Summaries 1/2001

  • Nordterm 2001 / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Seija Suonuuti, sanastotyön asiantuntija yritysmaailmassa / Johanna Suomalainen

  • Sosioterminologia: lyhyt oppimäärä / Teija Pihkala

  • EnDic 2000 – seitsenkielinen ympäristösanakirja / Juha Kajander

  • Projektiuutisia

  • Tuhat ja yksi termiongelmaa – Termipalveluselvitys vuonna 2000 / Johanna Suomalainen

  • Kirjallisuutta

    Nordterm 2001

    Nordic terminological cooperation has long traditions. Nordterm association was founded 25 years ago, and it is a forum for cooperation in terminology research, training and practical terminology work. The Nordterm Assembly meets every two years at a conference and this year the conference will be organized in Tuusula, Finland in 13–16 June. The conference will start with a basic course in terminology. After the course day there will be a two-day symposium with many interesting lectures. The Assembly and Working Groups will meet on Saturday. Nordterm’s 25th anniversary will be celebrated with a banquet on Saturday night. Welcome to Nordterm 2001!

    Seija Suonuuti, expert of terminology work in business world

    Seija Suonuuti, Terminology Manager of Nokia Terminology Services, has extensive experience in TSK’s activities and terminology work in a large international company. Suonuuti took care of accounting, participated in terminology projects and did various office tasks at TSK in the 80’s and in the first half of the 90’s. Since 1995 she has been a member of TSK’s board of directors.

    In Suonuuti’s opinion TSK is above all an expert organization in systematic terminology work. She thinks that TSK’s high-quality vocabularies are always needed. The question is how to get terminology projects and how the results of these projects may be later processed for different target groups. She also emphasizes the importance of PR and client contacts.

    In 1985 Suonuuti was hired as the first terminologist in Nokia. Nokia’s terminology work is based on the following principles: vocabulary is limited to technical terms related to products, the objectives of terminology work are defined and technical staff and engineers participate in the work. According to Suonuuti terminology work has established its position in Nokia as a process that supports other processes. She says, however, that it is not self-evident that terminology work will always be done in Nokia, but she has to evaluate its importance every year.

    Nokia Terminology Services works globally for the whole Nokia Group. The main task of Terminology Services is to maintain Nokia’s internal termbank. The termbank is Nokia’s official term source, and at the moment it contains about 15 000 concepts.

    There are many terminology projects in progress at the same time in Nokia. According to Suonuuti one project usually lasts for 2–6 months and contains 100–200 concepts. The basic vocabulary produced in projects is almost without exception in English, and other languages are included when necessary. Finnish has the status of an equivalent language in Nokia. The special features of Nokia’s terminology work are that it has to be fast and flexible and that terms are very technical.

    The duties of a manager take up almost all Suonuuti’s work time. She says that terminology courses are a welcome change to management. In addition to Nokia’s internal courses Suonuuti occasionally lectures about terminology work done in the business world. In her free time she works as a building manager in the house where she lives. This hobby includes everything from accounting and administration to cleaning out blocked sewers.


    Teija Pihkala writes about socioterminology and how it differs from the traditional terminology theory.

    Socioterminological approach gained ground when terminographers encountered such problems in their work that the dominant theory (based on Eugen Wüster’s ideas) could not solve. Their criticism can be summarized into the following five observations. One: It is impossible to define a "special field", because almost all fields require interdisciplinary know-how. Two: Experts do not form a homogenous group. Science and technology are made up of mixed discourses where a scientist talks to other scientists, but also to engineers, students, lawyers, politicians etc. Three: Polysemy and synonymy are a natural and inevitable part of language, since terminologies and concept systems are connected to history and their creators. Four: Concept systems and definitions are not static. They evolve all the time, because information and theories related to them change. Five: Reality is richer than any language expression.

    According to socioterminologists language is not well suited for standardization, since it is an abstract structure that is in constant change. Language use reflects the users’ knowledge, opinions, social and professional status and power relationships between them. Socioterminologists try to restore social aspects and richness of language to terminology, and they use methods from, for example, sociolinguistics, sociology, cognitive semantics and language policy. In addition to terms, concepts and concept systems terminological research should take into account the people who communicate and communication situations as well as the reception, spreading and reshaping of terminologies. Socioterminology does not try to be an independent discipline under terminology, but its objective is that, besides cognitive aspects, social aspects are also acknowledged and considered in all terminology theory and practice.

    EnDic 2000 – Environmental Dictionary in seven languages

    Juha Kajander writes about EnDic 2000, Environmental Dictionary which is due to be published in March. Professor Aleksander Maastik from Estonia is the editor in chief and Kajander has been mainly responsible for the Swedish material. Other Estonian and Finnish experts also took part in the project.

    EnDic 2000 is based on the Water Pollution Control Dictionary published in 1988. EnDic 2000 is a result of a Finnish–Estonian joint project and contains terms in Finnish, Estonian, English, German, Swedish, Latvian and Russian and taxonomic terms also in Latin. It is obvious that it is a difficult task to keep all these languages consistent with each other. Definitions have helped in this, even though they are written in only three languages: English, Estonian and Finnish. The number of definitions increased during the project. Very often the reason for this was that editors had understood the terms in different ways. EnDic 2000 contains 4615 term records and about 700 pages. About 40% of the terms are supplemented with definitions.

    The development of methods in environmental protection and administration have affected the new dictionary. Five of the seven editors represent the water sector in some way or other and this can probably be seen from the book.

    One of the basic questions was whether taxonomic terms, i.e. designations of animals, plants and other living organisms, should be included. Since all taxonomic material could not be included, it was decided that such species which are an essential part of some environmental problem are relevant, and important indicator species, too.

    A problematic group in an environmental dictionary is made up of terms that are formed with the prefix eco or adjective ecological – either correctly or incorrectly. Ecology is the science that studies relationships between species. If the term containing eco or ecological refers to this science, the usage is correct. But if the purpose is to refer to environmental protection, the term is formed incorrectly. There is also another problematic group of terms containing the buzz word management. What is, for example, nature management or environmental management? Kajander says that in different countries these terms mean different things.

    Project news

    Bank and finance terminology project
    The bank and finance terminology project was started in TSK in the beginning of this year. The purpose is to harmonize bank and finance terms and to build a term database on the Internet. Primarily Swedish, Finnish and English terms will be provided, later other Nordic languages will also be included in such a scale that they are available.

    Project on real estate management terminology
    The project on real estate management terminology that started in the summer of 2000 will be finished during the spring of 2001. It is based on Kiinteistönpidon perussanastoa, a basic vocabulary of building management, published in 1996. The new vocabulary will contain about 110 concepts. Terms and definitions will be in Finnish and equivalents will be given in English.

    Newest terminology project in the social welfare and health sector
    In the end of 2000 TSK started to compile a vocabulary on concepts related to the service chain model in social welfare and health. The vocabulary was ordered by STAKES, the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health. The vocabulary will contain about 50 concepts. Terms and definitions are in Finnish.

    Thousand and one term problems – Term service in 2000

    In 2000 more than 1000 term problems were addressed in TSK’s term service. The questions asked dealt with special field equivalents in different languages, the correctness of these equivalents, abbreviations, definitions for concepts, etc. Questions concerned several special fields, above all technology, commerce, administration and legislation.

    TSK’s members are entitled to a certain quota of term service free-of-charge. Other clients have to pay for it. They can either pay for a so called term service package or for each question separately. TSK’s members form the biggest group of term service users; last year about 75% of the questions came from the members.

    The share of languages asked in term service has remained quite unchanged during recent years. The two most common foreign languages are English (54% of questions last year) and Swedish (26%). The next are German (13%) and French (6%).

    TSK’s terminologists are responsible for the term service, and one terminologist answers the questions for one day at a time. To guarantee the quality of answers the questions are directed to different terminologist depending on the language. Questions concerning English and Swedish are handled by all terminologists.

    Many different sources are used in the term service. Answers are searched for in TSK’s own internal termbank and other termbanks, like Termium and Eurodicautom. TSK’s library is used, and nowadays information on terms and equivalents is searched very often on the Internet. Sometimes special field experts are consulted.

    In order to find a reliable answer, the terminologists need enough background information, e.g. the subject field of a term or some context. It takes about one hour to deal with one term question. Despite of this long time, a reliable answer is found only for every other question. When the income received from the term service is compared to the costs of work time, the comparison shows that the term service is unprofitable to TSK. However, the term service is considered important for special field language planning and therefore it has been kept as one of TSK’s activities.


    English–Finnish Dictionary of Technology and Commerce
    The first English–Finnish Dictionary of Technology and Commerce was published in 1952, and the newest edition published last year is the 13th edition of the dictionary. The new edition contains 220 000 entries. In addition to terms it contains also plenty of abbreviations, acronyms and geographical names.

    This edition has been expanded with 30 000 additions which are either new English entries and their Finnish equivalents or new Finnish equivalents for already existing entries. Outdated material and terms that have become standard language have been removed.

    Finnish–English Law Dictionary
    The Finnish–English Law Dictionary published in 2000 is an enlarged and updated edition of a dictionary which first appeared in 1985. The new edition contains over 25 000 entries and plenty of example sentences. Besides Finnish terms there are also Latin, French and German terms, because common law uses often Latin and French terms and phrases in particular. English law and spelling have been taken as the point of departure when choosing equivalents. If a term is typical of the legal system of some other country, this is noted separately.

    The dictionary has been compiled primarily to serve those who translate Finnish legislation and texts on the Finnish legal system into English, but it is also a necessary tool for others working with legal language, like lawyers and authorities.

    New SFS vocabularies
    The Finnish Standard Association SFS has ratified standards SFS-EN 12508 Corrosion protection of metals and metal alloys. Surface treatment, metallic and other inorganic coatings. Vocabulary, SFS-EN 1330-4 Non destructive testing. Terminology. Part 4: Terms used in ultrasonic testing and SFS-IEC 60050-442 Electrotechnical vocabulary. Part 442: Electrical accessories as Finnish national standards. SFS-EN 12508 contains terms and definitions in English, Finnish, French and German. SFS-EN 1330-4 has terms and definitions in Finnish, English and German. SFS-IEC 60050-442 contains terms in English, French, Finnish, German and Swedish and definitions in English and French.