The Finnish Terminology Centre TSK celebrated its 30th anniversary with an afternoon symposium in October. In this issue there are articles and photos of the party.
Nordterm organized a symposium on the marketing and teaching of terminology work in Stockholm in October. There were about twenty terminologists from all Nordic countries. Evert Gummesson, a professor of economics at the Stockholm University, lectured on the marketing of information companies. He emphasized e.g. the use of common sense and the importance of networks in business-to-business marketing. Hanne Erdman Thomsen told about the teaching of terminology in the Copenhagen Business School, and Nina Pilke from the University of Vaasa discussed her experiences in using the terminological way of thinking as a teaching method in different subjects.
The TSK's election meeting was also held in October. One member in the board of directors will change next year. Antti Rainio will be replaced by Matti Ojala from STAKES, the National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health.
Warm Christmas season for all Terminfo readers!
Terminologicentrum TNC's (the Swedish Centre for Terminology) Managing Director Anna-Lena Bucher has a long career in the TNC, starting from 1973.
As a child Bucher dealt with special field terminology without knowing it. Her parents worked in a small dairy, and she learnt the names for different equipment and other dairy terms. Later, when she studied Swedish, English and history, she found the defining of things interesting.
"The TNC's vision is to create smooth communication in the whole Swedish society by offering terminological services and products and by promoting terminology," Bucher states. She thinks that those gentlemen who founded the TNC in the 1940s were very far-sighted; the idea of establishing a terminology centre was very modern, since its services are still needed all the time in new contexts.
The need for terminological information has spread from the field of technology to other fields, too. Bucher says that the need for special terminology in health care and public administration has clearly increased. When Sweden became a member of the EU in 1995, Swedish equivalents for the EU terms had to be created quickly.
When public administration started to develop web services and exchange information electronically, order and especially clarity in terms and concepts were needed. Bucher thinks that the terminological development has just started properly. "If terminologists manage to sell themselves in the right way and noticeably, many will realize that our services and competence are needed a lot in the Swedish society," Bucher concludes.
The TNC has several assignments from the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare, e.g. a project on the data processing in biobanks. They have also received a special grant for testing the EU's term bank program IATE in order to see if it could be used as national term bank. The TNC has also organized a study programme on terminology and languages for special purposes in the Stockholm University.
Bucher tells that there has been competition in the field of terminology only for the last 5 or 6 years. Firms selling concept analyses, concept modelling and terminological investigation have been founded. Bucher does not find competition bad because it has forced the TNC and its personnel to manage new fields and learn new things.
The dominant status of the English language has aroused questions and concern in many countries. Bucher considers English very important language, but Swedish terms should also be maintained, developed and strengthened taking into account new and narrow special fields, too. Bucher is especially concerned about the use of English in education. In many cases, the schools and universities have their teaching and course material in English. "English should be taught in schools and it should be a subject of lifelong learning, but this should not happen at the expense of Swedish," Bucher says. Terminologists have a challenge to compile glossaries that act as bridges between the Swedish language and the English terms used in course material.
Bucher emphasizes how important Nordic cooperation is to the TNC. All Nordic countries are good at slightly different things, and exchanging experiences means the learning of new things.
Since 2000, Bucher has worked as the managing director of the TNC and taken care of administrative tasks, like writing reports and meeting the TNC's board of directors. In addition to this, she wants to take part in terminology work, to answer term questions and to hold presentations and courses on terminology.
Medicinska språkgruppen, a work group for the Swedish language of medicine, was founded in 2001. The reasons for founding this group were a certain concern about the development of the Swedish medical language in Finland and a need to connect the development with the medical language used in Sweden.
The work group consists of a board and a reference group. The reference group consists of both experts from medicine and health care, and persons who deal with medical terms for some reason. Naturally many Swedish speaking participants are involved, but there are persons e.g. from the Finnish Medical Society Duodecim.
The most important task of the group is to develop correct Swedish medical language used in Finland and to try to ensure that the Swedish terminology used in Finland would be coherent with the terminology used in Sweden. There is a big risk in Finland that Finnish terms are just translated into Swedish word by word without checking actual Swedish terminology or proper language usage. Development in medicine is exceptionally fast, and new terms will be established more or less at the moment they are created. Therefore it is crucial to find the adequate and correct Swedish equivalents in a reasonable time. In order to develop and use the Swedish medical language spoken in Finland as a scientifically valid language also outside Finland, we have to be able to accept Swedish terms used in Sweden.
The Swedish language work group gives its opinions on medical issues and answers questions on the medical language. A selection of the questions is placed on the group's web site (www.kotus.fi/svenska/sprakvard). The group works also on the revision and combining the two Finnish–Swedish word lists of health care.
The TSK started a new terminology project on the assignment of the Finnish Geodetic Institute. The purpose of the project is to gather the central terminology of geoinformatics, i.e. the science researching geographic information (GI) and GI systems, into one publication. Due to the international nature of GI, the terminology is largely in English and there is clearly a need for Finnish terms and coherent definitions.
About hundred concepts will be defined and given Finnish term recommendations and English equivalents. In addition, about fifty non-defined Finnish–English term pairs will be included. The areas covered will be positioning, GI systems and services, spatial data modelling, GI metadata and quality.
In addition to the Geodetic Institute, there are representatives in the work group from the Institute of Cartography and Geoinformatics at the Helsinki University of Technology, National Land Survey of Finland, Department of Geography and Department of Forest Resource Management at the University of Helsinki. The TSK's terminologists Mari Junkkari and Lena Jolkkonen manage the project.
Finnish universities want international students, and the Helsinki University of Technology (HUT) is no exception. The goal of the HUT's international operation strategy is that in 2005 about 10% of the intake would be foreigners. This goal will not be achieved unless more teaching is given in English.
The degree reform that takes place next year, offers excellent possibilities to widen the teaching conducted in foreign languages. This so called Bologna Process means that the HUT will also adopt a two-stage degree system. In the three-year bachelor's degree students will be given basic technological skills, and the two-year master's degree will make the bachelors experts in their professions. Teaching in the bachelor stage will be in Finnish, but it is hoped that the master stage will include study modules in English. For Finnish students this means studying advanced studies in a foreign language. The reform is a challenge also for teachers because their English must be good enough for lecturing.
Globalization is already a fact. Many Finnish companies operate outside Finland and use English as their internal language. It is then perhaps quite proper that students obtain international education. But is everything alright, then? If teachers, students and engineers talk foreign languages, who takes care of Finnish terminology and is able to invent Finnish terms for new technologies?
Terminology work should be promoted more in the HUT. It has the best prerequisites to care for our national language and to make the students, the future business managers, to assume a right attitude, i.e. to maintain Finnish even if the business is global.
The 30th anniversary of the Finnish Terminology Centre TSK was celebrated with an afternoon symposium on the 6th of October. The theme was the unifying force of a common language and clear communication.
Ari Muhonen, the chairman of the TSK's board of directors, welcomed all in the symposium. The opening speech was held by Sakari Karjalainen, Director of the Department for Education and Science Policy in the Ministry of Education. He reminded that when the TSK was founded thirty years ago, the trust in technology was strong. But instead of conquering the space, people conquered the Earth with the help of information technology. "Language is the medium of communication and thinking with which we understand the world", Karjalainen said. It is a prerequisite for all communication that we have common terms. Today the main language of technology is English, but if we used only English, we Finns would loose our identity and our integrity.
The role of national languages in universities now and in the near future was discussed by Krista Varantola, the Rector of the University of Tampere. When people talk about the status of Finnish or national languages, language use and decay or the language proficiency of Finns, English is also always discussed in the same connection. According to Varantola, there are two approaches: the policies of preventing and enabling. Especially France applies the policy of preventing by trying to prevent English words and impact in French. In the other end there are those Finns who support the speaking of English, because they think that nothing else promotes the recognition of Finland in the globalized world.
"What kind of language policy should we pursue in Finnish universities?" Varantola asked. The Ministry of Education has suggested that the number of international students in Finnish universities should be increased and the amount of teaching given in English, too. "Why should we educate international students free-of-charge if we do not wish them to stay in Finland?" Varantola pondered and continued "But what language they should speak? Only English?" We could increase the teaching of Finnish to foreigners, and share Finnish with them by speaking it with them.
Petteri Taalas, Director General of the Finnish Meteorological Institute, remembered warmly his cooperation with the TSK in complementing the Eurodicautom term bank with Finnish meteorological terms. According to Taalas, English has also conquered the field of meteorology, about 95% of the Finnish research papers are written in English. Popularized reports and teaching is in Finnish, though.
Jorma Laaksonen, Doctor of Science in Technology at the Helsinki University of Technology, continued on the subject. His experience is that Finnish terminology is created all the time in the academic world. Laaksonen told about the Pattern Recognition Society of Finland which has published two glossaries on image processing and pattern recognition and is currently working on revising them. These subjects have become or are becoming common with the spreading of digital cameras, digital television broadcasting and bio recognition systems. In order to explain and understand these things, words in national languages are needed.
"With a language a person joins with others and distinguishes from others" Pirjo Hiidenmaa, Head of the Language Planning Department at the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland, started her presentation in the symposium. She said that at the moment Finnish has it better than ever: new subject fields and terminology enter the Finnish language all the time. But according to Hiidenmaa, too, English is diminishing the use of Finnish and other strong national languages. Should our language then be protected? Hiidenmaa said that the best protection for a language is to use it. A language lives only in humans and in communities. Today law and passport control are no longer symbols of a national state but language and culture are.
Terminologicentrum TNC's Managing Director Anna-Lena Bucher was the last speaker of the symposium. She told about the history of the TNC, and how it was a model for the TSK when the TSK was founded. The TNC's biggest owner is SIS, the Swedish Standards Institute, with a 46% share. About 60% of the TNC's yearly budget is publically funded by the Swedish Ministry of Industry, Employment and Communications. Bucher also told about the investigation to establish a terminological infrastructure in Sweden. Cooperation is vital for the building of an infrastructure: all authorities, institutions and companies should have a person who is responsible for terminology work. An essential element of the infrastructure would be a national term bank.
It is customary to look back and to remember the past during anniversaries. Besides entertaining, it is also useful to get to know one's background. Since it is the TSK's practice to use experts in all terminology work, we asked the TSK's former directors, Heidi Suonuuti, Olli Nykänen and Virpi Kalliokuusi, to participate in the reconstruction of our association's history. It was decided that the history would be presented in the form of a "wall of bricks" exhibition in the TSK's 30th anniversary. Each brick memorialised some important event or achievement of the TSK.
Tekniikan Sanastokeskus ry (the Finnish Centre of Technical Terminology) was founded in 1974, and in the same year 21 members joined the association. During the first years, the TSK worked closely with the predecessor of the Research Institute for the Languages of Finland, e.g. the TSK's first employer was employed by the Institute. The first full-time director Heidi Suonuuti, Master of Science in Engineering, came into the TSK's service in 1978. The cooperation agreement with the Research Institute lasted until 1993, when the association started its independent life.
The TSK's central success element has always been the use of methods based on the theory of terminology. The TSK has had an active role in developing the methods, in 1991–1996 Suonuuti was the chair person of ISO/TC37, the technical committee of the International Organization of Standardization dealing with terminological issues.
The vocabularies produced by the TSK present a concrete result of the work. The first vocabulary in the TSK's series of publications was the Vocabulary of Telecommunication in 1981. Today there are in all 31 TSK publications. In addition, the TSK has participated in many other projects.
One of the early activities was the terminological service. It is still carried out, but its importance has diminished, with the search possibilities facilitated by the Internet. Courses given by the TSK form another early activity.
The TSK has always considered informing about terminology one of its main tasks. The TSK's newsletter was published for the first time in 1981. The newsletter, now called Terminfo, contains articles on terminology work, both from the point of view of practical work and of teaching and research. The TSK's library contains about 4000 works, mainly dictionaries and subject field glossaries.
Today, the information technology is taken for granted in almost all jobs. This has not long been the case, e.g. the TSK obtained its first computer for storing vocabularies in the middle of the 1980s. A storing method was developed in the TSK based on the Nordic term record format. TEPA term bank was opened in 1987 to be used with a modem connection. Ten years later it became available free-of-charge via an Internet interface. A year before that, in 1996, the TSK had opened its web pages on the Net.
Cooperation in Finland, Nordic countries and internationally has been a part of the TSK's activities from the beginning. The production of high-quality vocabularies calls for close cooperation with subject field experts. Nordic Nordterm Forum was founded in 1976, and Nordterm conferences have been organized every two years ever since. Terminology projects for the European Commission in the latter half of the 1990s form a significant phase in the TSK's recent history. A remarkable amount of Finnish terms were added in the Commission's Eurodicautom term bank.
One of the newest events in our history is the change of our name in 2004. The new name Sanastokeskus TSK (Finnish Terminology Centre TSK) reflects the development that has taken place during the years: the TSK's expertise is also offered to other subject fields than technology. The other change allows private persons to become the TSK's members in addition to organizations. The effects of this change can perhaps be estimated when the association will be 35 years old.
The history exhibition (in Finnish) will be published on the TSK's web pages before Christmas.
The newest publication of the Government Terminology Service at the Prime Minister's Office is the Finnish Government Glossary. It contains 153 key concepts on the work and history of the Finnish Government and terms and definitions in 13 languages (Finnish, Swedish, English, Danish, German, Greek, Spanish, Estonian, French, Italian, Dutch, Portuguese and Russian). The relations between concepts are illustrated with concept diagrams.Terveydenhuollon sanasto
This bilingual (English–Finnish–English) glossary on health care compiled by Paula Nieminen and Kristiina Hyrkäs covers different levels of the health care organization, fields of health sciences and degree titles. The glossary contains also terms on relating fields, like social sciences, psychology, education, administrative science, qualitative and quantitative research and statistics.Oikeuselämän lyhennesanakirja
This dictionary on legal abbreviations by Heikki E. S. Mattila, Anne Jussila and Outi Kaltio is compiled to ease the understanding of abbreviations used in the Finnish law, and it is based on the frequency of abbreviations. The frequency study helps the user to see if an abbreviation is established. The dictionary contains about 3000 abbreviations and has three indexes. In the abbreviation index the abbreviations have been written in full. The index term list serves a user who considers the use of some abbreviation. In the chronological index the abbreviations can be searched for on the bases of a statute number.Suuri lyhennesanakirja
This dictionary on abbreviations by Timo Nurmi contains almost 9000 Finnish and international abbreviations or acronyms with explanations. The book is compiled to help the understanding of the ever increasing number of abbreviations. Sometimes abbreviations are better-known than the designation they refer to. The origin, source language and Finnish meaning are given for each abbreviation. The recommended forms of abbreviations are mentioned in the book, and it gives some advice on how to create and use abbreviations.New standards
The Finnish Standards Association SFS has published standards SFS 3384 Household electrical appliances. Vocabulary and SFS-EN 14182 Packaging. Terminology. Basic terms and definitions. The purpose of the household appliance standard is to harmonize the Finnish terminology used on household appliances, their accessories and structure. The Finnish terms are given Swedish and English equivalents, and there are German equivalents for some appliances. The standard contains also alphabetical indexes for appliances in all four languages. The packaging standard defines 13 packaging concepts in Finnish and English, and gives the equivalents also in French and German. It also contains 12 terms and their definitions from the Packaging and Packaging Waste Directive.
Detailed publisher and order information can be found in the Finnish article.