How certification can save your party


Finally something – at family reunions for example – to impress even those who could never really hide their puzzled (or plainly blank) look whenever talk concerned what I do for a living. Admittedly, “working in the language field” sounds hopelessly vague, but I never succeeded to put it into shorter, more self-explanatory words. As hard as I tried! And for a long narrative there was simply never the excitement for people hold their attention long enough. To be honest, I suspect some of my friends and relatives still do not even consider what I do a real profession at all.

All my fellow “language professionals” will know what I am talking about.

But now my little problem is at least partly solved as I am currently being trained to become an auditor for certification of translation service providers (translation companies or one-man/woman-shows). Quality management – yeah, that’s something they finally grasp at the parties*. That is in itself surprising, if one considers that ISO 9000 series is not very old either. I will be an auditor for EN 15038 which regulates quality management for translation service providers (TSPs). It is based on the ISO 9000 idea and principle but addresses TSPs only by being quite specific about how a quality TSP shall operate.

I congratulate myself on my decision to do the auditors’ training. Besides finally having a “tangible” profession there is another big advantage in being an auditor: it’s a growing market of TSPs who get certified (and re-certified after a while), the number of auditors is still not overwhelming and so it promises some good business for me.

The training itself is not very complicated: two days theory, one day of pratice and the rest is a little more real-life audit observation. Finally a supervised audit that I still have ahead of me. And that’s all!

I can hardly wait for my training to be over so I can finally go to work.

More on training dates and locations in 2010, prices and programme:


Next trainings will be in January (Berlin), February (Antwerp) and April (Bonn).

* at least people are more convincing now that they know what I am talking about ūüėČ

The future of (terminology) standards is here

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The ISO Concept Database (ISO CDB) is now publicly available: http://cdb.iso.org, click ‚Äúlog in as guest‚ÄĚ (for the time being). In the CDB you can search for terms and definitions in a large number of (most?) ISO Standards. Under ‚ÄúCodes‚ÄĚ you can also search for language identifiers from ISO 639, parts 1, 2, 3, and 5.

It took ISO (and a handful of external database experts) years to conceptualize, plan and implement a database that will include not only terms from all its standards, but also graphic representations, codes, etc.


All the careful planning was done for a good reason: The ISO Concept Database (or short CDB for the initiated :-)) is a major step towards a revolution in the standardization business. Despite the deveopments in the information and communication sector, standards continue to be produced en mass – and more or less in the same old-fashioned analogous way as they have been ever since the foundation of ISO. With an ever increasing number of Technical Committees and domains that require standardization and the diversification of experts who work on these standards this means primarily one thing: reduplication and overlapping of efforts, and what’s worst – contradicting standards due to a lack of harmonization, collaboration and information about what already exists and may even have been standardized by some other committee years ago.


This is an in-efficiency that nobody can afford – and that ISO is going to tackle by introducing¬† “Standards as databases”. Unlike the traditional, paper- (or at least file-)based standards, the future will coordinate the complex universe of international standards development by introducing a work method and environment that is more up-to-date with the possibilities that are offered by the technical development. However, to develop this for an organization like ISO, that has such a huge number of standards, documents and others to handle, a workforce of largely volunteering experts from companies, institutes and organizations worldwide who do the actual standard development PLUS all the legal implications that brings along means that it is no easy task. But once completed it will be a revolution that will affect us all, because it will make standards easier to be implemented and more streamlined. Another quantum leap towards a globalized world in which really all small components can work together. Or maybe I am a bit over-enthusiastic here. However, I hope you follow me about the immense potential this brings along.

But coming back to ISO CDB: This database is just one piece in the larger picture, but a very important one. Somebody once wrote somewhere: “you can not standardize if you do not all talk about the same and have the same understanding about the issue at hand”, if not first of all the meaning is agreed upon by all stakeholders. And this narrows it down again to terminology – our favourite subject.

ISO/CDB is now public and online. Everybody can log-in as a guest and test it on its Website http://cdb.iso.org, search for terms and definitions of nearly all ISO standards published. Of course, as with all innovations, there will be things that need improvement. But the most important step has been done. It is finally there.

Terminology country report: Turkey


If you had asked me about terminology in Turkey one year back, I would probably have answered that there is not much going on in this country. It’s true, we have the occasional (however, I¬†must say,¬†very interested) participants at TSS. But else there was not much information coming out of the country that reached me.

But that was before I encountered TermTurk project (www.termturk.net). This project, sponsored by the EU-Turkey Dialog programme, is an eye-opener for me.TermTurk, TSS 2009

What’s it all about? Actually, it is meant as a beginning. A group of people got together to kick-start what they perceived as long overdue – the development of an elaborate and active terminology infrastructure in Turkey.

Surprisingly, there has not been much institutionalised research on terminology. Nor is there something like an information centre where interested groups or individuals can find what they need to know about it. It is surprising, because there is such a strong patronage: Kemal Mustafa Atat√ľrk himself wrote a brochure to introduce Turkish geometry terminology. Atat√ľrk, as we know was very dedicated to language planning in order to promote and facilitate nation-building processes in the new republic. Terminology is even explicitly mentioned in the country’s famous AnńĪtkabir – his mausoleum and museum in Ankara (something that my colleagues and I still marvel about because it such a pleasant feeling to see terminology being rewarded such public recognition).

So finally, TermTurk should achieve what is still lacking: an information and research centre at Hacettepe University in Ankara, closer ties with internation organizations and activities (e.g. in standardization and reserach), a national terminology policy, and networking, networking, networking of the many different and often isolated initiatives within Turkey.

And TermTurk is doing well in achieving these goals: Turkish standards institute is now actively participating in ISO/TC 37  standardization projects, a series of well-attended trainings, conferences and workshops foster dialogue and knowledge transfer, quality assurance and service certification (LICS) take root, training material is obtained, translated and produced at high speed.

TermTurk as a project will come to an end in November 2009. But the continuation of the achievements is already planned and prepared.

There is much to be expected from Turkey in the next years. And I, for my part, am quite proud to be at the core of the action from the very beginning.

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 ūüôā ?)

This year the meetings take place in Bogot√° (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 Рor 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

How terminology standards are made (Part 1)

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We have written about standards before and will keep doing so as they are really an important issue for the terminologist.

ISO/TC 37 Bogota


From 8-14 August experts from the industry who are committed to bring in their knowledge (or interests) in the development of standards within the framework of ISO/TC 37 meet again. This meeting is traditionally scheduled in August in a different location, i.e. hosted by a national standards organization.

This year the meeting week will take place in Bogot√°, Colombia, hosted by ICONTEC. The week will consist, as usual, of project meetings (to bring the standards in development a bit further towards publication), plenary meetings (in which important general and strategic decisions are taken), advisory groups meetings (to prepare these decisions through debate), and a number of side events, excursions, networking, partying (just a little – these are long days of work!).

We will be there and we will bring you there through the reports in this Blog. And maybe you find that you would like to become involved in this work as well … which would be great, indeed!

The official Website of the meetings.

On Friday, 15 August a Conference will take place which is open to everybody who is interested, and where Colombian and South American language industry members meet to discuss standards, how they benefit their work and how to bacome more active. If you are in the area, please join. Registration is required, though:  tc37meeting /at\ la.icontec.org.



Excerpt from the meeting Website:

Welcome to the official website of the Annual Meeting of ISO/TC 37 Terminology and other Language and Content Resources ICONTEC, the Colombian Institute of Technical Standardization and Certification, is the host of Annual Meeting of ISO/TC 37, and invites you to join the meeting to be held in Bogot√° from August 8 to 14th, 2009 The mission of TC 37 is to provide standards and guidelines to standardization experts, language professionals in all institutions and organizations creating and handling terminologies and other language and content resources (including ISO, other international standards developing organizations, national standards bodies, national government services, companies, non-governmental organizations, etc.) in order to enable them to prepare high-quality language resources and tools for a wide variety of applications in professional and scholarly information and communication, education, industry, trade, etc. In this web site you will find the whole information to the meeting and information on the hotels and other facilities that Bogot√° and Colombia offer to travelers.

Terminological Humor #2


…this one was sent by Debora Russi, who is a localization expert ūüôā

computer terminologySource: http://www.ahajokes.com/cartoon/dummy.gif

Terminological Humor

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(Cartoon will be online again soon)

Who says that terminology is not funny? Thanks to Sue Ellen for sharing this with us.

Globalization and Social Responsibility

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Gabriele Sauberer, CEO of TermNet, will talk about the consequenses of the ISO 26000 on our profession at the LISA Forum in Berkeley in August

Globalization and Social Responsibility: The Future ISO 26000 Standard and Its Impact on Linguistic and Cultural Diversity

The future ISO 26000 standard will provide guidance on social responsibility. It is one of the most challenging and import activities to reach a broader consensus on social responsibility beyond local and regional cultures, values, and legal frameworks. The presentation will focus on the impact of ISO 26000 on global business and the management of linguistic and cultural diversity.

LISA Globalization Conference Website

FAO terminology

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I found this an interesting example of terminology at FAO:

“Normal” production: “Normal” production of cereals is defined as that level of production which would be harvested in the current year assuming no abnormal climatic conditions and no reductions in area planted or supply of inputs caused by civil disorders or other man-made causes. A substantial deviation of current production from “normal” is one of the main signals used to indicate the need for exceptional food assistance.
Two main methods have been utilized in this report to estimate the level of “normal” production for the current year. One is based on the calculation of linear trends of production for each cereal for the previous ten years. For countries where no statistically significant trends could be established, the level of “normal” production has been established on the basis of the average for a recent period of years when growing conditions were normal.

“Normal” imports: “Normal” imports of cereals are defined as those quantities needed to meet domestic requirements in a year of “normal” production, including both commercial imports and food aid. grains
For countries which are self-sufficient in domestically grown cereals in a normal year the estimate of “normal” cereal imports for those cereals not produced domestically (mainly wheat and rice) has been calculated on the basis of trends which have been fitted to historical import data for these cereals. In general these imports have grown in line with increases in urban population numbers. For other countries, an average of imports during recent “normal” production years, brought forward by applying a trend factor, has been used. If the sum of anticipated commercial imports and structural food aid in the current year falls below estimated “normal” imports because of balance of payments difficulties, the country is considered to need exceptional food assistance.

“Utilization”: All elements of utilization for wheat and coarse grains are expressed in grain equivalent. For rice, all elements are expressed in milled form. Non-food use includes post-harvest losses, seed use, feed use, industrial use for all cereals.

“Unfavourable Crop Prospects”: Refer to prospects of a shortfall in production of current crops as a result of a reduction of the area planted and/or adverse weather conditions, plant pests, diseases and other calamities which indicate a need for close monitoring of the crops for the remainder of the growing season.

“Shortfalls in Food Supplies Requiring Exceptional External Assistance”: Refer to an exceptional shortfall in aggregate supplies or a localized deficit as a result of crop failures, natural disasters, interruption of imports, disruption of distribution, excessive post-harvest losses, other supply bottlenecks and/or an increased demand for food arising from population movements within the country or an influx of refugees. In the case of an exceptional shortfall in aggregate food supplies, exceptional and/or emergency food aid may be required to cover all or part of the deficit.

“Local and/or Exportable Surpluses Requiring External Assistance”:
Refers to a situation of an exceptional surplus existing in a particular area of a country which needs to be transported to deficit areas in the same country or the neighbouring countries for which purpose external assistance is required.

“Low-income food deficit countries” (LIFDCs): Includes all food deficit countries with per caput income below the level used by the World Bank to determine eligibility for IDA assistance (i.e. U.S.$ 1 395 in 1994), which in accordance with guidelines and criteria agreed to by the CFA should be given priority in the allocation of food aid.
The designations employed and the presentation of material in this bulletin do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal or constitutional status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

What would we understand and what would we know without terminology?



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