Summaries 1/2002

  • Sanastotyön saralla tapahtuu / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Aatto Eira Yrttiaho – teollisuuden ammattilainen / Johanna Suomalainen

  • Ekotehokas sanasto / Maarit Perkonoja

  • Uudissanojen seulonta sanakirjatyössä / Eija-Riitta Grönros

  • XXII VAKKI -symposiumi / Mari Suhonen

  • Mistä vastineet työeläketermeille? / Eija Puttonen

  • Termiharava

  • Kirjallisuutta

    Current events in terminology

    On Valentine's Day we invited our members and other clients to visit TSK. The purpose was to get to know better our new and old friends and tell about our news and our services. It is important to inform potential clients how they can benefit from our expertise in terminology work. If you have noticed that there is a need for terminology work in your organization or line of business, do not hesitate to contact us.

    Terminology work has long traditions in Finland as well in other Nordic countries. TSK's director Lena Jolkkonen was invited to present TSK in the International Conference on Terminology in Lisbon in January. According to her many people in other parts of Europe are clearly interested on how the Nordic terminology centres work. For example, Susanne Lervad from Denmark told about DANTERMCenter. However, the main theme of the conference was to gather together the different parties working with terminology in Portugal, and Portuguese terminology projects, teaching of terminology, localization and translation in Portugal were presented.

    People working with terminology have also gathered together in Finland in VAKKI Symposium.

    Eira Yrttiaho – professional from metal industry

    Eira Yrttiaho, the managing director of MET Publishing, became a member of TSK's board of directors in the beginning of this year. She has attended only one board meeting which she experienced as very positive. She describes the board diverse and active. In Yrttiaho's opinion the board must facilitate long-range planning and ideas.

    The choice of the managing director of MET Publishing into TSK's board was well-founded one, since MET, Federation of Finnish metal, engineering and electrotechnical industries, has been TSK's member since 1975. Yrttiaho brings to the board the view point of industry. She is also interested in TSK since MET Publishing compiles and publishes glossaries on its subject field.

    In her work Yrttiaho has noticed that many organizations need the results of terminology work. "In the course of years TSK has created a well-developed method for doing terminology work. This method and the distinct need for terminology work show that this kind of activity serves a purpose", says Yrttiaho.

    MET Publishing makes the information produced in MET available primarily to the members of MET but also to other customers. Last year 25 new MET publications were made. Publications include technical bulletins, reports related to business development and employment relationship publications. Most of MET publications result from different projects, because usually a report is also made on the projects. When necessary, MET Publishing starts its own book projects on current subjects. Sometimes a ready manuscript or a publication idea is offered to them. MET Publishing also organizes seminars and training courses.

    MET Publishing has also published vocabularies, for example, Vocabulary for Acoustics (2001) which contains Finnish, Swedish and English terms. According to Yrttiaho the purpose of their vocabularies is not so much to establish certain terms or to give instructions on language use, but to describe the language use in the field. But she hopes that the vocabularies help the professionals of the field to realize that a special emphasis should be placed on term formation.

    As the managing director Yrttiaho is responsible for the general management and financing of the company. She is also an editor, and participates in the compilation of publications. She also coordinates the seminars. "It is challenging for a specialist publisher to find a good business idea to compete with the big publishers", says Yrttiaho.

    Eco-efficient vocabulary

    During the last few decades environmental research has developed fast and become more international. New concepts and terms may arise so quickly that even good vocabularies and dictionaries do not meet the needs of translators. Maarit Perkonoja, the writer of this article, was a student of translation and interpretation of German in the University of Turku and she wanted to compile an environment vocabulary for translators as her pro gradu thesis. She chose the challenging and interesting concepts of eco-efficiency and material flow as the subject of her vocabulary.

    The focus of the work was MIPS (Material Input Per Service Unit) which is developed in Germany in 1992. The concepts related to MIPS were so new in the autumn of 2000 when Perkonoja started her thesis that Finnish literature on the subject could not be found, except few articles. There was no German literature in Finland either, and the source material had to be ordered from Germany. Luckily Perkonoja had contacts with Finnish, German and Austrian experts and received material and information from them.

    Perkonoja decided to extend her work to include English terms, too, because much of the literature in the field proved to be written in English, and so she compiled a trilingual Finnish–German–English vocabulary. The vocabulary describes the current language usage. In addition to the actual vocabulary, Perkonoja's thesis contains also a chapter where she analyses the most essential concepts, presents definitions found in different sources and compares various designation alternatives.

    One of the most difficult phases of the work was the writing of definitions. The subject is rather new, and even the experts did not always agree on all concepts and terms used to describe the concepts. For example, the intension of the concept eco-efficiency is not yet established and there are several alternative definitions. The definitions differ greatly from each other depending on who is defining. For instance, the definitions of environmental organizations and big businesses promoting eco-efficiency differ clearly from each other.

    Since terms are not established, the vocabulary contains numerous alternative terms for concepts. If possible, all synonymous designations are presented and the most common one is placed first in the term record. The main principle is that all the terms in the vocabulary are really used. However, it should be kept in mind that even the best instructions on term use do not surpass situation-specific consideration.

    Standard language words are often used as terms in the field of environment. In some cases this has caused inconsistency in term formation. As in many other new fields, term formation has not been emphasized enough in MIPS thinking. For example, material input and material intensity are used to refer to different concepts but the abbreviation MI is used for both of them, and this causes unnecessary confusion.

    Attention and study of the concepts is required of the translator, because sometimes texts may have even incorrectly formed terms. A term should not be used if it is not in harmony with the concept system, and a translation loan should not be formed from such a term.

    On the basis of Perkonoja's thesis environmental concepts and terms would also need normative examination and discussion between experts on which terms to use. Hopefully the experts have more time and skills to choose terms in the future so that a good cause will not be buried in too complicated language use.

    Neologisms in lexicography

    Eija-Riitta Grönros, the writer of this article, works in the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland. She is a member of the editorial staff compiling the second version of CD-Perussanakirja (the CD-ROM Basic Dictionary of the Finnish Language).

    New words are born into a language every day. However, all newborn words do not survive. Some are meant to be temporary, some just drop out of usage. A word may be replaced by another or the phenomenon and the object of the word fade away and the word vanishes, too. The compilers of general language dictionaries have a difficult task in foreseeing which words will live so long that they should be included as entry words in a dictionary.

    Some new words are created deliberately, some are born spontaneously and their creator or origin will never be found. Vocabulary is developed on purpose in special fields, for example in Finland, by TSK and terminology board of the Finnish Medical Society.

    Examples of new concepts are, for example, home page and MEP (Member of the European Parliament). These words could not have been used before since the objects of the words did not exist. Some new words could have been used before, because the phenomena they describe have existed, but the phenomena have not just been named. The objects of words like yo-yo dieting and lifestyle disease have existed, but the concepts have not been talked about until the last few decades.

    Old objects may receive new designations when a need arises to express a contrast. For example natural snow is what used to be, and in many cases still is, just snow, but when a distinction has to be made to artificial snow, a more specific expression is needed.

    Many such "neologisms" are added to dictionaries which in fact may be very old. These words may have been used perhaps only in some language for special purposes. The words end up in general language dictionaries when they for some reason become known to the general public. Such a word is, for example, bow visor which the MV Estonia disaster made widely known. It is the task of a general dictionary to tell the meaning of such words that the reader will come across in everyday life.

    The new entries in dictionaries tell in which kind of social, historical and political situation the books have been made, for example wars may bring new words. Some current events may pass over quickly. For example the wide use of the word millennium was short.

    Current events create also a lot of situation-specific vocabulary which never ends up in a dictionary, because it refers to separate events or places having and has no generalized meaning. Such words that are related to only one occasion – for so far and hopefully – are many words created in the autumn of 2001, like anthrax letter. However, much will remain in our collective permanent memory. Black Tuesday will never be forgotten, and the connotations of the word tower are certainly not the same as before.

    Neologisms are usually compounds or derivations. New basic words connected to nothing previous are not really born anymore. One word formation method is to use beginnings that are fashionable at a time, for example eco or euro. Abbreviated words are created despite of the fact that they are unclear.

    Majority of neologisms are loaned, either directly or through translation. New Finnish loan words come mainly from English. However, there is one area where loans are adapted from many languages, i.e. cooking.

    Even those neologisms that are plain Finnish are almost always translation loans. There are very few new words of purely Finnish origin. Only those words that are based on the Finnish culture and names are such. Some special field terms may also be of Finnish origin. If a direct translation is not good, sometimes a kind of corresponding concept has been created. An example of such a word is ranskankerma (literally cream of France) for crème fraîche.

    Some new words are old words that have new meanings. Often these are also loan words, like mouse or firewall in IT language.

    Only time will show which new words will be established in a language.

    XXII VAKKI Symposium

    The Research Group for LSP and Theory of Translation in the University of Vaasa organized VAKKI Symposium on the theme LSP and translation – focus on teaching on 9–10 February 2002.

    Päivi Tynjälä discussed the requirements that the information society places on experts and how these requirements should be taken into account in teaching. It is not enough that experts know their own special field, but they need also, for example, social, communication and computer skills and the ability to work independently.

    A special terminology section was arranged as a part of the symposium with speakers both from terminology research and practical terminology work. Nina Pilke from the University of Vaasa told about a new research project on scientific discussion. Students have been asked what they consider to be scientific discussion.

    Päivi Pasanen from the University of Helsinki presented her study Application of terminological methods in a study of maritime safety concepts. She studies the relation between terms and definitions in a text. Christer Laurén from the University of Vaasa discussed the use of terms in oral communication based on the findings of Solveig Strömman's study.

    Igor Koudachev from the University of Helsinki dealt with bi- and multilingual special field glossaries from the view point of a translator. According to him the number of concepts is too small in normative glossaries for the needs of a translator. Normative glossaries try to avoid synonymy which makes their use difficult. They do not give equivalents for all concepts, i.e. translation equivalents are not created in terminology projects if a term does not exist in the target language. Koudachev also thinks that, for example, the definitions in TSK's vocabularies are not sufficient, more examples and context should be included.

    Eija Puttonen from the Bank of Finland has studied Finnish and UK pension terms, and developed English equivalents for Finnish pension terms. Inkeri Vehmas-Lehto from the University of Helsinki talked about terminological theses and their tutoring.

    Sari Itävuori-Rinne and Anita Nuopponen told about the teaching of terminology in the University of Vaasa. Riina Kosunen, a terminologist in the Terminology Service of the Prime Minister's Office, told how their terminologist introduce the principles of terminology work to experts and what kind of problems arise when working with experts.

    Anna-Lena Bucher and Helena Palm from the Swedish Centre for Terminology TNC presented the teaching of terminology in Sweden and gave examples of TNC's training practices.

    Equivalents for pension terms

    Pension schemes in different countries are structurally very different. These structural differences can be seen in the terminology used. There is no common international pension terminology, but pension terms are culture-specific. Therefore terms belonging to the schemes of different countries are never equivalents with each other. For example, the Finnish statutory earnings-related pension scheme is unique in Europe. It has aspects both from the state and occupational pension schemes of the Continent.

    English is used in the international cooperation in the pensions field. The international statistics and other publications are mainly based on material supplied by different countries. In order to ensure correct classification and statistics the English equivalents used on Finnish statutory earnings-related pensions must give a right picture of the scheme in Finland.

    Eija Puttonen has studied equivalence between Finnish statutory earnings-related pension terms and UK pension terms. The purpose of her study has been to find out whether UK pension terms may be used as equivalents for Finnish pension terms. The United Kingdom was chosen as the target country because of the possibility to study original English terms, not translations, and because it is a member of the EU.

    In Finland the statutory earnings-related pension provision is based mainly on statutory pension scheme whereas in the UK it is based on the state retirement pension scheme and occupational pension schemes. The Finnish and UK models differ from each other fundamentally representing two extremes in this respect.

    Despite of the considerable structural differences, the pension benefits and regulations in Finland and the UK are surprisingly similar. It is suggested in the study that certain terms could be used as each other's equivalents when their function is the same even though the intension of concepts is not exactly corresponding.

    If an equivalent for a Finnish statutory earnings-related pension term is not found based on scheme comparison and concept analysis, an equivalent must be created. Because these terms are culture-specific, translation loans can not be used. An equivalent has to be created by using the elements of the target language, in this case English, so that it describes the original concept as well as possible. It is appropriate to form terms gradually, by proceeding from a definition to a term. A definition formed from the essential characteristics is usually too long to be a term and it has to be shortened by leaving only the most essential elements in the term.


    Bit and byte Bit and byte are central concepts in information technology. Their abbreviations b and B are easily confused. Bit is already an abbreviation for binary digit and in popular texts it is advisable to use the term bit. In a text meant for experts the abbreviation b can be used. The term byte should be used in popular texts and the abbreviation B in texts for experts.

    Colours RGB is short for red, green and blue and it is a system for specifying colours in graphics. In RGB a colour is described as a sum on the three primary colours. RGB colours are formed when the lights of red, green and blue are mixed with each other. The RGB colour system is used above all in electrical devices, like TVs and computers.

    CMYK colours are used in printing. CMYK is short for cyan, magenta, yellow and key (black used as an effect), and different hues are printed by overlapping the basic colours.

    PMS colours are also used in printing. PMS is short for Pantone matching system. Colours defined by PMS are assigned a unique number and mixing formula.


    IT Ensyklopedia
    IT Ensyklopedia is an IT dictionary made by Hannu Jaakohuhta. The book contains about 16 500 terms with definitions. The terms are mainly in Finnish and in English. The entries are in alphabetical order and the definitions are in Finnish.

    Insurance Dictionary
    The Insurance Dictionary contains the most essential terms of both social and private insurance. It also contains terms of insurance law and EU legislation, policy conditions and precautionary guidelines as well as finance and investment.

    The dictionary is arranged alphabetically according to Finnish terms. There are about 6000 entries. After the Finnish term there is an equivalent in Swedish and English. The book does not have definitions. In the end of the dictionary there are indexes from Swedish and English into Finnish.

    The dictionary tries to harmonize and clarify the language use in the insurance business. It gives recommendations on terms and information on the geographical use of terms.

    Biologian sanakirja
    Biologian sanakirja, the dictionary of biology, published in 1993 has now been completely revised. The new edition contains about 11 000 entries which are arranged alphabetically. Entry terms are in Finnish, Latin and Greek, and after a term there is an equivalent in English and a Finnish explanation describing the term. There is an English–Finnish term list in the end of the book. There are also other annexes like the system of living organisms containing the Latin and Finnish terms.

    Milking machine installations. Vocabulary
    The Finnish Standards Association has approved the standard SFS-ISO 3918 Milking machine installations. Vocabulary as a national standard. It contains terms in English, Finnish and Swedish. The standard defines terms used in the design, manufacture and use of milking machines for animals used in milk production.