Community interpreting, project management tools soon certified


Some information by the Language Industry Certification System:

Until recently the Language Industry Certification System (LICS) has been known around the world mostly for being the first to have developed a certification scheme for the EN 15038. But this is not the only champion LICS has in store. More certification products for the language industry have been developed and will enter the market in short time. Among them are the certification of Community Interpreting Service Providers (based on the Canadian National Standard Guide for Community Interpreting Services, published by the Healthcare Interpretation Network (HIN), Project Management Tools for translators, and the LICS Translation Text Quality Certification (based on the metrics used in the industry standard for the automotive industry SAE-J2450).
More information: www.lics-certification.org.

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.

India on its way to a modern, multilingual knowledge society


The Indian government has initiated something that could turn out to be one of the most pioneering projects towards the establishing of the famed knowledge society. Highly multilingual and diverse societies like India have long relied on English as the medium of choice to disseminate knowledge to her people. At the same time it has recognized the fact that a large part of the people do not have sufficient proficiency in that language to make the best possible use of the information transmitted to them in that language. India’s Prime Minister therefore set the stake by demanding to make knowledge, especially in critical areas, available to every citizen – for the sake of nothing less than an educated and informed multilingual society through all levels.


The Prime Minister’s speech was starting point for the National Translation Mission (NTM in short): http://www.ntm.org.in

The initiative is located at the Central Institute of Indian Languages (CIIL) in Mysore from where it operates. NTM experts cooperate with various governmental, non-governmental and academic institutions, media houses, publishers and other companies.

Terminology planning, management and standardization are major aspects for the overall success of the mission.

Who will benefit? Well, according to the initiative’s Website all those who have otherwise little access to the knowledge, liker rural and students of weaker sections, teachers of various subject fields, NGOs, volunteers in non-formal education, government and private agencies, media producers and journalists, translators and interpreters, etc.

And hopefully the international professional community from the expertise, products and services by NTM for the Indian languages.

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.

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 ‚Äď a bird thought to have been long extinct ‚Äď has been found living in Tasmania by scientists.

However, the story is not as straightforward as it seems, reports National Geographic. A ‚Äėmasked‚Äô 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 ‚Äď the leader of the study which made the discovery ‚Äď told the magazine: “Imagine my surprise when we found that they were identical. It‚Äôs 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 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!

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.

Language industry standards

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From XML via language codes and ontologies to terminology exchange formats – standards play a fundamental (if sometimes little-noted) role in the language industry. Yet, some knowledge about standards is essential for every translator, localization expert, project manager or other expert in the language industry.

But where to start with? The sheer number of different standards-developing organizations and the confusing variety of existing standards scares off many and makes it hard to get an overview.

The Language Technologies Research Center in Canada has published a report on language standards and guidelines as well as the organizations which develop them. Although written in 2007 its information is still valid and a helpful reading for everybody who wants to learn more about existing standards.


Author Kara Warburton is a terminology expert and herself active in standardization for many years.


From Terminologies to Ontologies

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A very comprehensive reader on knowledge organization, terminologies, ontologies by Gerhard Budin of Vienna University as it was held yesterday at TSS 2009 has been uploaded on the TermNet Website for information and discussion.

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