Summaries 3/2002

  • Kansainvälistä yhteistyötä terminologian alalla / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Tellervo Hyttinen – virkamies termityössä / Johanna Suomalainen

  • Vakuutusalan sanakirjan uudistustyö / Marianne Tervonen

  • Termejä Eurodicautom-termipankkiin / Sirpa Suhonen

  • Termien käyttäjä termejä täydentämässä / Inkeri Pylvänäinen

  • Terminologia-alan palkinnot / Tiina Terävä

  • NAVI-sanastosta Paikannussanastoksi / Sirpa Suhonen

  • Termienhallintaohjelmat, Internet-termipankit ja niiden käyttäminen apuvälineinä / Mikko Lemmetti

    International cooperation in the field of terminology

    Summer is the time for meetings, conferences and congresses in the field of terminology, too. In June EAFT, the European Association for Terminology, organized a Terminology Summit in Brussels. There were ca. 200 participants mainly from Europe, but also e.g. from South America. The speakers were active users of terms, terminological methods and tools, e.g. representatives of industry and officials of the European commission, and they told decision-makers how important terminology is in the society and business life.

    In August terminology standardization meetings of ISO Technical Committee 37 were arranged in Vienna. ISO TC 37 was founded 50 years ago, and today the committee has more activities than ever before. About 80 representatives from different countries participated in the meetings.

    Tellervo Hyttinen – terminology work for government

    Interest in languages and cultures brought Tellervo Hyttinen, Senior Officer of the Government Terminology Service in the Prime Minister's Office, in contact with terminology and terminology work. In the 70s Hyttinen worked as a producer of training material in the Finnish Fire Protection Association where it was noticed that people could not write properly about practical fire protection. In the beginning of the 80s a terminology group was established to unify fire protection terminology, and Hyttinen participated in the work. TSK was also involved, and in 1984 the Vocabulary of Fire Protection (TSK 6) was published.

    The Government Terminology Service collects, stores, develops and produces terminology that is used in state administration, says Hyttinen. "We provide our clients term service and terminology projects. We are also responsible for the maintenance and development of the administration terminology termbank and for informing about terminology work and training."

    The Government Terminology Service compiles multilingual glossaries in cooperation with special field experts. The representative of the Terminology Service provides terminological expertise and acts as the leader of a project. In addition, experts from each branch of administration and target language translators and native speakers participate in projects.

    The purpose is to find suitable equivalents for Finnish administrative phenomena by comparing the administrative systems of source and target cultures. In each project the content of concepts is agreed on and which terms are used for concepts. In multilingual terminology work the foreign language equivalents are also agreed on. "There are no official or correct translations for administration terms, but they can be agreed on, after the terminology has first been defined in certain entities and harmonized in Finnish" says Hyttinen.

    Terminology work is usually done in separate projects in the Terminology Service. Projects last usually at least a year and the results are published in the Service's publication series. The glossaries have in average 200 concepts, and in addition to Finnish and Swedish they contain usually at least English, German and French.

    Administration is different in every country, and this causes difficulties when own system is described in a foreign language. Foreign cultures do not always have corresponding concepts and equivalents for culture-specific concepts cannot usually be found in general dictionaries. The Terminology Service tries to help both civil servants and private persons in these problems.

    The language of administration is time-dependent. Often it is necessary to know to which period a term belongs before it is possible to define the concept. Civil service titles are one special feature of administration language, and they always cause trouble, because people have so versatile interests when it comes to titles. According to Hyttinen language is a tool for administration. Terminology work provides a more effective tool for those who work in administration.

    New Insurance Dictionary

    The Insurance Glossary (Finnish–Swedish–English) was first published in 1986. Since then new products and services have been implemented and statutory lines of insurance have undergone great changes. Insurance and banking have converged creating new banking and investment terms. The EU has also brought many new expressions.

    Definitions have not been included in the new Insurance Dictionary for practical reasons. First, the old book did not have definitions either, but it has served its users well. Second, it was urgent to have the book ready soon, because the old book was outdated and out-of-print. It would have taken a lot more time and work to add definitions considering that there are more than 6000 Finnish entries. The lack of definitions is somewhat compensated by abundant use of additional information given in brackets, such as information on the line of insurance, law or branch into which the term belongs or in which country the term is used.

    As many terms as possible used in insurance law, literature, insurance terms and conditions and precautionary guidelines have been included in the dictionary. Since insurance business is a long term activity – some insurance contracts are valid for decades – such terms that are not used in current contracts had to be included.

    Insurance business covers and touches almost all sectors of life – economy, technique, medicine, mathematics, law, social security, transportation etc. So it was decided that, in addition to "pure" insurance terms, such terms that are common in insurance texts and such terms that are not so common but for which it is difficult to find equivalents are also included. Therefore there are terms like breeding cow (live-stock insurance) or whiplash injury (medicine) in the dictionary.

    As in many other terminology projects, the different circumstances in different countries formed a remarkable stumbling block in this work, too. There is not an exactly similar social insurance system, pension scheme or accident insurance system in any other country than in Finland, even in the EU there are no two countries which would have identical legislation systems.

    The starting point for the Finnish terms in the Insurance Dictionary is the insurance business, social insurance and legislation in Finland. Swedish terms were chosen on the basis that they are used both in Finland and in Sweden. If a term is used only in either country, this is indicated in brackets. A corresponding note is given for English terms if they are used mainly in Britain or in the USA.

    The Swedish and English indexes contain a small amount of terms that can not be found in the Finnish section. These terms are related to such concepts in Sweden, Britain or the USA that do not exist in Finland. The EU has also brought many new terms into insurance business, and sometimes these terms differ from the ones previously used. The EU terms are marked with (EU) in the dictionary.

    During the project is was noticed that insurance terminology develops all the time. New terms had to be added and old ones had to be checked. It was decided that the dictionary should also be available in an electronic format which would facilitate flexible updating. The Insurance Dictionary was published on CD-ROM in August 2002 and a web version is currently being tested.

    Textile terms into Eurodicautom

    TSK's latest Eurodicautom termbank project started in August in 2001 and was completed in August this year. This time TSK added Finnish terms to two textile files which contained about 3000 term records. Little over half of the work was done at TSK and the rest was given to Inkeri Pylvänäinen who has worked for a long time in the textile branch. The textile files contain terms and designations in many European languages for fabrics, fibres, yarns, looms, needles and different manufacturing and finishing processes for textiles.

    Although the number of term records was not so great as in TSK's earlier Eurodicautom projects, this project had its difficulties, too. One problem was caused by such term records that contained more than one concept. One principle of terminology is that one record contains only one concept, but some textile records were based on a term. A term in a certain language, e.g. English, had been taken as the starting point and the record listed all possible meanings of this term. This kind of approach is problematic when the term is polysemic. One example is the English term Cheviot. It may refer to a breed of sheep, certain wool quality or certain type of tweed. In Finnish there are three different terms for each of these different meanings.

    Term user as terminologist

    Inkeri Pylvänäinen tells about her experiences of completing Finnish terms into Eurodicautom termbank. She had earlier experience in terminology work, she had, for example, participated in compiling TSK vocabularies, but in these projects the approach was different. The starting point in these vocabularies were Finnish concepts which needed equivalents in other languages. In Eurodicautom projects, however, a Finnish equivalent has to be found for terms in other languages.

    According to Pylvänäinen, there were two types of difficult terms in the textile files. On the other hand, terms were unknown to her or were the same or almost the same word in all languages. All term records did not have definitions. On the other hand, there were terms or definitions in different languages that seemed to be contradictory with each other. Luckily it was possible to leave the Finnish field empty if an equivalent could not be found. In contradictory cases Pylvänäinen marked "chosen term is based on x language term/definition".

    There were quite a few expressions for which Finnish equivalents could not be found. For example, there were many designations for local or folk fabrics that have never been used or similar fabrics have never been made in Finland, like South African si-zambi. In these records Pylvänäinen wrote "concept is not necessary in Finland".

    Pylvänäinen was surprised that some of the concepts were very old. The textile files contain e.g. outdated techniques that have not been used for 50 years, like mule.

    Terminology awards

    Nina Pilke, Doctor of Philosophy, was awarded the TFR Award, International Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theoretical/Fundamental Research in the Field of Terminology for her thesis Dynamic specialist concepts. Structuring knowledge concerning actions and events within the fields of technology, medicine and law. This award is granted every second year to a terminology researcher who is considered of having contributed remarkably to the development in the field.

    The TFR Award is an International Terminology Award (ITA). The other ITA is called ARD, International Award for Applied Terminology Research and Development, and the ARD Award is granted every second year alternating with TFR. The award winners receive an award certificate and certain sum of money which was 2000 euros this year.

    In addition to these two awards the Eugen Wüster Prize is granted every third year to a highly esteemed expert of terminology who has contributed to research, training, development of practical methods or improvement of international cooperation in the field of terminology. In addition to terminology, this prize may be granted for documentation, applied linguistics or language planning.

    Vocabulary of Positioning

    TSK's newest vocabulary called the Vocabulary of Positioning (TSK 30) came out in June. The compilation of this vocabulary was a part of the Personal Navigation (NAVI) programme launched in 2000 by the Ministry of Transport and Communications in Finland. NAVI is a research and development programme, and its aim is to study consumers' needs and to develop and test e.g. positioning services and devices. NAVI has several support projects, and it became clear that communication would be easier within and between various work groups if they could agree on common terms to be used.

    The aim of the vocabulary is to clarify the intension of concepts and to give recommendations on Finnish special terms. The vocabulary deals with e.g. positioning systems and methods, services related to positioning and different positioning devices. The emphasis is on positioning based on mobile phones. The vocabulary contains about 100 concepts which are defined in Finnish. Equivalents are given in Swedish and English.

    Since the Vocabulary of Positioning is a special language vocabulary, it shows such differences between terms that would not be necessary to show in the standard language. Such terms are e.g. positioning device and locatable device. A positioning device is able to locate its position by itself, whereas a locatable device cannot necessarily do that, but its position may be defined by a positioning system.

    The Vocabulary of Positioning can be found in

    Terminology management programs

    Mikko Lemmetti writes about his master's thesis Usability of Terminology Management Programs and Databases – a Survey Study. The study was conducted as a questionnaire study which could be answered on the Internet.

    One of the most important features of term databases is the coherence and correctness of terminology. One term in one subject field may mean something else in some other field, so it is important to note clearly to which field a term belongs and to explain it properly. Coherence of terminology in the target language is not self-evident, e.g. in IT business big program and computer manufacturers have different equivalents for one source language term. In many cases term databases contain fields showing which terms are used in connection with certain clients or products.

    Standards for terminology structures and terminology management programs define to a large extent which fields should be included in term records. Standards aim to facilitate terminology management and the transfer of terms between various programs and systems.

    Termbanks should offer up-to-date and correct information. They should be large or contain enough terms of a certain subject field. Terms should be collected from real and suitable sources and contexts, and they should be defined exactly and coherently. The number of data categories in term databases should not be limited, but the users should be able to use so many data categories as they need.

    Databases available on the Internet serve a larger user group than separate programs. Therefore it is important that Internet databases are easy to use and contain good instructions for those who use them for the first time. Unfortunately, the Internet user interfaces are often difficult and slow, although databases are large. In addition to layout and usability, the terminologies need quality control and revision.