- Tutkittua tietoa / Lena Jolkkonen
- Marja Hamilo – kielitaitoinen teknologia-asiantuntija / Mari Suhonen
- Sanastotyön periaatteiden soveltaminen käyttäjien ja aiheen mukaan – korkeakoulusanastoa selityksineen / Niina Elomaa
- NORDLIST – en nordisk nätordlista för högre utbildning / Anna-Stina Nyby & Linda Thu
- Merenkulkua ja matelijoita – terminologista jatkotutkimusta Suomessa / Anita Nuopponen
- Sähköinen Kielitoimiston sanakirja / Eija-Riitta Grönros
- Internet – kääntäjän ehtymätön tietolähde / Marja Kantonen
The VAKKI Symposium on LSP, Translation and Multilingualism organized by the Research Group at the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Vaasa gathered about 60 participants in Vörå in February. There were many presentations on various themes, e.g. legal abbreviations, grammatical terms of the Maori language and semantic web.
The TSK's central task is to disseminate information on terms. On Valentine's Day our library was packed with the representatives of our interest groups who had come to hear how new words and terms are born.
Bright spring for all!
Marja Hamilo – technology expert with language skills
Marja Hamilo works at the Technology Industries of Finland as an adviser. Since 2004 she has participated in the TSK's activities as a member of the board of directors.
Languages and literature have always been an important part of Hamilo's life. She has studied both English and French, but as her major she studied chemistry and graduated as a Master of Science in Technology. She felt that languages and literature were more hobbies than a job, but when her children were small, she worked as a freelance translator.
Although she liked translating, she missed colleagues and the work community. She started to work first as a technical editor and then as a project manager. Her present tasks at the Technology Industries include managing project portfolios, participating in management groups of technology programs and projects, and secretarial tasks in an expert group developing the field of electronics.
Hamilo has gathered a lot of experience on terms, and she has a clear opinion on what is a good term. She has found certain loan words problematic. The external appearance of these words has been adjusted to the grammatical form of the Finnish language, but a Finnish person cannot conclude what they mean. Hamilo has noticed that the use of English terms and words both in special languages and in the standard language has increased in Finland. Experts communicate a lot in English and English terms are familiar to them, but she says that although Finns have good knowledge of English, understanding scientific texts and concepts well enough in English is impossible for many people. She hopes that high-quality popularized texts would be published in Finnish more than is done currently.
In Hamilo's opinion people pretty well try to use Finnish terms in the field of technology. Tekes, the National Technology Agency of Finland, sets a good example by using correct Finnish and Finnish terms when communicating on its technology programs. On the other hand, in publication Hamilo encounters term problems constantly. For example, it has turned out to be difficult to replace English loan words with Finnish words. The author of the publication may prefer English terms, or the loan word may already be established. Hamilo thinks it is the task of the Technology Industries and especially its publishing unit Teknova to create Finnish terms in the field and to encourage people to use them.
Hamilo considers that the TSK's task and existence are necessary in their present form. She thinks that the TSK is partly an ideological organization which guarantees on its behalf that the Finnish language can used to describe concepts both of the standard and scientific languages. The concepts must also be understood in the same way, so it is important to make and publish generally accepted definitions. For term users the availability of glossaries is essential, so it is advisable to publish glossaries on the Internet. Terminology work is especially important in such fields from where terms migrate to the standard language, e.g. health care, where terms are used to communicate with the clients.
Higher Education Glossary
Every special field glossary must be planned to take into account the theme and the target group. The main users of the Higher Education Glossary produced by the Ministry of Education and the Prime Minister's Office are the civil servants of the educational administration and the personnel and students of the higher education institutions.
The subject field of the Higher Education Glossary consists of many concepts. The glossary introduces the whole Finnish higher education sector, both universities and polytechnics. The glossary contains concepts related e.g. to higher education studies, administration, personnel and financing. The glossary has a considerably large number of titles and names, such as titles of authorities, fields of study, and current and older degrees. The number of concepts was limited to 880.
There was a need to develop other than terminological methods to clarify the content of the concepts. There were so many of them that it would have taken too much time to write terminological definitions for all concepts. Another reason was that definitions would seem weird for some of the concepts, e.g. degree programmes.
Recommended terms are given in Finnish and Swedish, recommended translation equivalents in English, German, French, Spanish and Russian. Terms have been grouped thematically, and terms are introduced in context in the beginning of each chapter. The content of the concepts in each theme is explained, and this explanation is translated into all languages of the glossary. Explanations were gathered from existing sources and edited for the needs of the glossary. The explanations are easy-to-read and in many ways useful for the glossary users.
For many users, it is valuable that the translated explanations offer examples on the use of terms in context. They contain fluent expressions for presenting facts in foreign languages. Relations between concepts are clarified with concept diagrams. In addition, the terminology starts with an overview of the Finnish higher education system where both Finnish and foreign readers may easily find basic information on this area.
In the Higher Education Glossary the concept analysis has been made but different term groups have been analysed differently. When compiling the Finnish terminology, the content of some concepts, especially titles and names, was not analysed in detail and the concepts were not defined. However, the translators had to do this analysis when they chose foreign equivalents, since the concepts and their equivalents should have similar characteristics both in the source and target languages.
The emphasis has been on user-friendliness. One advantage is that there are a considerable amount of concepts in the glossary. This amount could not have been handled in the project timetable if terminological definitions had been written for all concepts. It is also more difficult to translate definitions than explanations. The glossary also includes easy-to-read material on the Finnish higher education system in foreign languages. The explanations concerning the terms of a certain chapter form a compact information package which can be read as an introduction to the theme in any language. Thus the glossary may be used as a guide, not only by Finns, but also by foreign students, visiting professors and foreign partners.
NORDLIST – Nordic web glossary on higher education
In the meetings on the Nordic education cooperation people have always wanted to speak the Scandinavian languages. The close kinship between Danish and Norwegian and the language bridge between Finland and Sweden have made communication to function well in most cases. Or so it was thought. Each country has its own national education system. Because the vocabulary of education is closely related, same designations are used, but in some cases one designation can be used for different concepts or phenomena. These so called false friends create misunderstandings and confusion.
In 2000 the Nordic Advisory Committee on Higher Education at the Nordic Council of Ministers decided to ask the Nordic University Administration Cooperation to plan and carry out a Nordic project on higher education terminology. First the project work group had members from Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden, later on also from the Faroe Islands and Greenland. The purpose of the project was to develop a glossary for the Nordic field of study and for the administration of universities and other higher education institutions.
The glossary is called NORDLIST, and in it all languages are treated equal. The primary publication method is a database on the Internet (www.nordlist.net). The user can choose between seven languages: Danish, Faroese, Finnish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian (both Bokmål and Nynorsk) and Swedish, and either look for a single word or look at a whole word list. The user can also choose in which language the search result will be shown.
The search result can be an explanation and/or a translation of the term. The explanation can be a synonym, definition or description. The explanation may also include comments, examples or references in order to clarify the term. Translations may consist of either a direct translation, if there is one, or a translation of the explanation.
All term records in NORDLIST belong to one or more word lists. In that way the user can see a word list on e.g. admission, educational administration, abbreviations or false friends.
Collection of words, concepts and phenomena in the database was made partly by using existing lists, partly by work group members reading texts and publications in some other language than their own. The equality of languages in NORDLIST means that the content and extent of the material in the different word lists are not identical. Differences in the use of words, concepts and phenomena in Swedish used in Finland and in Sweden are marked in the explanations. The same applies to Bokmål and Nynorsk. Experts on the various areas of higher education were consulted both on the NORDLIST concept itself and its content.
The first pilot version of NORDLIST was launched in connection with the Jubilee Session of the Nordic Council of Ministers in Helsinki in 2002. So far 3900 words (of 5600 words in the database) have been published. All published term records are not quite complete as regards explanations or translations.
The project, as it is now, must be still considered a pilot project. If it is developed further and completed, as far as word lists can be completed, it must be allocated more time and resources than the current editorial staff consisting of voluntary enthusiasts have.
Seafaring and snakes – terminological postgraduate research in Finland
Terminological research methods have been popular in Finland in master's theses for a long time. Language and translation students have written theses where they study the concepts and terms of some special language in one or more languages. However, postgraduate research in this field tarried. The doctoral thesis of Anita Nuopponen published in 1994 was the first in Finland. Until the end of the millennium some doctoral theses including terminology in some way or other were completed.
The future of terminology research in Finland seems brighter since at least a dozen of doctoral theses are being made. Terminology research has become more popular. Earlier terminological postgraduate research was almost only done in the University of Vaasa, but now it is also done in the universities of Helsinki and Joensuu.
Languages under study vary from Finnish into German, Swedish and Russian, subject include e.g. synonymy, automatic and manual excerption of terms, taxonomies and concept systems, compiling of definitions, and descriptive terminology work. Special fields include e.g. navigation, reptiles, botany and customs.
In autumn 2003 Nuopponen created a net forum to facilitate communication between postgraduate students. The students can discuss their research, exchange tips on books, events etc. Meeting other researchers in symposiums is also important.
Electronic dictionary of the Language Planning Department
A new electronic dictionary of the standard Finnish language called Kielitoimiston sanakirja has been published by the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland. It is based on CD-Perussanakirja and printed Suomen kielen perussanakirja. The new dictionary contains in all 100.000 entries, and also 21.000 Finnish place names with information on their inflection. The dictionary will be published on CD-ROM, Internet and intranet versions.
After the previous dictionary many new concepts, both new words and new meanings, have appeared in the language. Many old words have a new meaning besides the old one, e.g. worm and firewall have new meanings in the IT field.
Since new things usually come to us from somewhere else, their designations are also often borrowed. This has always been the case in Finnish, this is not a new phenomena. Some of the words are borrowed as they are, like benchmarking, but most of them are loan translations, i.e. translated into Finnish. New words reveal what has changed in our environment. There are concrete objects like digitaalikamera (digital camera), special field terms like geenimanipulaatio (genetic manipulation), and spoken language words like bilettää (to party).
In addition to standard language words, key terms from special fields have also been taken as entry words in the dictionary. These terms are often used in the mass media or are somehow connected with the everyday life of most people. The selection has not been easy, since today people actually live in quite different realities according to age, sex, profession and hobbies. The situation may also change very quickly, e.g. the word tsunami was once included in the dictionary, but then it was considered such a rare special field term that it was left out. And now when the dictionary is published, the word has been one of the most common words in the media.
It is also difficult to explain terms. Even if there is a special field glossary where the term can be found, this does not solve all problems. Usually only one or few concepts from the same concept system are included in a standard language dictionary, and therefore the concepts cannot be explained systematically with each others like in the special field glossaries. In addition the explanations must often be simplified and shortened, which easily leads to inaccuracy. It is also awkward when the standard language and special language use differ from each other. For example, a wrong or an out-dated form of a term may persistently be used in the standard language.
In Finnish the inflection of place names cannot be deduced from the name, since the practice varies even in similar names. The inflection established in the place itself should be used if possible, and it cannot often be known without help. Therefore the dictionary contains place names and their inflection, and also some additional information, like in which municipality or province the place situates.
The electronic dictionary has the advantage that searches can be made in other text than just entry words. Wildcards and logical operators, such as AND and OR, can be used. The CD version has a small dictionary window which always stays at the front of the screen, and it can be used for search, or its text recognition function can be used by placing the cursor on a word in a text. This will start a recognition process and by clicking the mouse button the dictionary will show the relevant entry or word list.
Internet – inexhaustible source of information
Ten years ago it was much more difficult to translate technical texts, when the Internet could not be used on the ordinary translator's computer. If there was an unknown term and an equivalent could not be found in dictionaries, this meant time-consuming information search in libraries or from available experts. Now, the translator can use a search service and can usually get numerous references to sources dealing with the theme of the translation.
The Internet search can be used e.g. to find out which term candidate or way of spelling is the most common. Dictionaries can only include few examples, but on the Internet terms can be found in their authentic contexts. The translator can also see what kind of style a certain product manufacturer uses on their own web pages, and can adapt the translation into the same format.
The terminologist's and translator's searches on the Internet differ from each other. The terminologist defines concepts and looks for concept relations in order to create something more permanent, whereas the translator wants to know which words to use in order to convey the message of a single text to the reader and may need the term only once.
Dictionary of Information Processing
The 13th edition of ATK-sanakirja, the Dictionary of Information Processing, by the Finnish Data Processing Association was published in the end of last year. The first part of the dictionary covers over 4000 IT terms. The terms are defined in Finnish and given equivalents in English, French, Swedish, German, Spanish, Estonian and Russian. The book also contains some concept diagrams and other illustrations. This edition also contains the terms and definitions of the Government Information Security Terminology. The other part of the book consists of seven bilingual glossaries which give Finnish equivalents for foreign terms.
Bibliographic references and source identifiers for terminology work
The International Organization for Standardization has published the standard ISO 12615:2004 Bibliographic references and source identifiers for terminology work. The standard specifies the data elements to be included in bibliographic references for terminology work. The references can be used in computer applications in terminology work, presenting bibliographies, and citations in journal articles.