Summaries 4/1997

  • TEPA-termipankki WWW:ssä / Olli Nykänen

  • Kuvio, kaavio vai diagrammi? / Sari Latva, Olli Nykänen

  • SGML-standardin käyttö sanastojen tallennuksessa / Jari Perkiömäki, Ari Hovila

  • Valtioneuvoston kielipalvelusta / Tellervo Hyttinen

  • Kirjallisuutta

  • Nordterm '97 / Tuula Jonasson

    TEPA termbank on the Web

    TEPA, the termbank of TSK, has been opened for free trial use on the Internet. TEPA contains around 100,000 technical terms with equivalents in 1–5 languages together with tens of thousands of definitions. During the spring of 1998, the number of terms will increase by about 20%; there may also be some changes in the structure of term records.

    TEPA has been available to the public since 1987. At first, the termbank was only accessible via a modem, but later a Telnet connection via the Internet was offered as an alternative. Since the spring of 1996, TEPA has been one of the services of the Otaniemi network of TRIP databases.

    The use of TEPA on the Web will be provided free of charge until the end of May 1998. The layout and functions of TEPA's search page may still change during that time, and we welcome any feedback from the users in order to develop the service. Please, feel free to contact TSK, or the library of The Helsinki University of Technology.

    Chart, graph or diagram?

    Sari Latva, a student at the University of Vaasa, worked as a trainee at TSK during the summer of 1997. As part of her training, she prepared a mini vocabulary of charts used to illustrate statistical data. It was not an easy task even though books and spreadsheet programs are filled with all types of charts. All this material did not, however, easily reveal the appropriate general Finnish term. Finally, kuvio was chosen as the preferred term, with English equivalents chart, graph and diagram.

    When compiling this vocabulary, it became obvious that a more extensive vocabulary of the field is needed as soon as possible. Otherwise, the use of different terms for the same purpose and the same term for different purposes will continue.

    This vocabulary contains 22 concepts representing the various types of statistical charts. Terms are given in Finnish, Swedish, English and German and definitions in Finnish. In addition, most of the charts are graphically illustrated by examples. The vocabulary does not take a stand on which types of charts are good or bad, or what type of information is best illustrated by a certain type of chart. More advice on this subject can be found in the literature dealing with statistics.

    Use of the SGML standard in storing terminologies

    Communication is becoming more and more versatile, and this must also be taken into consideration when storing information. Terminologies, for example, should be stored in a way that renders them easy to convert into various formats for publication without changes in the content. A suitable tool for this is the international SGML standard as discussed in this article by Jari Perkiömäki and Ari Hovila from the University of Vaasa.

    The authors use a baking analogy to make their ideas easier to grasp. Here we need to consider the document type definition (DTD) as the recipe which lists the ingredients (called elements) needed for the dough. The actual ASCII text (or a document instance), then, is the dough prepared according to the DTD recipe. Now the dough has the proper content but it lacks the form. This is intentional; just as you can bake various kinds of rolls or bread using the same dough, you can prepare different formats of the same ASCII presentation to be published on paper or CD-ROM, for example.

    SGML can be used to facilitate terminology searches via the Web and also to automate the publication of terminologies in different media. Accordingly, the authors have prepared a preliminary version of an SGML representation of the Nordic Terminological Record Format (NTRF). This is not, by any means, the only way to do it; in fact, it is possible to prepare several NTRF-compatible SGML applications. Examples are given in the Finnish article to illustrate a term record in NTRF format and the corresponding SGML representation.

    An SGML-based termbank which can be accessed by a Web browser has been constructed in a joint project between the University of Vaasa and Wärtsilä NSD Finland Oy.

    The basic idea has been to build a real-time termbank for a large number of users. No specific database program is used, instead the SGML term records as such make up a "virtual database". Search results are converted into the Web browser format automatically and then displayed to the user. References to superordinate and subordinate concepts are realised by means of automatic hypertext links.

    In general, the authors conclude that Web-based termbanks are likely to bring about a new dynamic hypermedia environment which is inexpensive to use and distribute.

    Terminology Service of the Prime Minister's Office

    Tellervo Hyttinen from the Terminology Service of the Prime Minister's Office gave a talk on the activities of her office at the general assembly of TSK at the end of October.

    The task of the Terminology Service is to standardise the multilingual terminology used in Finnish administration. The language used in administration is highly culture-bound and therefore explanatory translations are often used when equivalents for certain phenomena do not exist in the other culture. The Terminology Service does not, however, have enough resources for translation work. Instead, they gather, organise and store terminology used by others.

    The work, for example in terminology projects, is carried out in co-operation with specialists from administration, translators and native speakers of a given language. By comparing the administration structures of the source and target culture, the project groups try to find suitable translations for Finnish phenomena.

    There is a telephone service offered free of charge and it is available to anyone. You may contact the Terminology Service on weekdays between 8–12 a.m. by telephone: +358 9 160 2058. Any other time you may send your inquiries to VNK / Kielipalvelu, P.O.Box 275, FIN-00171 HELSINKI, Finland, fax: +358 9 160 2163, e-mail:


    Terminologi som vetenskapsgren
    Studentlitteratur has published a book Terminologi som vetenskapsgren which studies terminology as an independent field of research. The main authors of the book are Christer Laurén from the University of Vaasa, Johan Myking from the University of Bergen, and Heribert Picht from the Copenhagen Business School.

    The book discusses the meaning of terminology and its status as a discipline among other disciplines. It also looks critically through the main features of the theory of terminology. Since the book is directed at Nordic readers, the chapters are written in Swedish, Norwegian or Danish depending on the author.

    New publications from RTT
    The Norwegian Council for Technical Terminology (Rådet for teknisk terminologi, RTT) has published two new dictionaries. Forkortningsordbok (RTT 67) consists of more than 5000 abbreviations of various special subject fields. The other new book, Ordbok for byggefag (RTT 68), is a Norwegian–German–Norwegian dictionary of building terms, and it contains about 8000 entries.

    Glossary on Forestry AdministrationT
    he Finnish Prime Minister's Office and the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry have published a Glossary on Forestry Administration (Metsäalan hallinnon sanastoa) which contains names of Finnish forestry authorities, organisations, and regulations, together with related nomenclature. There are more than 300 terms in Finnish, Swedish, English, German, French, Russian and Spanish with descriptions of contents or usage. Some illustrative organisation charts have also been included.

    The Deeper Meaning of Liff
    The book The Meaning of Liff by Douglas Adams and John Lloyd published in 1983 was adapted into Finnish as Elimäen tarkoitus by Silja Hiidenheimo, Kirsti Määttänen, Tuomas Nevanlinna and Tarja Roinila in 1996. It was followed by Elimäen perimmäinen tarkoitus, based on The Deeper Meaning of Liff, in 1997.

    These books assign existing place names to experiences, feelings, situations or objects which, even though familiar, do not have a proper term to describe them. The approach seems to follow the principles of terminology in an interesting manner: you first delimit the concept, then you select a suitable designation for it. In addition to a sense of humour, the reader also needs some knowledge of geography and local customs.

    Nordterm '97

    The traditional meeting of Nordic terminologists, Nordterm '97, was arranged in Kautokeino, Norway, June 24–27. One of the participants, Tuula Jonasson from Statistics Finland, writes about her experiences as a newcomer in Nordterm in this Swedish article.

    Nordterm '97 started with a one-day course in terminology, directed mainly to the Samish participants. The course was followed by a two-day seminar with presentations concerning the various forms of application of terminological principles, current topics of research etc. The last day was left to working group meetings and the Nordterm Assembly.

    As a translator, the author was very interested in how terminology affects the translation, and vice versa. As a matter of fact, a translator must often take the role of a terminologist, too. But ideally, the translators should have a dedicated terminologist to assist them.

    As the membership in the European Union has brought along new challenges to translators, resources and terminological tools should be developed as well. A topic related to this, the development of a Nordic termbank, was also discussed in Nordterm '97. Thanks to modern information technology (e.g. the Internet) and funding options offered recently by the European Commission, the topic is now more actual than ever.

    Nordterm '97 was a nice mixture of the Nordic languages, most of which were understandable to the author, at least to some extent. The social programme was also a success, including some unforgettable cultural events. Now, in the middle of November, it is incredible to think that the sun never set in Kautokeino during Nordterm '97.