How the Booby was found

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Debora has this terminology story for us:

People thought the Tasman Booby was long extinct – instead he was only going incognito under a different name (*).

Here’s where we found it: http://www.i-to-i.com/campfire/news/extinct-booby-found-living-in-tasmania.html
Tasman booby – a bird thought to have been long extinct – has been found living in Tasmania by scientists.

However, the story is not as straightforward as it seems, reports National Geographic. A ‘masked’ bird which conservationists thought was a different species for years has now been identified as the Tasman booby.

Fossil experts in past decades unwittingly compared the bones of the female Tasman booby to those of a male booby, which is masked. However, they did not take into account the significantly different statures of the birds and assumed they were two different species.

A comparison of their DNA confirmed that the booby is still very much alive.

Tammy Steeves of the University of Canterbury in New Zealand – the leader of the study which made the discovery – told the magazine: “Imagine my surprise when we found that they were identical. It’s a rare treat to uncover such a definitive result.”

The Tasman Booby (if you meet one, you can address him correctly now): http://www.doc.govt.nz/upload/30245/masked-booby-223.jpg

(*) yes, names are important in terminology. Therefore, ISO 704 “Terminology work – Principles and methods” – a must-know standard for the language industry – will add a large section on names in its next revision.

Wouldn’t you want to develop an international standard?

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It’s August again and this usually means  it is time for terminology and language experts, computational linguists and other practitioners to convene and talk standardization (or what did you think August was for 🙂 ?)

This year the meetings take place in Bogotá (Colombia). Our host here, Colombia’s standards organization ICONTEC has gone to tremendous lengths to make our stay here as pleasant and safe as possible. We feel completely welcome and pampered. If there would be one complaint than it is that it is simplemente freezing here at these high altitutes.
But we will not have much time to notice the cold anyway since we are all working like maniacs on the various new standards or those under revision. discussion after discussion and consensus-finding in order to produce standards that are useful to user groups as diverse as anything: culturally, linguistically and by professional background.

Users of standards concerning principles and methods of terminology span the entire range of communication, globalization etc. And everyody who has a stake in these standards or special expertise in a related subject field is welcome to join. Of course it is not quite that everybody could just show up. Work is delegated via national standards institutes. So if you would be interested in – say – getting involved in developing an ISO standard on the principles of style guides (no joke – this is actually a real example as this might become a new project to be taken up soon), you would have to contact your national standards organization (e.g. DIN in Germany, SABS in South Africa, BSI in the UK or ICONTEC in Colombia). They can delegate you to participate. This is the easiest if the standards body is already member of ISO/TC 37 and have an active national mirror committee.

Anyway, they will be able to tell you and help you. And if not, there might be other ways and maybe ISO/TC 37 secretariat can assist.

Have a look at Wikipedia to learn more about ISO/TC 37 and the standards the committee develops: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISO/TC_37

So if you have no other plans in August or want to escape the holiday frenzy – or have a genuine interest in standardization work:  Welcome!

We’ll report from here in the course of the week via Twitter (twitter.com/termnet) or here in the Blog.

Any questions? Comments? Bring them on!

Innovative e-learning: content development of terminology management modules for the automotive industries:

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The ELCAT project  (go to the e-learning programme)

(by Debora Russi, Cologne University of Appl. Sciences)

This project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, aims at developing an e-learning course which offers a user-friendly and sound introduction to basic principles and methods of terminology management.

Since terminology, especially in innovative enterprises, increases ever rapidly due to faster and more complex development cycles as well as growing multilingual markets, its proper and efficient treatment requires increased attention and with it a basic knowledge about the particular terminological principles.

The consistent use of terminology within an enterprise also warrants compliance with quality management principles and is a precondition for cost and labour efficient knowledge management and localization processes.

As terminology creation takes place during all product development cycles it is essential to raise awareness and provide basic knowledge about handling this terminology to all involved subject-field experts and other stakeholders.

The addressed target group will include management, sales and marketing, standardization, product development, technical documentation, terminologists, translators, language service providers, corporate communications.

The course is prepared in cooperation with members from the automotive and IT industry and will be offered in German and English. The resulting e-learning platform is envisaged to provide company employees an effective training opportunity that can be integrated as a qualification module into the normal every-day working processes. Students of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences can use these modules in the course of master’s level classes. After a successful implementation of the project an extension is planned towards further scientific and technical subject-fields.

Depending on further project agreements a future commercial or non-commercial exploitation and marketing for other economic branches and companies as well as institutes of higher education is also envisaged. The project started in July 2008 and will end December 2010.

ELCAT is carried out by Cologne University of Applied Sciences. Project manager is Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dirk Schmitz and project partners include Audi Academy, Volkswagen AG, 2W Technische Informations GmbH, TermNet, SDL Trados, acrolinx, IAI (Institute of the Society for the Promotion of Applied Information Sciences at the Saarland University), University of Vienna, University of Florida, Macquarie University (Sydney).

Want to know more? Please contact Debora Russi (Debora.Russi@fh-koeln.de)

ELCAT online: www.elcat.info

A few thoughts on terminology planning


Terminology planning for many years has been regarded part and parcel of language planning, in particular the area dealing with corpus planning and lexical expansion. More recently, with the emergence of fast-paced globalization and the rapid development of modern information and communication technology, and its impact on global, multilingual communication and knowledge transfer, the role of terminology has been reassessed by many scientists as well as communities of use, such as industry and service providers, language planning institutes, etc.


A number of arguments speak in favour of regarding terminology policies as separate entities. For one, terminology is increasingly regarded as a strategic and central element for communication and knowledge transfer processes that requires regulation.


Furthermore, terminology does not only affect linguistic affairs. Rather, it may be an important issue in education, economic development, information and communication, and other sectors of a nation. In some of these sectors a national language policy may not, or only partly, valid. And even if we continue to regard terminology planning as part of language planning, we may argue that the complexity and interconnectedness of terminology matters with others justifies a separate treatment.


An article by Galinski, Budin and de V Cluver, titled Terminologieplanung und Sprachplanung, and published in Hoffmann, L.; Kalverkämper, H; Wiegand, H.E. (eds.) Fachsprachen/Languages for Special Purposes (1999) elaborates on differences and overlapping areas between the two. It is published in German language, but in the UNESCO Guidelines for Terminology Policies (http://portal.unesco.org/ci/en/ev.php-URL_ID=20896&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION=201.html) a synapsis of the paper is available in English and French.


Terminology planning, while still being a major constituting element in language planning processes, is now regarded from many different angles beyond linguistics, too. With the number of stakeholders growing in the different communities of use, so does the variety of requirements for the development and management of terminologies. Which these are, always reflects their pragmatic environment, the real situation with all its features. Terminology policies therefore must be designed to fit perfectly into this environment, yet be adaptable to change, when the environment changes. Some studies exist with regard to terminology planning.

Most notable the study by Bassey Antia “Terminology and language planning”, which, in an example from language planning from his home country Nigeria describes and examines principles, methods and workflows for terminology creation and standardization in language planning. The institutional situation and frame is of utmost importance for an efficient (i.e. under best-possible deployment of infrastructure, human and financial resources), and effective work (i.e. sustainable, with measurable results that have a real perceived impact on a defined target group).

Such frame conditions only in very rare cases are given and guaranteed long-term by a funding and supporting body, e.g. a government. Therefore, it falls under the tasks of the terminology planner or planning organization to create, or to sustain them and thus enable the expert work of terminology planning, management and standardization over as long a time as necessary.

To achieve this goal, a policy is needed, in the meaning of an officially approved systematic plan and recorded regulation with regard to the creation, management or handling of terminology in an organization or language community. Infoterm’s research and expertise concerns the pragmatic environment in which terminology planning takes place.


There are a number of studies by Infoterm on the policy-making process on their Website and in Wikipedia. And Infoterm also compiled the UNESCO Guidelines for Terminology Policies. In 2006 a standardization project was initiated under the International Organization for Standardization to develop a methodology standard based on the Guidelines, but including also the interest of professional organizations. If you are interested in terminology planning and minority languages you might want to read the Proceedings of the Special Seminar on Terminology Policies and Minority Languages, organized by the European Association for Terminology in Dublin in 2007.

The proceedings are available at TermNet Publisher or contact termnetpublisher@termnet.org.

Infoterm Website: http://www.infoterm.info/activities/terminology_policies.php

Article on Terminology Policies (in German): eDITion, magazine of the Association for German Terminology (DTT)