Arts students Leena Pouttu from the University of Vaasa and Elisa Viita from the University of Tampere worked as trainees in TSK last summer. During the summer they prepared a mini vocabulary on air bags. TSK's director Olli Nykänen supervised their work.
The vocabulary includes air bag terms in four languages. The air bag terms used by vehicle importers and in motor vehicle literature are yet not established. One reason for this is certainly the rapid development in this field, but another reason is that each vehicle manufacturer tries to distinguish from competitors by using different words for air bags and their parts.
The concepts have been defined from a functional point of view in order to include the parts that are essential for the functioning of an air bag system regardless of manufacturers. The most important task was to clarify the position of the term air bag in the concept system. This proved to be difficult, because on the one hand the term is used to refer to the whole air bag system and on the other hand only to the air bag cushion. In this vocabulary the primary meaning of the term air bag is 'air bag module'.
The European Association for Terminology (EAFT) organized the first Conference on Cooperation in the Field of Terminology in Europe in Paris in 17—19 May. According to conference organizers the most important objective of the event was the discussion on different cooperation methods in the field of terminology. The establishment of EAFT's position as a cooperation body for experts working in the field was also one objective.
An excellent example of how to organize terminology work and terminological services efficiently on a national level was given by the representatives of the Catalonian terminology centre Termcat. In Catalonia terminology is a part of the official language policy of the province, and the availability of terminological services in Catalan has been guaranteed by public financing. Termcat coordinates all terminological research and practical terminology work in Catalonia, and its services include e.g. producing terminologies (dictionaries and term databases), consulting and language planning, and standardization of Catalan terms and concepts.
Although Termcat's strong organization and position in Spain is based on the effort to guarantee the status of a small language by the side of a dominant language, the Catalonian example is a good reminder to all the present and future EU member states on how important public terminological services are in preserving national languages and in the equal treatment of member state citizens.
In addition to Catalonians, the Nordic terminology centres received a fair amount of publicity in the conference. Bodil Nistrup-Madsen introduced the organization and activities of the Danish Danterm centre. Virpi Kalliokuusi from TSK and Anna-Lena Bucher from TNC told about the working principles and cooperation traditions of terminology centres in Finland and Sweden.
Many lectures handled questions related to education in the field of terminology, and cooperation possibilities between different educational establishments were discussed. Many European countries have searched for ways to include terminological education more flexibly in the basic degrees of the institutions of higher education.
Nordic Nordterm days were organized in 13—16 June in Gentofte, near Copenhagen. This year's theme was Terminology in the future information society. The purpose of Nordterm days is to spread interest in terminology and terminological information. At the same time it is a forum for Nordic terminologists where they can meet and hear what is happening in the field of terminology in the Nordic countries.
These Nordterm days started with a one day course for those who teach terminology and terminology work. The course aimed at giving new ideas on how to teach terminology. The course started with a lecture by Nelida Chan from Canada. She told about her own teaching method which she uses as a teacher of terminology at the York University in Toronto. Chan emphasized the importance of mapping out the background, needs and expectations of the target group. It is also important to find out why the course participants are interested in terminology. After Chan's lecture different work groups were formed, and they discussed the needs and problems of various target groups, e.g. experts, translators and information specialists.
The main topics for the two day terminology symposium were The use of language engineering applications for terminological purposes and Will the internationalization of science and research decrease the field of application of national languages in the Nordic countries? Especially in Sweden it has been noticed that in some fields scientists communicate with each other only in English, which means that the Swedish terminology in those fields does not keep up with developments. An interesting case in the field of molecular biology was presented by Helena Palm from the University of Stockholm.
Bente Kristensen, chair of Danish terminology group, opened the actual Nordterm meeting by summarizing the challenges and strengths of Nordterm as the turn of the millennium approaches. Kristensen considered as strengths that terminological competence and cooperation between different organizations have increased with Nordterm meetings and courses. New interest groups and special fields have also joined Nordterm work. One of the advantages of Nordterm is that within it researchers, people doing practical terminology work and teachers of terminology have a possibility to "find each other", to exchange ideas and to cooperate with each other.
Virpi Kalliokuusi from TSK will be the next chair of the Nordterm steering group, and the next Nordterm days will be organized in Finland in 2001.
Nordterm-Net is the latest and largest project that has ever been carried out within Nordterm. The idea behind the project was to create a place where those who are interested in terminology can meet, exchange ideas and get information. The project started in the beginning of 1998 and last summer the objective was reached: a web site with information on terminology in the Nordic countries and a term bank, Nordtermbank, were accessible on the Internet.
One of the main principles in the project was to involve the small Nordic languages, too. In this respect, the project was successful, and the Nordterm-Net's web pages are in altogether nine languages: Danish, Faroese, Finnish, Greenlandic, Icelandic, Norwegian, Sámi, Swedish and English.
On the start page of the web site the user chooses the desired language. After this the user may choose between four information channels. Nordterm contains information on the organization, and Nordterm-Net tells about the actual project. Nordterm-Forum contains a great amount of useful terminological information especially relevant to the Nordic countries. The fourth part is Nordtermbank where the user may search for terms free of charge or activate a link to another term bank or terminology collection from a page called Nordic Termbank Gateway.
The intention of Nordtermbank was to have a term database that contains high-quality Nordic terminologies accessible on the Internet. All owners of such electronic terminologies can input their material in Nordtermbank if certain criteria are met. The criteria are that there must be terms at least in one Nordic language and preferably definitions.
A new thing for Nordterm cooperation this time was that the project was a part of the EU's MLIS (Multilingual Information Society) programme. This meant that planning, reporting and cost statements had to be done following the EU's style. For all project participants this meant a lot of administrative work. The EU gives one third of financing for the MLIS programmes, the rest of the money has to be raised on a national level or from the parties concerned. Nordterm-Net's total costs were about 750 000 euros.
The Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities has published a Finnish—German—Finnish version of the Local Government Vocabulary. The purpose of the vocabulary is to unify the German equivalents used for the local government terms. The vocabulary contains about 850 terms with German equivalents and in many cases definitions in German.
The Finnish Standards Association SFS has published terminology standards on the following subjects: types of valves, components of valves, eddy current testing, welded joints, and castors and wheels. These standards may be ordered from SFS.
Terminologi och språkvård
The Nordic Language Council organized a conference on the relationship between language planning and terminology work last autumn. Now the Council has published an article collection of the conference lectures, and it may be ordered from the Council.