Summaries 2/1997

  • Päätoimittajan vaihtuessa / Lari Kauppinen

  • Pieni Internet-sanasto / Olli Nykänen

  • Onko suomesta tietotekniikan kieleksi? / Marja Kantonen

  • Sanastotyö lyhyesti / Heidi Suonuuti

  • Tekeekö käsiteanalyysi sanastoista vaikeakäyttöisiä? / Virpi Kalliokuusi

  • Satatuhatta termiä EU:lle: suurhanke onnistui yli odotusten / Olli Nykänen

  • CD-Perussanakirja – enemmän kuin kolme kirjaa / Heli Keijonen

  • Postia lukijoilta

    From the editor in chief

    Lari Kauppinen, who has been the editor in chief of Terminfo since 1991, has changed sides. Instead of producing terminology services, he began to make use of them as the head of the Finnish offices of an international translation bureau in the beginning of June. In this article, Lari Kauppinen looks back on his years at TSK and sheds some light on the events behind the articles and mini-vocabularies he wrote.

    The mini-vocabularies Lari has been involved with cover subject fields from bridge repair to special characters, and from elements to the European Union. A few ideas about language planning have also been discussed in Lari's articles. The topics have ranged from vowel length through compound words to the problems in verb conjugation. Reader feedback has proven that there is a need for articles of this kind.

    Internet vocabulary

    The rapid development of the Internet together with the ever increasing number of Internet users cause difficulties for those who deal with terminology. As soon as vocabularies on the subject are published, they tend to become outdated. TSK is not always able to keep up with the new terminology either.

    This mini-vocabulary comprises a number of basic concepts which illustrate the essence of information networks in general and the Internet in particular. The vocabulary is rather brief, and it does not go into technical detail.

    Information technology and the Finnish language

    Marja Kantonen, language planner at Trantex Oy, gave a lecture on this topic in TSK's annual meeting 23 April 1997.

    There is a growing need to use Finnish when dealing with information technology. 39% of Finnish households have a computer, and more and more people use a computer at work or at school. Furthermore, the most important computer software packages are also localised for Finnish use.

    Initially, new concepts entering a language may have a number of different names. Some of these are, however, forgotten as they fail to gain the acceptance of the language community. There is no authority who can tell what the language really should be like; in the end, it is the language users who shape the language.

    In Terminfo 1/97 Olli Nykänen wrote about the properties of a good term. If all those who deal with information technology paid attention to the requirements of the language, they would have influence on how well Finnish works with information technology.

    Terminology work in brief

    Nordterm has published an English Guide to Terminology written by Heidi Suonuuti, former head of TSK. This article is based on an excerpt from the Guide ("Terminology work in brief"), listing briefly the main steps of terminology work: organise the work, structure the information, define the concepts, formulate the definitions, select the terms, and finalise the draft.

    Does concept analysis make vocabularies difficult to use?

    During the past few years, Virpi Kalliokuusi, TSK terminologist, has studied the usability of vocabularies based on the concept analysis. This article is an excerpt from the paper she presented in the Nordic conference of lexicography in Espoo, Finland in May 1997.

    The TSK vocabularies are often praised of being clear, logical, thorough, and reliable. They have, however, also been criticised of being too scientific, academic, and difficult to use by ordinary people.

    The vocabularies are based on the theory of terminology and its application on practical terminology work. The following three points serve to illustrate the systematic terminology work carried out at TSK. First, the TSK vocabularies are normative vocabularies whose main purpose is to make language usage clearer and thus facilitate communication. Second, the vocabularies are always prepared for a certain user group with a specific purpose. Third, the vocabularies are based on concept analysis the main purpose of which is to find out the essential contents of the concepts and the relations among them.

    As the criticism indicates, at least some people sometimes find the TSK vocabularies difficult to use. A few ideas are given in the article about how these difficulties could be avoided. For example, the author suggests more flexible definition writing, although not willing to give up the systematic approach of terminological concept analysis.

    All in all, the application of concept analysis on the vocabulary making is a challenging task. It should, first of all, be possible to make use of the analysis in any situation which requires a systematic representation of information. In addition, the vocabularies produced should be reliable and thorough and also easy to use at the same time.

    A hundred thousand terms for the European Union

    During the past few years TSK has supplied the European Commission with thousands of Finnish terms and definitions. The work has been organised in several subprojects the last of which was completed in April 1997. This project is the largest in the history of TSK, and it is reviewed by Olli Nykänen in this article.

    The work was based on several terminology collections derived from Eurodicautom. These contained the terminology in a number of EU languages. Usually the source language was English, German or French. The task of TSK and its partners was to add Finnish equivalents for the given terms. The job was not always straightforward, and very often we had to consult subject field specialists.

    The quantitative goal of the project was well met: we were able to collect about 100,000 Finnish terms within two years. In addition to the terms, thousands of Finnish definitions and notes were included in the files. The quality of the terms was also considered essential.

    CD-Perussanakirja – more than just three books

    The Basic Dictionary of the Finnish Language was published by the Recearch Institute for the Languages of Finland on CD-ROM early this year. The dictionary contains around 100,000 entries with around 2000 new and 3000 updated entries when compared to the three volumes in print (published 1990–1994).

    In addition to the updated contents, the CD-ROM version also offers versatile and easy-to-use search facilities. One of the most interesting search facilities from the terminologist's viewpoint is the possibility to select the usage area for a word. This makes the search for terms in special fields much easier.

    Reader feedback

    Antti J. Pesonen wants to remind the readers of Terminfo about the difference between the Finnish terms loistelamppu and loisteputki.

    He also points out that abbreviations of titles consisting of more than one word should contain a space. Thus, e.g., filosofian maisteri is abbreviated as fil. maist.

    Terminfo would like to add that, if possible, titles should not be abbreviated at all in order to minimize misinterpretations.