This year it will be 25 years since TSK was founded. To celebrate it we will organize a terminology seminar in the end of October. We will also publish a book on the joys and sorrows of terminology work.
However, we will not just party throughout the jubilee year, but we'll have to work hard, too. In this spring we will finish a big job of collecting 20 000 terms for the Eurodicautom term bank. We are also participating in three different projects of the EU's Multilingual Information Society (MLIS) programme: Nordterm-Net, TDCnet and WebIT/EFCOT. National work includes e.g. updating TEPA term bank and our internal term bank, term service and a project on social welfare and health concepts.
The theory of terminology has traditionally emphasized normative terminology work which means e.g. harmonized terminology. However, terminology work connected with translation and interpretation describes the actual language usage, and it takes into account other LSP expressions than just terms, e.g. phrases.
Terminology work can help translators and interpreters to understand the special field in question. Before texts can be translated or interpreted, translators or interpreters must understand the terms and concepts behind the terms. With the use of concept analysis and concept systems they can better deal with something that is new to them.
Terminology work may also facilitate data acquisition and management. Translators and interpreters may use term sources, e.g. term banks and special field glossaries, more efficiently and evaluate the reliability of sources if they are familiar with the principles and methods of terminology work. And once saved, the terms will not disappear and be forgotten.
Terminology work can also be used as a tool for quality assurance. It will improve quality by making sure that terms are used coherently. It is valuable especially in large translation assignments and projects where there are many translators.
A great deal of time in translation is spent in solving term problems. Although terminology work takes time, it will save time in the long run because it will speed up translation. It will also make it easier to train new translators because every new translator doesn't have to start from zero, but can use already existing terminologies.
A term service enquiry was made in the end of 1998 in order to study the status and facilities of TSK's term service. The persons doing term service were interviewed, and an enquiry was sent to a sample of TSK's members and EU's translators and terminologists. Information was also gathered from the Swedish Centre for Technical Terminology (TNC) and statistics were made from those term service answers that are saved in electronic format.
Almost all clients who answered were content with the availability and quickness of the service. However, the EU translators wanted term suggestions and they thought that TSK should contact experts if the needed term is not found in TSK's sources. Most of the respondents felt that the term service is either very important or important.
TSK's terminologists thought that the quality of their answers was quite good, but they felt that it is difficult to give term suggestions. In order to help terminologists to give quality answers and perhaps term suggestions it is recommended that cooperation with subject field experts is increased.
The term service has received 400 — 500 questions yearly. The most asked language is English (49%), the second is Swedish (29%), then come German and French.
TNC offers term service to its clients on quite similar principles as TSK. The biggest difference is that TNC covers about 40% of its costs by government subsidies.
Two major problems were clearly visible in the enquiry. One was that the time actually used for the term service is longer than the time charged from it, and the other was that the costs of the term service greatly exceed the income received from it. Because clients already now feel that the prices are high, it is not possible to raise them. In fact, the only way to improve the financing of the term service is to obtain public funding.
WebIT/EFCOT is a new international project belonging to the MLIS programme. The WebIT part of the project will focus on collecting multilingual terminology used in the localisation of software in a web-based database. TSK participates in the EFCOT (European Forum for Computer Terminology) part, which will seek to establish work groups giving recommendations on new ICT (Information & Communication Technology) terms in the participating countries.
The EFCOT project is based on the idea of the Joint Group for Swedish Computer Technology. Different expert groups work for it and give recommendations on such new ICT concepts that are not yet clearly defined and that lack native designations. In EFCOT this model will be extended: after the recommendations are ready on the national level, the concept descriptions will be translated into English with the objective of harmonizing the contents of the descriptions. The recommendations will be placed on the web site of the EFCOT group, and they can be searched for and used by all users free of charge.
TSK participates in the TDCnet project of the European terminology documentation centres (TDC). The TDCs have remarkable collections of literature and electronic publications on terminology, but the bibliographical details are scattered in different places. The TDCnet's aim is to harmonize the bibliographical databases of these TDCs and gather the information in an electric library on the Internet. So the participating TDCs can offer users more complete information on terminology and term resources.
On the TDCnet site users can find information on whether there are vocabularies on a given special field and in a certain language. In addition, the site will include information on e.g. terminological organizations, events, training, research and standardization. TSK's role is to guarantee that there will be terminological information in Finnish and about Finland in the European Network of TDCs.
The third stage of EMU has started and a new currency, euro, has been born. Although the national currencies are giving way to euro, they are still used as before in everyday life. People will also talk about them long after the transition period. Therefore TSK has compiled a small vocabulary of currencies.
Glossary on the Finnish Government
The glossary includes 136 key concepts on the Finnish system of government. The terms and their definitions together with notes are given in 13 languages: Finnish, Swedish, Danish, English, German, Dutch, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, Greek, Estonian and Russian.
The first edition of this vocabulary of economy was published in 1974. This new edition is already the seventh, revised edition, and it includes e.g. terms connected with the EU. The vocabulary includes more than 3000 Finnish terms related to economy and business economics and their descriptions. Term equivalents can be found in Swedish, English, German and French.
In this issue, there is an index of the articles published and topics dealt with in Terminfo last year.