Summaries 3/2005

  • Asiakkaalle asiakkaan kielellä / Lena Jolkkonen

  • Virpi Kalliokuusi – TSK:n ystävä kustannusalalta / Terhi Lammi

  • Sijainnin määrityksestä paikkatietopalveluihin – geoinformatiikan sanastoa suomeksi / Lena Jolkkonen & Mari Junkkari

  • Kääntäjät koolla Tampereella / Sirpa Suhonen

  • Nordterm 2005 – sanat vs. termit / Anu Ylisalmi

  • Heinäpuheita ja puuta heinää yliopistoista / Krista Varantola

  • Master Translator Pro – termityötä tukeva käännösmuistiohjelma / Reija Becks

  • Kirjallisuutta

    Client's language

    It is natural for the Finns to think that business is better if the client is served in his or her native language and so understands what is going on. The representatives of small languages are usually more sensitive to this fact than the representatives of dominant languages. The speakers of small languages do not expect that others would learn their language, they will themselves learn other languages. Finns are eager language learners, both in school and free time. There is not necessarily any ideology or love of languages behind this; realists just understand that the knowledge of languages brings a competitive advantage and that this in turn brings money.

    Multilingual terminology work is especially useful for small languages. It is easier to serve the clients with their own language when the essential terms of a certain field can be found in a glossary. The fast retrieval of terms saves a lot of time and money. This efficiency boosts the competitiveness of such a company which does terminology work. Our global world, which is full of information, needs terminology work more than ever.

    Virpi Kalliokuusi – TSK's friend in publishing

    Virpi Kalliokuusi has been the publishing manager in the Dictionary and Educational Materials department of Gummerus Publishers since 2001. Before that she worked 11 years in the TSK.

    Languages have always interested Kalliokuusi, and therefore she started to study French in the University of Helsinki. She spent one year as an exchange student in the University of Toulouse in France. Kalliokuusi found the general linguistics courses of Toulouse so fascinating that the subject became her other minor subject in addition to English. She graduated in 1989, and almost immediately started to work at the TSK in a housing terminology project.

    In 2001 she moved to Gummerus which is the oldest continuously operated publisher in Finland. Gummerus is a general publisher which has both fiction (Finnish and translated) and non-fiction, like hobby books, dictionaries and language books. It is the fourth biggest publisher in Finland with a staff of 30. The dictionary department publishes mainly dictionaries and grammars for adult education and self-teaching. Gummerus has published language books since the beginning of the 1990s, and this activity is increasing all the time.

    As publishing manager Kalliokuusi is responsible for planning the publishing program. She supervises the progress of work and gives advice to editors. "We choose such books for publishing that we believe are in demand. Often they sell well, not always, but this is the normal risk in publishing."

    Kalliokuusi thinks that the best in her work is versatility. In a small office all kind of publishing activities are present. Projects are divided between a publishing editor and manager, and cooperation is close. The hard concurrence between publishers in the small Finnish market makes the work challenging. The work is about languages and language use, and Kalliokuusi thinks this is the most interesting.

    Terminology deals with special languages, lexicography usually with the standard language. In Kalliokuusi's opinion terminological background is very useful in lexicography. "The way of thinking, the attitude towards linguistic expressions and concepts behind them is actually similar, although in terminology the concept comes first and a designation is thought only afterwards. Terminology has also a strong normative approach whereas lexicography is mainly descriptive."

    Gummerus will soon publish the first Finnish dictionary which is directed to children. With the help of this book, children can learn new things and ways to express themselves and also learn to use dictionaries. The latest large dictionary project was the English–Finnish Dictionary published in April, requiring three years of work.

    Nowadays dictionaries are not started from zero; usually there is some material ready. The projects start with the planning of work phases, timetable and financing. All the old entries will be checked, some will be discarded, and new ones will be added. After the first check round, certain points, like terms or some entry selection, will be checked. Next the material is proofread, layout is designed and page proofs are made.

    Dictionaries still sell well, also paper books. Learner's and pocket dictionaries are selling best. "A few years ago it was thought that the use of ordinary dictionaries would end and that people would start using electronic dictionaries, but this has not happened."

    "Feedback from users is too scarce. Usually the feedback is such that a certain word the user needs is missing. This is a great challenge in lexicography: how to respond to the different needs of different users" says Kalliokuusi.

    "Terminology work influences communication in special fields. The TSK has an important role in taking care of the special languages. Information on special languages must be spread, what they are and why they are needed. Native language terms must also be developed so that new information is disseminated to all and not just experts."

    Geoinformatics terminology

    The geoinformatics terminology project, started in the autumn 2004, has now been finished. The Vocabulary of Geoinformatics will be published in September as a part of the TSK's series of publications (TSK 32). The TSK acted as the coordinator and terminology expert in the project. A group of experts included representatives from the Finnish Geodetic Institute, National Land Survey of Finland, the Helsinki University of Technology and the University of Helsinki.

    The purpose of the project was to gather the central terminology of the field together and thus facilitate coherent usage of terms. Another important objective was to create Finnish term recommendations for such concepts that did not yet have them. The language used in the field is in most cases English, so there were not necessarily any Finnish terms or they were unestablished.

    The glossary contains about 140 term records with Finnish terms and definitions and English terms. There are some Finnish–English term pairs with no definitions since in these cases the finding of a Finnish term was considered more important than definitions. Many term records contain information on related concepts so in all there is information on about 200 concepts in the glossary.

    The areas covered are positioning, coordinate reference systems, geographic information (GI), GI systems and services, GI modelling and quality, GI-related geometry and topology. The target group of the glossary are geoinformatics experts, but it is also useful for others struggling with GI terms.

    During the project it became clear how difficult it can be to reconcile different viewpoints and opinions. For different purposes concepts are defined differently, and experts in the field may have different opinions on the content of concepts. One of the objectives of the project was, however, to unify the terminology in the field when it comes to definitions, too.

    Translators in Tampere

    The XVII World Congress of the International Federation of Translators (FIT) was organized in Tampere, Finland on 4–7 August. The latest topics on translation and interpretation were discussed: e.g. copyright, standards and quality, situation of languages of limited diffusion, translator and interpreter training, court interpreting and audiovisual translation. Almost 700 translators, interpreters and others interested in the field participated in the Congress. The theme of the Congress was Rights on!

    Neville Alexander from South Africa told about the language situation in Africa. European languages (mainly English, French and Portuguese) are dominant in many African countries, and often they are also the official languages. Alexander differentiated between the dominance and hegemony of a language. According to him dominance means political, military, economical dominance but hegemony means that people think that their own native language is inferior compared to the dominant language, and Alexander thinks this is even more dangerous than dominance. Language defines the social class of a person. If someone does not know the dominant languages, he or she is and remains ignorant and poor. To improve the status of indigenous African languages the African Academy of Languages has made an initiative on a large-scale translation programme the aim of which is to translate important world fiction and fact into African languages.

    Languages of limited diffusion were discussed in the workshop Translating the Wrong Way organised by Tiina Kinnunen and Liisa Laakso-Tammisto. Translating the wrong way means that the translator translates into a non-native language. This is considered bad by some translation theories and theorists, but in small languages like Finnish it is a must since there are not enough native speakers of other languages who know Finnish well enough. In order to alleviate deficiencies possibly caused by this, translators are trained and translations can be checked by native speakers.

    Terminology was also discussed in the Congress. The TSK's poster dealt with practical terminology work in special fields, and the poster of the Government Terminology Service at the Prime Minister's Office handled the terminology of the Finnish state administration. Language service providers have also noticed that terminology management is becoming more and more important for companies.

    Nordterm 2005 – words vs. terms

    Terminology work and cooperation in the field have long traditions in the Nordic countries. The Nordic terminology forum Nordterm was founded in 1976. It is an open forum for all who are interested in terminology. The Nordterm conference, organized every two years, was held in Reykjavík, Iceland, on 9–12 July. The conference gathered about hundred participants from all the Nordic countries, Faeroe Islands, Greenland, Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerland.

    Before the conference a course on terminology was organized, as usual. This time the theme was the role of terms in special language texts produced for the general public. Merja Koskela and Nina Pilke from the University of Vaasa were the lecturers. Information is popularized for the general public, which means that the information is offered to laypersons in such a way that the level of knowledge of the recipient is taken into account. According to Koskela and Pilke typical characteristics of everyday information are selectivity, generalization, unfinished conclusions, subjectivity and uncriticalness. Scientific information, however, is systematic, objective and critical.

    Jón Hilmar Jónsson, Icelandic dictionary editor, told that the language policy and planning in Iceland have strongly influenced the development of terminology work and terms in Iceland. The Icelandic society has a reserved attitude towards foreign influence on their language, and they try to take care the renewal of the Icelandic language. Glossaries and dictionaries have a very important role in creating new Icelandic words and terms.

    Dietel Rummel from the Translation Centre for bodies of the European Union told about the Inter-Active Terminology for Europe (IATE). The purpose is to create a common terminology database for all EU bodies and to include all existing EU terminologies. IATE will be web-based and fully interactive. It will permit the EU's linguistic staff to participate in the creation and maintenance of terminology, thus making terminology available faster. By allowing for cooperation and coordination between the EU bodies, IATE will reduce duplication of effort and make terminology work more efficient. The IATE database has been used for more than a year now, and most of the objectives have been reached. The database includes 1.4 million concepts and 7 million terms. There are about 330.000 Finnish and 317.000 Swedish terms, whereas there are 1.5 million English terms.

    There were about 30 presentations in the conference e.g. on terminology research and training, practical terminology work, lexicography, translation, ontologies and information retrieval. Anita Nuopponen from the University of Vaasa talked about Japanese loan words and terms. There are Japanese words that have become loan words in Finnish, Swedish and many other languages, like samurai and karate. Usually words and terms are loaned from English or neighbouring languages, whereas Japanese is considered exotic and marginal as a loan source. However, many special fields are based on Japanese words and expressions, like tea ceremony and judo.

    The use of corpora came up in many presentations. Discussions revealed that the problem with corpora is that they are based on the standard language. There is need for special language corpora so that they could be better utilized in terminology work.

    Henrik Nilsson from Terminologicentrum TNC told about a report made on the implementation of a national terminological infrastructure in Sweden. It has been suggested that a terminology portal would be established for those who need terminological information. The most important part of the portal would be a national termbank. It would be an efficient tool for special field experts, companies engaged in foreign trade, media and ordinary Swedish citizens.

    Nordterm's working groups had meetings during the conference, e.g. on the revision of a Nordic glossary of terminology. After the conference there was a sightseeing tour which visited Þingvellir, an ancient court venue where the Icelandic people declared their independence in 1944, Hengill hot spot, place where Reykjavík gets its heating water, and vast lava fields.

    Life, the university and everything

    There happens a lot in and around Finnish universities just now. The new Government Decree on University Degrees has just come into effect, the state of our universities has been evaluated in many reports and heated opinions have been published in the media. When a lot happens, a lot of talk and polemic is generated, as well as many hazy terms, buzz phrases and mantras. Some of the expressions are naturally needed to describe the development and changes taking place whereas others are examples of fashionable and purpose-oriented strategy jargon which sounds fine and up-to-date. A closer look will often reveal that the inventors and re-users of those expressions have not really thought what they are talking about.

    The new law defines a third task, social significance, for universities. So far it has depended on the speaker what social significance is and how it should change the activities of universities. One says that it means that universities ask the business sector what they should teach and stop teaching and researching useless things. The other says that universities should have local influence and do what politicians think is necessary. Universities say that when we teach and study, that is the social significance.

    Metaphors are illustrative but also dangerous if taken too far. When cost-efficiency was started to be demanded from universities, terms loaned from production processes started to be used. Efficiency is usually defined as a way to produce more quantities of products of uniform quality with lesser costs than before. The student became a blank which studies transform into a product. However, the university is not a factory the task of which is to produce bigger and bigger amounts of masters and doctors.

    Translation memory program supporting terminology work

    Master Translation Pro (MTP) developed by Master's Innovations Ltd., a Finnish language technology company, is an English–Finnish–English translation memory program that combines example-based machine translation, artificial intelligence and traditional translation memory. The novelty of the program is its linguistic information with the help of which it can suggest translations although the text is previously unknown.

    The program is designed to support the translator in terminology work, since terms can be saved during the translation process and no separate tools are needed. MTP notices unknown words and opens a window where the user can write the source language equivalent and the term pair will be stored in the program. So the gathering of new words may be done while translating and there is no need to collect words afterwards or to try to find them in text masses.

    The user can choose a special field for the translation, and then the program marks all the new words with this field's tag. It also suggests words from this field first and secondarily from the standard language. The user can add, delete and change words and structures (a logical entity of a few words or a sentence) directly in the knowledge base of the program. The knowledge base also has a user field where the client's name can be entered and a comment field where a usage example may be added.

    Words and structures have a frequency value which grows with use: the greater the use, the bigger the value. The bigger the value, the more likely the program is to choose that word into the translation. In addition to alphabetical order, words and structures may be organized chronologically and the newest additions will be displayed on top of the list. The program contains more than 100.000 words and 90.000 structures.


    Glossary of psychology
    Mirja Kalliopuska has compiled Psykologian sanasto, a glossary of psychology, which contains more than 2300 Finnish terms and definitions on psychology and related fields with English equivalents. The glossary is arranged alphabetically according to the Finnish term.

    Garden glossary
    Kaisa Karjalainen has compiled Puutarhasanasto, an English–Finnish–English garden glossary. It covers garden terms from various plants to insects and garden furniture. The glossary contains more than 4000 entries in both languages.

    Terminology of cultivated plants
    Viljelykasvien nimistö, a terminology of cultivated plants, by Pentti Alanko and Ella Räty offers up-to-date information on Finnish plant names. It contains Latin, Finnish and Swedish names on ornamental and useful plants cultivated in Finland and most important imported fruit and aquarium plants.