Summaries 3/1998

  • Rasvasanasto / Anne Hautala

  • Terminologina Euroopan komissiossa / Olli Nykänen

  • Mitä kääntäjä odottaa sanakirjaltaan? / Krista Varantola

  • Oikeustietosanakirjan hakusanasto / Heikki E.S. Mattila

  • Wüster-palkinto Christer Laurénille / Kaisa Kuhmonen

  • Nordisk leksikografisk ordbok

    Fat vocabulary

    Anne Hautala, a student at the University of Tampere, worked as a trainee in TSK in the summer of 1998. During her training she prepared a mini vocabulary of food fats.

    Material on food fats is plentiful, but the information given on them is not always clear. Sometimes food fat and added fat are used as synonyms, but in fact they are two different concepts. They refer to the same objects, but their points of view differ.

    The distinction between added fat and hidden fat was not self-evident either. Added fat means fat that is spread on bread or used in cooking and baking. Hidden fat is fat that foodstuffs naturally contain. But what is the fat, for example, in a pie that someone bakes? The baker knows how much and what kind of fat the pie contains, for him or her it is added fat. But the persons eating the pie don't know this and can't see the fat, so it is hidden fat for them.

    Terminologist's work in the European Commission

    Terminfo interviewed Kimmo Rossi, a Finnish terminologist working in the Terminology and Language Support Services in Luxembourg. The services are mainly directed to the different units of the EU, but also for others who need help in language and term problems connected with the EU.

    The Terminology Services is divided into Language Help Desk and Eurodicautom. Work in the Help Desk is searching for terms, expressions and translation equivalents. Work for the Eurodicautom termbank is more systematic gathering of vocabulary resources.

    Rossi thinks that the best background for a terminologist is natural curiosity and interest in all human activities. EU terminologists need also good knowledge of all the working languages of the EU, i.e. French, English and German, and of course excellent knowledge of their native language. Knowledge of other languages is very useful, too.

    One of the key questions is how to utilize the possibilities that information technology offers in a complex organization network, like the Commission, producing millions of pages of texts a year in 11 languages. The great challenge is to create a document control system in which it is possible to follow the history of an act or any other document easily on your own computer screen, in 11 languages. This system should be linked to computer aided translation, term search facilities and model documents.

    What do translators expect from their dictionary or vocabulary?

    Krista Varantola, associate professor of translation and interpretation of English in the University of Tampere and member of TSK's board of directors, answers this question in her article.

    Translators expect that the dictionary or vocabulary gives an appropriate and satisfactory answer to their question. They expect that the information source would provide a so clear answer that they could base their own decision on it and feel confident afterwards. This is where problems arise. Dictionary editors try to give a general answer, e.g. equivalent, synonym or description, suitable for every situation, whereas translators want to find an answer to their own specific problem.

    Primarily translators are decision makers and selectors. Therefore they hope that the dictionary would give a lot of usage examples and information. It may be claimed that translators expect more from the dictionary than the dictionary can give. However, Varantola thinks that the present-day dictionary is a functional reference book, but should be supplemented with other systematic reference books.

    The context-free dictionary's aims and context-bound translators' needs could perhaps be combined so that the future dictionary will offer decentralized information. Translators could use hypertext-like links to look for the information they need in different lexicographic and encyclopedic databases, systematic text databases and text corpora.

    The future aids, programmes and corpora, should be developed so that computers are used for what machines are good at: handling large material, making searches, organizing material. So human translators would have more time to do what they are good at: thinking and making justified decisions on the basis of diverse and reliable information.

    Lemma list of legal encyclopedia

    Heikki E. S. Mattila, Editor in Chief of Encyclopædia Iuridica Fennica (EIF) and Doctor of Laws, describes the titling principles of EIF and problems connected with them.

    The lemma lists of encyclopedias have to be formulated somewhat differently than the lemma lists of language dictionaries. The number of lemmas (entry titles) has to be decreased considerably and the selection criteria of lemmas are different. The entry titles of encyclopedias are like alphabetically arranged addresses under which units of information have been placed. In lexicographic language dictionaries lemmas themselves are the objects of interest.

    In encyclopedias titles have to be clear enough in order to unambiguously define the content of an article. When entry titles are organized in alphabetical order, the first word should be, if possible, the one with content weight, i.e. a word that distinguishes the theme under observation from other themes and that the user most likely will look up.

    These general lexicographic remarks on encyclopedias are valid for legal encyclopedias, too. EIF's titles are often legal terms, but not always. Sometimes the titles are terms from some other special field, sometimes they are not terms at all. This is the case, e.g. in environmental law where the titles are standard language words like waste and aircraft noise.

    Wüster prize to Christer Laurén

    The second Wüster prize was awarded to Christer Laurén, Doctor of Philosophy, in August in the Professional Communication and Knowledge Transfer – ProCom'98 conference in Vienna. This conference was organized in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of Eugen Wüster, the founding father of terminology. The Wüster prize was awarded to Laurén, who works as a professor of the Swedish language in the University of Vaasa, for his achievements and long-term work in the field of terminology.

    Nordisk leksikografisk ordbok

    Nordisk leksikografisk ordbok (NLO), a Nordic dictionary of lexicography, is a result of a Nordic joint project started in 1992. NLO consists of three parts: introduction, systematic classification and actual vocabulary section. The principles and methods of lexicography and different dictionary classifications are discussed in the introduction.

    The vocabulary includes about 1000 concepts of lexicography and linguistics. Most of the concepts have been defined, and plenty of further information is given on terms and their use. NLO's entries also include many bibliographic tips and cross-references to synonyms, antonyms and related concepts. NLO's entries have been written in Bokmål and term equivalents are given in Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Nynorsk, Swedish, English, French and German.

    NLO aims to take into account the needs of different users, and mainly succeeds in this. Both lexicographers' and terminologists' points of view have been considered. Although NLO as a whole is a splendid information package, terminologists unfortunately find some mistakes in it. For example, NLO gives technical term and term of art as equivalents for fagterm, but leaves out the short form term.

    Despite of minor shortcomings NLO is an excellent reference book. It is not just a language dictionary, but an encyclopedic dictionary including both linguistic and factual information. It is really a handbook useful for linguists, lexicographers and for all who are interested in languages and lexicography.