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What to do when you have to create a glossary

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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…

Skills for terminology managers discussed

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The “skills” focus group at the International Terminology Summer School identified essential skills each and every terminology manager should possess. This is what they say:

* The skills we need and might need as a terminologist and/or translator depend on many things we have to analyze and define before adding many different skills to a job profile of a terminologist or translator.

Thus, we have to:
a) check if there are standards available, where the state of the art is defined already (such as EN 15038 for translators or ISO/TC 37 standards for terminologists),

b) analyze the specific context where specific skills are needed (e.g.: terminology skills can be split from management skills within a bigger organization where managers are available to discuss and perform terminology projects with terminologists)

c) make sure that the basic theoretical and methodological skills are learned and remembered, e.g. within day 1 of the International Terminology Summer School or the 1st skill unit “Understanding Terminology Management” of the future EU-Cert Terminology Manager (http://www.ecqa.org/index.php?id=52)

* Standards are important for terminology and translation work

* Golden project management triangle is a prerequisite for management skills:
time, resources (financial and human) and quality are crucial for all kind of projects – included terminology and translation projects

* students can get confused easily (when listening to Gabriele Sauberer 😉

* brains of managers might – and often do – work differently from brains of “language people”, such as translators, terminologists, etc.

* we need also skills for managing, “selling” and teaching terminology, i.e. management and marketing skills, along with pedagogical skills

Waiting, waiting.

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We are in stand-by mode for TSS 2009. Everything is prepared and ready and now we are waiting for the opening bell. Checking e-mails every few minutes in case somebody needs last-minute support.

This year’s TSS is global and virtual

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One more week togo before TSS 2009 starts. Preparations are all going well and we are actually ready (one week early – even though none of us is really German :-)). Over the last days we received many e-mails from people from Iran to South Africa, who, for one reason or the other, are not able to participate (illness, time constraints, not getting visa in time, budget restrictions). They all sent us and the participants their greetings and wishes for success. Most will follow our postings on Twitter or this Blog. We invite everybody to post their questions or suggestions. If possible we will try to catch up on them during the course and so include the virtual community as well.
Keep in touch!

Discussion threads for International Terminology Summer School revealed

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These are the 3 main discussion threads that will be discussed and debated during TSS 2009:

1. Tools:
Which CAT tools are good for whom?
What are the best approaches to create a database that follows best practices and is tailored to individual needs?
How can technology make your work-life as easy as possible?
This group can also make use of the computer lab for demonstrations.

2. Skills:
What kind of skills are required of a terminologist?
How do we identify these skills, use and enhance them?
How can one qualify as a terminologist and promote a career in the field?

3. Glossary
How does one create a terminology database or a glossary?
What approaches and tools can be used to analyze corpora and to identify and select “good” terms?
What are the criteria for writing useful and correct definitions or collecting meaningful contexts?
What kinds of organizational approaches do you need to consider in your daily work?
We will follow-up these topics in this blog and hope for many comments. You may also send us questions which we may discuss in the groups.

International Terminology Summer School 2009

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We at TermNet and the Cologne University of Applied Sciences are in the final preparations for this year’s TSS (Terminology Summer School). After five years of steeply rising participant numbers we had expected the global economic crisis to slow down participation (we always still expect terminology to be the first item to be cut on the budget list, don’t we?). It is difficult to judge if it actually did, but even if so, with 58 participants we find that many companies and organizations know that an investment in capacity building in terminology management is worth it even in times of recession. Very good! We see this as a positive sign that the importance of communication, information and knowledge. And we will not complain, because it it also tells us as the organizers a thing or two :-). This year will be extra intense as there is a parallel course on terminology and intercultural dialogue organized by a joint project of universities in Turkey, Romania, Austria and Germany (we are involved, of course). And in this course a group of 25 students will also discuss issues that are highly exciting. I will try to report regularly before and then every day during the course about what is happening in Cologne in the week from 6-10 July. It is going to be intense but good!

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