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How the state of the world economy impacts our professions

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Something we discussed last week with a few experts in “language-related professions” was about what the future will bring for us terminologists, translators, localizers, technical writers, etc. There is some indication that our field has not been hit as hard as others. Participation at our TSS 2009 training was nearly unaffected, for example. We also learned from Frieda Steurs during her presentations that the industry is growing.

But is this all that is to say? I mean, have we really weathered the economic crisis unharmed? Is it because what an expert said because in times of crisis companies concentrate particularly on the strategic improvement of quality and internal processes? More importantly, would they invest in this in times when cost-cutting is the word of the day?

Or may it be that recession is yet to hit us as – it is predicted to do with so many other industries – with a certain time lag?

I would be curious what you think about it. Your comments please!

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It’s over – but not over yet!

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TSS 2009 has closed doors for this year today. We think that it was just great! We wish all the participants a good trip back home. Nevertheless, we will all keep in touch. Here’s again our invitation to you all to join in the various discussions in this blog. Post your questions, feedback, suggestions for new topics etc.
Remember: you are TSS!

Copyright for the terminologist

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Most translators and terminologists are at onepoint or another in their career concerned with the problem of copyright. It is therefore useful to know some basics on intellectual property. The International Information Centre for Terminology (INFOTERM) has published a small booklet on this issue which is available in English and German via TermNet Publisher: Guidelines for Terminology Agreements

Here are a few tipps Sue Ellen Wright presented during TSS 2009. They should give you some idea. However, if you plan some bigger project it is advisable to consult a legal adviser in your country.

  • Fair use and your termbase
    • Purpose and character: For educational or scholarly purposes
    • Nature of the copyrighted work: Creative work or informational?
    • Amount and substantiality: Minimal excerpts with citations
    • Effect on potential market for protected work: Basically non-commercial
    • Problems arise if you want to market or share your resources
  • Copyrightabilty of Terminology According to Data Category
  • Not covered:
    • Terms and symbols never covered
    • Definitions and descriptive texts
    • US: usable under fair use   practice
    • But “fair use” disappears under the European law
  • Possibly covered:
    • Compilation component & linkages
    • Database component under sui generis provisions
    • Content not covered
  • Data type concerns:
    • Photos and drawings or parts thereof definitely are covered
    • Some types of formulas are covered

View the full PRESENTATION on the TermNet Website

Organizing terminological data with the help of data categories

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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/.

Economic issues for terminology

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Knowledge is the wealth of any company. This why it is so important to manage the representations of all the concepts that consitue this knowledge. Terminology management, therefore, is an important economic factor. Terminologists are aware of this, of course. But they have to argue again and again with their managers, superiors or other decision makers, who may not (yet) understand why an investment in terminology management is an investment on quality, cost saving and improved overall performance.

We are discussing economic aspects of terminology at TSS 2009 in a presentation by Frieda Steurs, which is spiked with many real-life examples from business and industry.

This is essential knowledge for every good terminology managers. It will help to defend their position and improve their visibility within organizations.

Go to PRESENTATION for the arguments. Have more arguments? Your colleagues all over the world will be grateful for you sharing them here!

Technical writing and terminology

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Technical documentation is an important issue for terminologists and translators alike. For the latter it matters because if the source text they receive for translation is bad it makes their work problematic. In the best case it will mean that the translator has to get on the phone or e-mail to confirm with the writer.  For the customer or company this means both higher translation costs and risk! Especially when there are many translators working on the same project. This is one reason why the market for technical documentation and other language services, has been growing steeply in recent years:

−      20-30% growth each year

−      30 billion Euro turn around world wide

−      EU : 1,1 billion Euro/year on translation costs

−      Loss of markets because of monolingualism

Frieda Steurs of Lessius University College, Antwerp, is our expert on technical documentation and terminology. In her presentation this morning at TSS 2009 she gave much practical advise on content optimization measures such as:

  • Controlled language
  • Terminology standardization

Optimal procedures in technical document creation and translation include

  • Source text control
  • Terminology management (both source text and translation oriented)
  • Translation management
  • Content management
  • Critical analysis of the needs of the user
  • Workflow management

Access Presentation

Some online terminology resources

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If you are looking for reliable terms and definitions for subject fileds as varied as musical styles, weird hobbies, legal issues or rare diseases or in other than the “usual” languages covered in the Web (like English, Spanish, French) …here you might find the right link below.

Webterm. Terminology collection in large number of subject fields by the Cologne University of Applied Sciences: http://www.termportal.de

Eurotermbank. Although EuroTermBank is addressed directly towards Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, the project is open to other new EU member states and interested countries and organizations outside EU. It will also enable exchange of terminology data with existing national and EU terminology databases by establishing cooperative relationships, aligning methodologies and standards, designing and implementing data exchange mechanisms and procedures. http://www.eurotermbank.com

IATE: The European Union’s multilingual term bank. Particularly rich in technical and specialized terminology related to European Union policies

http://iate.europa.eu

You know of more valuable sites? We are collecting!

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