Terminology in Everyday Life by Marcel Thelen and Frieda Steurs (Terminology and Lexicography Research and Practice: John Benjamins Publishing Company) contains a selection of fresh and interesting articles by prominent scholars and practitioners in the field of terminology based on papers presented at an international terminology congress on the impact of terminology on everyday life. The volume brings together theory and practice of terminology and deals with such issues as the growing influence of European English on terminology, terminology on demand, setting up a national terminological infrastructure, the relevance of frames and contextual information for terminology, and standardization through automated term extraction and editing tools. The book wants to demonstrate that terminology is of everyday importance and is of interest to everyone interested in the theory and practice of terminology, from terminologists to computer specialists to lecturers and students.
Excerpt: This volume contains a selection of papers that were presented at the international conference on terminology that was organised by NL-Term (the Dutch-Flemish Association for Dutch Terminology) in close cooperation with the Department of Translation and Interpreting' of Lessius University College Antwerp, and under the auspices of the Nederlandse Taalunie (the Dutch Language Union, a cooperation between the Dutch and Flemish Ministries of Education and Culture to promote the Dutch language).
As an association whose aim it is to bring together individuals and institutions working with, doing research on or just being interested in terminology, NL-Term regularly organises symposia on topics of relevance to terminology. This conference is a new initiative of NL-Term and was the first of a series of international conferences on a tri-annual basis.
The conference took place on 16 and 17 November 2006 at Lessius University College in Antwerp (Belgium). The local organisation was in the hands of the Department of Translation and Interpreting of Lessius University College. The title of the conference was "Terminology and Society. The impact of terminology on society". The conference was preceded on 13 November by a workshop organised by TermNet on terminology planning and policies.
The main aim of the conference was to contribute to the efforts of the European Association for Terminology (EAFT) and other national and international organisations to create platforms for the exchange of information on advances in terminology science and its applications.
The conference had an impressive international audience of participants from professional terminology bodies and companies, to translators and interpreters, and universities teaching terminology. It brought together theory and practice, terminology and translation & interpreting, larger and smaller languages and
various fields of application. The conference together with the pre-conference workshop was preceded by a two-day international conference of EAFT in Brussels. Together, these formed the "semaine beige de la terminologie", a unique one-week international platform on terminology, initiated by the Department of Translation and Interpreting of Lessius University College.
The fact that two terminology associations, i.e. a binational one - NL-Term - and a European one - EAFT - both had an international conference on terminology in one week and that this was made possible for a great part by a university teaching translation and interpreting, viz. the Department of Translation and Interpreting of Lessius University College, together with the large number of international participants at the "Terminology and Society" conference, but also the fact that many participants from the first conference took part in the second, shows that terminology is alive and that terminology needs to be taken seriously as it has a great impact on everyday life, which was precisely the main theme of this conference.
Conceptual systems differ from country to country, from company to company, which may result in confusion of ideas or communication glitches. It is not uncommon for users in different places to coin entirely new terms, derive terms from existing ones whose meanings may or may not overlap, or to attach new meanings to existing terms.
Words are important carriers of meaning and form an essential part of communication. Ambiguous terminology has been known to engender miscommunication, which in its turn may have any number of potential, damaging consequences.
In our increasingly global, international world, effective and unambiguous communication between a motley crew of potential partners has become crucial. Our growing mobility and migratory lives have made intercultural communication a very hot issue indeed, and given it a strategic, political function.
Terminology plays a part in a huge array of communication situations and is used to discuss a vast number of subjects by myriad communication partners.
The international information society has created a huge demand for multilingual technical, scientific and legal documents, and the consequences for translation can hardly be denied.
Translating job specific texts massively stimulates both the language industry and language technology. Even with maximally deployed human resources, the demand cannot be met. A huge amount of translating, localizing and publishing work is waiting to be done. We are set increasingly tight deadlines, while the number of languages into which documents are to be made available keeps on growing.
The world of multilingual communication is a perfect barometer of this. From an economic point of view, the market for translation, interpreting, multilingual document management and so-called language services is worth billions. Inside(EAFT) and national terminology associations such as NL-Term in the Netherlands and Flanders. Important, on a policy level, is the fact that those infrastructures receive the support of their national governments.
The contributions in this book all deal with terminology and in particular its central role in society, which was the theme of the international conference "Terminology and Society. The impact of terminology on everyday life".
Some papers were written as research papers (e.g. Bertacinni and Massari), while others present research projects in their initial stages (e.g. Garcia and Reimerink). Again others are of a more general nature (e.g. Fóris). What all these papers have in common, however, is that they demonstrate that terminology is important for everyday life in many respects. The book consists of 4 main sections, each dealing with a different aspect of the central theme.
Section I, terminology and smaller languages, is the largest section and contains five papers. The first paper by Bertaccini and Massari (Synonymy and variation in digital terrestrial television: is Italian at risk?) deals with a new system of broadcasting by television, Digital Video Broadcasting over Terrestrial (DVB-T), that, because it is interactive, allows the user to become an active user instead of a passive consumer. The authors describe an investigation into the terminology of this new technology in Italian and French, not typically smaller languages, but nevertheless smaller in comparison to English. They found that Italian and French still lack a sufficient terminology for this field, and that English is used as the lingua franca, making it possible that the technical knowledge about the field is circulated internationally, but at the same time creating a barrier for those people who are not proficient enough in English. Fischer (Language (policy), translation and terminology in the European Union) discusses the translation and terminology work at the European Union, in particular the EU policy on translation and terminology and their impact on the work done. She distinguishes between "multilingual term creation within one conceptual system" (viz. the EU conceptual system) and "term transfer between different systems" (viz. the conceptual systems of member states). EU-level terms are first created in a limited number of languages (primary term creation), and only then through translation in other languages on the basis of these primary terms (secondary term creation). In her view, translation plays a role in "multilingual term creation" only, and not in "term transfer" because here only existing equivalents have to be found. Because of this way of working, EU-level translations may have an impact on the official languages of the member states. Fóris (The situation and problems of Hungarian terminology) argues for the need for Hungarian terminology to develop quick and well-founded terminological classifications, since the rapid scientific and technological developments alongside with economic and political changes going on in Hungary and the broadening of conceptual systems of a number of areas (such as services, administration and education) make this necessary for lack of Hungarian counterparts. In this paper she describes the current state of Hungarian terminology and the problems that have to be solved. Muráth (Translation-oriented terminology work in Hungary) deals with the same topic, i.e. terminology in Hungary, though from a different perspective. She describes how in particular bilingual and multilingual terminology in Hungary was neglected as a discipline of linguistics for the last 20 years, and that now translation-oriented terminology is taking over. In her paper she outlines the history of this type of terminology in Hungary including the parties involved in its development and then discusses a number of examples and problems faced on the basis of examples from the social sciences. In doing this, she compares Hungarian and German. The last paper in this section is by Nilsson (Towards a national terminology infrastructure - the Swedish experience). Nilsson gives an outline of the Swedish Centre for Terminology (TNC) and describes its programme, TISS - Terminology Infrastructure for Sweden. Two of the main components of TISS are a terminology portal containing a national term bank -the "Rikstermbanken", and a terminology coordination programme. In this respect, TISS resembles the Dutch-Flemish terminology policy of the Dutch Language Union (Nederlandse Taalunie). TISS is an adequate answer to problems that smaller languages face as regards their language and their national terminology.
The theme of Section II is best practices in terminology management from different points of view. It consists of four papers. The first one, by Dobrina (Terminology on demand: maintaining a terminological query service), describes the terminological query service of the Swedish Centre for Terminology (TNC). One of its most interesting features is that this service includes "terminology on demand", a query system where tailor-made terminology is called for. The system also handles terminology-related questions. Dobrina gives a detailed description of the procedures of this service, but also of the demands posed on the staff. The TNC seems, thus far, to be unique for this query system. The second paper in this section, Frames, contextual information and images in terminology: A proposal by Garcia de Quesada and Reimerink, analyses and evaluates a number of possible applications of the Berkeley FrameNet project - originally put forward by Fillmore et al. (2003) - and the Spanish FrameNet, to the area of coastal engineering. In their proposal, they group together images and texts on coastal engineering in accordance with these "Fillmorian" frames. In this way, they are able to draw conclusions about the syntactic contexts of the various terms, the semantic characteristics of the contextual items of these terms, and the place of the terms in a network of related terms. On the basis of these findings, they give a number of suggestions for the actual presentation of data to the end user of a term base on coastal engineering. The third paper in this section, by Korkas and Rogers (How much terminological theory do we need for practice? An old pedagogical dilemma in a new field), deals with what terminology training as part of a (postgraduate) translation programme should/could entail. At the heart of the problem is the question what should/could be the ideal division between theory and practice in terminology training. Before answering this question, the authors dwell on the questions of what can be understood by theory, and what elements of this theory should be taught. These are the questions that every terminology lecturer has to find an answer to. They propose to include at least the term-word distinction, and the format of definitions and contexts. Then they discuss how theory could be linked to practice. The core of this link, they suggest, is problem solving. The fourth and last paper in this session, (Ontological support for multilingual domain-specific translation dictionaries) by Temmerman and Geentjens, proposes a multilingual terminological translation dictionary where the terminological content makes use of knowledge representation for the description of terms. As a good example of such a dictionary the authors outline the dictionary produced by Dancette and Réthoré (2000), Dictionnaire Analytique de la Distribution. Analytical Dictionary of Retailing. For such a dictionary that includes knowledge representation, they use the termontography method developed by Temmerman, which uses ontological models for the representation of terminological information. The field analysed is the automotive field and the languages studied are English, French, German, Dutch and Italian.
The theme of Section III is exploring possibilities of terminological databases for different applications. It contains four papers. The first one, by Dubroca Galin, Flores Garcia, Collin Meunier, and Delbarge (In praise of effective export terminology), presents a project on export terminology. The project aims at describing the terminology used to market local products in their countries of origin and the terminology transfers in translated international trade documents. The authors describe such examples as the Spanish Armuña lentils and the French fois gras and pralines. The project outlines the transfers from Spain to French-speaking European countries and vice versa. The project shows that promotional terminology is an extremely important but difficult type of terminology since it changes constantly, unlike other types of terminology. The next paper in this section, by Foo and Merkel (Computer aided term bank creation and standardization - Building standardized term banks through automated term extraction and advanced editing tools), argues that for authoring and translating, standardised term banks are indispensable in terms of terminological consistency and avoidance of confusion and frustration on the part of the audience. To fill such standardised term banks requires a lot of manual labour. Term extraction may reduce this, but even then a lot of manual post-extraction work is needed. To overcome this and reduce the amount of manual labour even further they propose a method that combines efficient editing tools (alignment and alignment-related tools) and the criterion of quality or relevance of extracted candidate terms. In this way, they will be able to detect terminological inconsistencies and to build a standardised term bank. Such a term bank can be a good instrument for quality assurance. Kerremans, De Baer, and Temmerman (Competency-based job descriptions and termontography. The case of terminological variation) continue this section and deal with competence management as part of HRM in large companies. Competences play an important role in job descriptions, job planning and staff evaluation. Consistency and standardisation of competences and their descriptions are essential especially since more and more competences and competence-based job profiles are communicated by automatic exchange through a semantic web environment. Competences typically include knowledge, skills and attitude. They discuss a project, PoCeHROM, that tries to reduce terminological confusion over competences by standardisation. For this they make use of termontography, which is a combination of sociocognitive terminology and ontology engineering. The last paper in this section is Proposals to standardize remote sensing terminology in Spanish by Sanz Vicente, and Garcia Palacios. The language of investigation in this paper in Spanish. In the area of remote sensing, Spanish has not been able to catch up with English as regards the terminology of remote sensing, with the result that Spanish is full of English terms. In this paper, the authors propose a methodology for the creation and standardisation of Spanish terms for the remote sensing domain. This methodology is the result of close cooperation between terminologists, linguists, and domain experts. It is based on communicative linguistics and corpus-based terminology and aims at (1) facilitating communication, and (2) help translators and interpreters with text comprehension and text production in the domain.
Section IV deals with terminology in a medical setting, and contains two papers only. The first of these, The PERTOMed Project: exploiting and validating terminological resources of comparable Russian-French-English corpora within Pharmacovigilance by Bousquet and Zimina, discusses a multidisciplinary project by a number of institutions in France, PERTOMed, designed to study a number of areas including pharmacovigilance, i.e. "the collecting, monitoring, researching, assessing and evaluating information from healthcare providers and patients on the adverse effects of medications". Terminology plays a crucial role here. One of the objectives of the project was to build a specialised internet corpus (in Russian) on pharmacovigilance. In doing this, the authors tested a number of term extraction tools that were applied to comparable multilingual texts. The result of the project is a trilingual Rusian-French-English database freely available on the PERTOMed server. This section is concluded by a paper by Sambre and Wermuth (Instrumentality in cognitive concept modelling). The central theme of this paper is the associative relation of instrumentality in multidimensional terminological definitions. The field of investigation for this paper was the medical subdomains of microsurgery and cardiosurgery, and the data were assembled in a German-French multidisciplinary corpus. Instrumentality is an important concept in medicine, in particular in the two domains of investigation. As an associative relation, instrumentality is defined only rather superficially in linguistics and terminology, especially its syntactic, grammatical and lexical heterogeneity. The authors argue that an approach in line with cognitive grammar yields more detailed descriptions capable of handling instrumentality more satisfactorily. In their paper they outline the investigation done and summarise its results. They conclude by a number of recommendations both for terminology and terminological software tools.
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