Summaries 1/1997

  • Mitä TSK sanoo hyvistä ja huonoista termeistä ja milloin? / Olli Nykänen

  • Semihemidemisemiquaver – nuottiarvojen ja taukojen minisanasto / Lari Kauppinen

  • Eurodicautomissa on jo kohtalaisen paljon suomea

  • Tulityöt turvallisiksi – minisanasto tulitöistä / Heli Keijonen

  • Multimediasanastoa tekemään

  • Telepalvelusanasto on valmis / Katri Seppälä

  • Termipalvelusta poimittua

  • Uusittuja sanastostandardeja sähkö- ja teletekniikasta

    What does TSK say about good and bad terminology?

    People seem to have one of two reactions to recommendations given by various authorities on the use of words and terms. Some people are in favour of active language planning, as it makes language usage regulated and results in clearer communication. Others, however, openly despise any language planning – even if there is a need for it.

    TSK participates in language planning primarily in connection with special field terminology. One of the main principles of TSK is that we do not try to dictate which terminology should be used in a particular subject field, rather, our aim is to co-operate with the specialists of the various subject fields.

    Some people may think that the main task of TSK is to invent Finnish equivalents for new foreign terms. This is not, however, the case. New terms and concepts are usually coined by the specialists of the field. At first, they may even use the foreign term for a while. If the concept gains wider attention, a term that better suits the Finnish language is likely to be introduced. There are many ways to make new terms, ranging from compounding to derivation.

    TSK tackles the problems of terminology selection on many fronts: we participate in terminology projects, comment on drafts prepared by others, provide a phone-in term service, and publish Terminfo. The most carefully prepared recommendations come in connection with terminology projects in which TSK participates. In cases where TSK comments on drafts prepared by other groups, our comments cannot be very thorough. If you want to get your drafts thoroughly inspected, please contact TSK to make a contract so that we can reserve enough resources for the job.

    A good term must be transparent, consistent, practical, brief, productive, easy to pronounce and spell, and unambiguous. It should also be otherwise linguistically suitable and preferably based on your own language. To tell the truth, only few terms satisfy all the requirements stated above, and the priorities are fairly difficult to define.

    There are times when it is felt that an existing term should be replaced. If the term is well established, it is very difficult to replace and, in general, replacement should not be attempted. If, however, a term is replaced, it is essential that the most important user groups and opinion leaders approve of and support the change.

    Mini-vocabulary of notes and rests

    In a British musical publication you may come across the following compound semihemidemisemiquaver. You just have to divide a quaver (an eighth note) four times by two (hemi-, semi-, and demi- all stand for a half) to see that it actually refers to the note which in American English is given as a one hundred and twenty eighth note. This and another twenty musical concepts are dealt with in this vocabulary. The terms are given in Finnish, British and American English, German, French, Italian, Spanish and Russian.

    Finnish terminology in Eurodicautom

    During the past few years, TSK has been working hard to add Finnish terminology into Eurodicautom, the termbank of the European Commission (cf. Terminfo 1/95, 6/95, 1/96 and 2/96). By November 1996, TSK had delivered around 80,000 term records to the Commission. Another lot of 20,000 records is due at around the same time as this issue of Terminfo is published. The total number of Finnish terms supplied to Eurodicautom exceeds 100,000 records, as there are also other organisations involved.

    Much remains to be done, however, before all users of Eurodicautom can have equal service, as the termbank contains around 700 000 term records.

    Mini-vocabulary of hot work operations

    Hot work operations must be carried out at many work sites, even though these are not included in the job description. We are then dealing with a temporary hot work site if, for example, old paint is removed from the wall with the help of a hot air blower. The personnel carrying out hot work operations must have both theoretical knowledge of the dangers involved and practical skills to prevent them.

    According to safety instructions prepared by insurance companies, hot work operations on a temporary hot work site are only permitted for a person who has taken a hot work operations safety examination and who has been given a hot work permit for the particular job. A few terms related to hot work operations are given in this vocabulary in Finnish, English and Swedish together with Finnish definitions.

    Let's prepare a vocabulary of multimedia terminology

    The word multimedia is used in many areas and ways without clearly specifying what it really is meant to refer to. There seems to be no consensus as to what multimedia is and whether this loan word should be used in Finnish at all.

    Terminology group of the Finnish Telecommunications Administration Centre (TAC) has considered it important to prepare a vocabulary of the field. Preliminary drafts suggest a basic vocabulary of 50–100 terms with definitions. Languages used should include Finnish and English.

    Vocabulary of telecommunications services completed

    Vocabulary of telecommunications services, which has been under preparation at TSK for about a year now, is completed, and it will be published by Finnet Group. This vocabulary supplements the Vocabulary of telecommunications (TSK 18) which was published in 1991.

    The vocabulary of telecommunications services contains about 160 terms and definitions in Finnish with term equivalents in Swedish, English, German, French and Estonian. In addition to defined concepts, the same number of commercial names and organisations are included.

    The vocabulary will be available soon from Finnet Group (tel. + 358 9 228 111, fax. + 358 9 605 531) later this spring. Its price will be about FIM 60–80.

    Term service

    The Finnish equivalent for the English validation depends on the context. The loan word validointi is in wide use especially in scientific texts; in quality standards, however, the term kelpuutus is used. Other equivalents also exist.

    Abbreviations and acronyms enquired about recently include DC (developed country), LDC (less developed country), CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States), and CEO (Chief Executive Officer). TN-S-system refers to the earthing system approved by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

    Standards updated

    The Finnish Electrotechnical Standards Association (SESKO) has prepared a considerable number of Finnish vocabularies based on the IEC standards. The latest vocabularies include Electrical installations of buildings, Acoustics and electroacoustics and Dependability and quality of service. Space radiocommunications and Electric cables vocabularies will appear soon. In addition to Finnish terms, these national standards give the IEC terms in the original 8–9 languages and definitions in four languages.

    The Finnish Telecommunications Administration Centre (TAC) has revised three Finnish vocabularies on modern telecommunications technology (Pulse code modulation, Vocabulary of terms for ISDN and Vocabulary of terms for broadband aspects of ISDN). These are based on the recommendations of ITU-T. In addition to Finnish terms, these SFS-standards include the terms in English, French and Spanish together with definitions in English. New terms have been added into each of these vocabularies, and some of the terms and definitions have been changed.

    The standards are available from the Finnish Standards Association, SFS (tel. + 358 9 149 9331, fax. + 358 9 146 4914, e-mail A list of standards published by SFS is also available at the following Internet address: