance and term creation
  • Fachsprache= special language in business; (English and Slovenian) for use by freelance translators
  • Bilingual lexicology for special languages
  • WIPO terminology database
  • Transportation industry; dictionaries and glossaries for Latvian, Russian, English; how to make the terminologies parallel
  • Translation department glossaries for EU agencies in a wide range of domains; how to foresee problems and solutions for translators, auditors, interpreters, etc.
  • Freelance technical writer: glossaries; technical solutions
  • Technology companies where people are creating terms in industry and business
  • Technical terms, medical terms, processes to establish preferred terminological usage
  • South African experience: language planning and term introduction in languages for which many terms must be created
  • Translation unit of the eu: exercise in the combination of various different glossaries into Euroterm; problem of legacy data; problem of unification of entries
  • Communications support – total communications management for translation and document production
  • Technical translation and terminology management for enterprises, multiple languages
  • Modernization of legacy systems and importation of legacy data
  • Secretary to a commission in a minority language region; translation of legal terms & laws into a minority language that is a majority language in a neighboring country (i.e., German in Belgium, parallel)
  • WIPO – World Intellectual Property Organization; patent translation and terminology management

Problems

  • How does one transfer terminological and lexicographical information from tabular Excel glossaries into a structured terminology management system, such as MultiTerm? (Answer: xml output, manipulation and importation into the master system; more of a tools question, but nevertheless related to “glossaries”. Similar issues exist for glossaries found on the web, which may also need to edited for stylistic presentation.
  • How does one deal with copyright issues? (To be discussed on Thursday)
  • How do we come with new terms in different environments:
  • Terms used in well established languages (e.g., German terms for Italian or Belgian law)?
  • Terms or even general language words for use in languages where some areas of science, law, etc. have not been as rigorously developed in the past
  • How do we introduce and educate the general public so that terms created in such environments will be accepted for general usage?
  • Community action procedures and introduction in the school system in order to familiar children, families and interest groups in focused areas of terminology (e.g., family health, water management, childhood education, etc.), with the result that the introduction and acceptance of terminology can actually take a generation!
  • How do we deal with the fact that terms are coined in English and tend to be both very compact and short, in addition to being ambiguous with regard to noun/verb/adjective relationships, when some languages require more explicit, longer phrasal terms?
  • How do we keep people from just giving up and using the English terms?

No clear solutions here, but we commiserated with each other!

Critical insight: “Nothing is so easy as I thought it would be.”

To be continued tomorrow…

Discussion threads for International Terminology Summer School revealed

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These are the 3 main discussion threads that will be discussed and debated during TSS 2009:

1. Tools:
Which CAT tools are good for whom?
What are the best approaches to create a database that follows best practices and is tailored to individual needs?
How can technology make your work-life as easy as possible?
This group can also make use of the computer lab for demonstrations.

2. Skills:
What kind of skills are required of a terminologist?
How do we identify these skills, use and enhance them?
How can one qualify as a terminologist and promote a career in the field?

3. Glossary
How does one create a terminology database or a glossary?
What approaches and tools can be used to analyze corpora and to identify and select “good” terms?
What are the criteria for writing useful and correct definitions or collecting meaningful contexts?
What kinds of organizational approaches do you need to consider in your daily work?
We will follow-up these topics in this blog and hope for many comments. You may also send us questions which we may discuss in the groups.

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