Home

One more week until TSS 2010

Leave a comment

International Terminology Summer School 2010

Phones ringing, e-mails coming in and going out in an endless stream, last questions answered, last documents prepared and last problems solved – it is just about a week to go before the kick-off of this year’s International Terminology Summer School and the final preparation phase is in full swing. But all is going smoothly and so at the same time we are looking forward to a great event which is a little bit different from those of the last years.

First of all, our Summer School is a Spring School, really. Both the time of the year and the weather in Europe can’t suggest anything else. But it did not keep many the terminologists from attending. Unfortunately we even had to close our doors early in order to keep the number of attendants managable. Still, we will be a large and merry group.

Secondly, TermNet and other project managers responsible for the EQCA Certified Terminology Manager worked like crazy to launch this new and exciting certification during TSS 2010. And TSS 2010 in turn has offered a special deal for all its participants who want to spice up their attendance with a water proof and Europe-wide acknoledged certificate. A small admin fee for the certification body aside the exam will be free of charge.

But “the CTM”, as we affectionately call it by now, is open – and affordable for everybody! Test it and do the Self-Assessment (completely free of charge, of course):

ECQA Certified Terminology Manager Self-Assessment: http://www.ecqa.org/index.php?id=23 (simply sign up and the chose Certified Terminology Manager from the list)

Right after TSS 2010 there will be a series of free workshops organized at the United Nations in Vienna called Diversity and Global Understanding and there was an announcement in this Blog before (check entry). Registration is still possible during next week – go ahead and sign up, it is a great programme. But again, participation is limited. And after that we will all be at the ACUNS Annual Meeting. ACUNS is the Academic Council on the United Nations System and this year’s meeting will be in Vienna – and as new ACUNS members we will not only be there, but also organize a roundtable on Diversity Management, Terminology and the UN. We’ve heard that close to a thousand participants will attend in total and the events will take place at the UN in Vienna, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the University of Vienna. The programme and keynote speakers are first-class at any rate and I, personally, look very much forward to it.

Of course we will (well, nearly :-)) liveblog from TSS to keep you up to date and create a platform for discussion of topics!

Advertisements

The future of (terminology) standards is here

Leave a comment

The ISO Concept Database (ISO CDB) is now publicly available: http://cdb.iso.org, click “log in as guest” (for the time being). In the CDB you can search for terms and definitions in a large number of (most?) ISO Standards. Under “Codes” 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.

Organizing terminological data with the help of data categories

1 Comment

image4501Terminological data are organized according to standardized data categories, which have been defined in various standards. They will in the future be available at http://www.isocat.org, which complies with the future ISO standard, ISO 12620:2009. Anyone can view data categories in this environment or register as an expert and actually create, select and save data categories or Data Category Selections. The current collection of terminological data categories is also available at: http://www.ttt.org/clsframe/.

Collaborative terminology management in language planning and for corporate purposes

Leave a comment

We are discussing this morning the problem a South African participant brought up. South Africa has 11 official languages and terminology projects for language planning are undertaken by a variety of organizations, governmental, private or academic. What can one do to make sure that terminology data stored in databases of various sorts and degree of sophistication can be coordinated, maybe linked, etc. There are costly and efficient tools on the market that have their advantages and disadvantages. They are mostly easy-to use by a large number of terminologists who may be working from different locations thanks to web accessibility. They also “guide” the person who makes the entry how to proceed. On the downside of it they are often very costly. But there are also solutions that do not require a lot of money – just some knowhow of data modelling and strict consistency of how data are entered and managed. Excel is such and example and data managed this way can be quite easily imported into existing other systems.
wikis are strong in the field of collaborative work, dissemination and discussion of terminology. However, they are weak when it comes to structuring data entries. Some companies in Germany, for instance are already using a combination of Excel and wikis for their terminology work.

What to do when you have to create a glossary

1 Comment

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…