Summaries 1/2006

  • Sisällöntuotannon aika / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Christian Galinski – kansainvälisen sanastotyön puolestapuhuja / Anu Ylisalmi

  • Oikeuselämän lyhenteet / Heikki E. S. Mattila

  • Työmarkkinasanasto – nuorallatanssia ja politiikkaa / Riina Kosunen

  • 100 vuotta sähköalan sanastotyötä / Tuomo Ilomäki

  • Tervetuloa pohjoismaisen terminologiatiedon lähteille! / Mari Suhonen

  • Kirjallisuutta

    Time for content production

    Mika Mannermaa, Docent in Futures Research, lists the second phase of the information society as number two on his top ten list of trends in the near future. During the second phase, emphasis will be moving from technology to content and consumers' needs. This delights terminologists, of course. Our work is to shape and analyse information to make it easily understandable and usable.

    Discussions on the information society were initiated in the 1980's, but it was in the 1990's when larger numbers of people became aware of it as new information and communication technologies were widely introduced.

    Now more and more attention is paid to the content. Technical solutions and user interfaces do not satisfy users' needs without proper and up-to-date content. Finding the content should also be pleasant and easy. The semantic web is a step in the right direction, but it requires considerable development work on the content so that the information can be used effectively. Children of the information society want to find information and services on a gamut of topics regardless of the time and place. The information society should be open 24x7. This kind of society is number three on Mannermaa's list of trends.

    Christian Galinski – spokesman for international terminology work

    Christian Galinski is a world-wide renowned spokesman for international terminology work. He is the director of Infoterm (International Information Centre for Terminology) in Vienna, and the secretary of the terminology committee of ISO. He also works as a consultant for TermNet (International Network for Terminology).

    Galinski was born in Upper Silesia and he went to school in Frankfurt. He studied Japanology, Sinology and Communication Sciences at the University of Bonn. He was fascinated by Japanese and, after his graduation, he spent two years in Southern Japan studying the history of the local school system. When he came back to Europe, he completed a PhD on Japanology.

    In 1979, Galinski was offered a job at Infoterm, and since 1986, he has been the director. Infoterm is a network of national and international terminology centres which arranges joint events and projects and promotes terminological awareness. Currently, Infoterm employs three persons and freelancers. Galinski is one of the founding members of TermNet. It is a non-profit association which aims to promote terminological tools, products and services. Its members are companies, universities and associations.

    Galinski has been the secretary of ISO's technical committee 37 for 20 years. The committee is in charge of terminological work, basics of terminology, and applications and tools for content management on the level of lexical semantics. This means describing information on the concept level so that multilingualism and cultural diversity are considered.

    According to Galinski, Infoterm and TermNet have been in a constant state of change which requires careful management and cooperation. He sees improving awareness on terminology work as his biggest professional achievement. He has also helped to create several organisations and networks in the terminology field.

    Galinski values Nordic terminology work. Nordterm was the first regional network of cooperation in the field of terminology work, and it has served as an example for many other regional networks. Also Nordic large-scale industry saw the importance of terminological work earlier than in other countries.

    Galinski sees the interoperability of content in the development of the semantic Web as more and more important. It is not yet known which kind of ontologies will become standards. The existence of ontologies based on terminologies is however justified, and they are an interesting area for research and development.

    Legal abbreviations

    Lawyers have used abbreviations since ancient times, and abbreviations are also frequent in legal texts today. They can be a real headache for anyone who has to read legal documents. This is why glossaries of legal abbreviations are needed. Traditionally, glossaries are written by selecting abbreviations from specialised texts during a long period of time. Oikeuselämän lyhennesanakirja tackles the problem by means of a frequency study. This is the first time this kind of research method is used in making legal abbreviation glossaries in Finland, and apparently in the whole world.

    The study was conducted by collecting abbreviation lists from legal works, by alphabetising them, and summing up the occurrences. Basically, all legal works which included an abbreviation list and were written in Finnish or Swedish in Finland from 1800 through 2002 were studied. The total number of these works was 1,505. First, the abbreviation lists were read optically and stored in electronic format, then the lists were alphabetised, and frequencies were counted.

    The material showed that the majority of legal abbreviations were sporadic. In the 19th and 20th centuries, approximately 3,000 abbreviations were present in at least three different publications. One third of them were statutes. Other frequent groups were public and private corporations, civil service departments and institutions, scientific journals, and honorary and official titles.

    The glossary also contains abbreviations relating to foreign statutes and institutions. Such abbreviations are included in the glossary if the frequency exceeds a minimum of three occurrences. In fact, a number of Nordic, German, British and French statutes and institutions, as well as international conventions and organizations, are included in the legal abbreviation glossary.

    The most essential observation was the extensive polysemy of legal abbreviations. In average, there are 1.6 meanings per abbreviation. Naturally, many abbreviations had only one meaning but there were also abbreviations with several meanings. In addition, the study also showed that synonyms are common in legal texts. As many as nine different abbreviations were found for the Finnish term komiteanmietintö, committee deliberation.

    All abbreviations found in at least three different publications were included in the glossary. Thus, the glossary is extensive but it does not include sporadic abbreviations. The frequency count of each abbreviation is shown in square brackets after the abbreviation. The glossary is not normative but it will help writers to select abbreviations that dozens or maybe hundreds of writers have used before.

    Labour Market Glossary – tightrope walking and politics

    The Labour Market Glossary was published in October 2005 after almost three years of work. The project was launched because the Finnish Ministry of Finance found that the use of terminology related to collective agreements was incoherent.

    The Labour Market Glossary contains approximately 370 concepts covering areas such as terms and types of employment relationship and labour market operations. The glossary features entries in Finnish, Swedish, English, German and French. Definitions and notes are written in all five languages. The book also contains 22 concept diagrams. The Labour Market Glossary differs from many other glossaries compiled by the Government Terminology Service in that all concepts are not paired with terminological definitions. However, all concepts have their own entries with equivalents and references to such entries were information on the concept in question can be found. This helps, for instance, translators to find search terms and their equivalents in the glossary.

    The Labour Market Glossary differs from many other glossary projects due to its political character, too. It has been compiled from the standpoint of the government as employer. However, during the project, comments were also heard from the employer and employee associations. It turned out to be quite a balancing act to try to make compromises between the views of public and private sector and employers and employees. Employers' viewpoint naturally differs from that of employees. In the Labour Market Glossary project, the terminologists-employees faced a challenge as they had to consider terms from the employer's perspective.

    In terminology work, the aim is to define concepts so that they are generally valid. For instance, regular working hours is defined so that it covers all cases in the Working Hours Act and in different collective agreements. The definition only lists the essential features of the concept, i.e. features that are common to all cases.

    The search of general validity applies for the case of industrial peace. Initially, it was defined as "a situation in the labour market in which industrial actions are forbidden". However, the terminologist asked if the definition was valid when employees go on strike in spite of the law. When it was discovered that it was not the case, the definition was changed into "a situation in the labour market in which no industrial action is in progress".

    In general, terminology work is perceived as a relatively neutral activity as the aim is "only" to describe the use of terms and concepts or give recommendations regarding them. The writer raises a question if it is possible to influence readers' conception of reality with glossaries. Is it possible that the part of the real world which is not attested in a glossary tends to be forgotten more easily than the ones which are included?

    Hundred years of terminology work in electrical engineering

    Scientists and engineers have gathered to discuss electric phenomena since the late 19th century. However, the lack of common terminology hindered communication. In 1904, term problems and the importance of standardization were discussed at the International Electrical Congress in St. Louis.

    Two years later, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) was founded. In 1911, it appointed a technical committee to standardize the terminology and units of measurement, and three years later the organization published the first terminological list on electric apparatus and machinery. The most extensive achievement during the first decades was the International Electrotechnical Vocabulary (IEV) which was published in 1938. It covered 2,000 terms in six languages and included definitions in English and French.

    After World War II, the IEC's terminology work took off again. The IEV was divided into sections according to subjects. Today, there are 77 different sections and about 20,000 concepts in them. Concepts are defined in English and French, and equivalents are given in 13 languages (e.g. Arabic, Japanese and Chinese). Finnish is not found in the IEV but Swedish has been included since the beginning.

    SESKO, the Finnish member of the IEC, started to translate the most important sections of the IEV into Finnish in the 1960's. The translations were published as SFS standards, complete with Finnish equivalents. Currently, there are 38 Finnish terminology standards on electricity containing about 10,000 concepts.

    Welcome to the source of Nordic terminological information

    In 2005, one of the joint projects of Nordterm, the association of terminological organizations in the Nordic countries, was updating its website. This work was completed during 2005, and the new website is now found at

    The website offers information on Nordterm and the Nordic terminology field, its working methods and its organization. The website also lists Nordterm's publications, current and past events, and its projects. It offers links to term banks, glossaries, and information on terminology work and organizations operating in the field.

    All term banks listed on the website include at least one Nordic language. They cover a spectrum of fields from ecclesiastic and scout glossaries to Lappish bird breed names.

    The aim is to update the website in most languages used in the Nordic countries and English. Currently, there are pages in English, Finnish, Icelandic, Greenlandic, Norwegian, Sami, and Swedish. The Nordterm-Forum section will be updated only in two languages, Swedish and English. The site contains a menu which allows users to navigate to the corresponding page written in other Nordic languages with one mouse click, if they want to see what the page looks like in Greenlandic, for instance.

    The Finnish Terminology Centre TSK participates actively in the work of Nordterm. Lena Jolkkonen, director of the TSK, is a member of the Nordterm Steering Committee and the chairwoman of the AG5, Nordterm's Internet information Working Group. The aim of the project was to update the website and to improve its usability.


    Thermal spraying. Terminology, classification
    The Finnish Standards Association SFS has approved the standard SFS-EN 657:2005 Thermal spraying. Terminology, classification as a national standard. The standard contains an English text and its translation into Finnish.

    Law dictionaries
    Matti Joutsen has compiled two law dictionaries. The Finnish-English Law Dictionary is the expanded and revised fourth edition of the dictionary which first appeared in 1985. It has been compiled in order to serve the needs of those who translate Finnish legislation as well as the Finnish legal system into English. Entries also include names of Finnish governmental bodies, organizations and job titles. It contains 25,000 entries and 18,000 examples.

    The English-Finnish Law Dictionary is an expanded and revised edition of the first edition published in 2000. It contains 40,000 entries and expressions. It covers terms in use in a number of common law countries and a large number of Latin and French terms.

    Gastronomic glossary
    Gastronominen sanasto suomi-englanti-suomi (gastronomic glossary Finnish-English-Finnish) by Pirkko Saikkonen, Maija-Liisa Bennett and John Bennett is based on Pirkko Saikkonen's Gastronominen sanasto suomi-ranska-suomi (gastronomic glossary French-Finnish-French). It covers extensively gastronomic terms, cooking methods and cooking equipment. It offers both information and entertainment for anyone who studies, works or spends time with other food cultures.