Archive for May, 2009

Terminology extraction


Both translators and translation agencies need to invest time in terminology management one way or another. Translators will usually make use of ad hoc terminology research and sometimes also of systematic terminology management in order to specialize in certain subject fields. Translation agencies, on the other hand, may carry out various projects. These project may involve different translators working side by side on one big document or on different texts originating from the same client. Also in this case, it is necessary to use and manage terminology consistently.

Term Extractor

Good terminology management requires efficient and correct terminology extraction (or term extraction) techniques. Term extraction can not only be done after having finished the translation (using bilingual term extraction tools) but also before starting to translate a text. For example, a company terminologist, an employee at a translation agency or a translator can make a term list based on the text and its subject before the actual translation starts. This is useful in order to avoid spending precious time on searching for terms and their equivalents and to avoid terminological inconsistency.

For preparing a translation project and previously providing a term list, one can do a monolingual term extraction using various tools. Unfortunately, automated term extraction both mono- and bilingual rarely yields to satisfying results. The existing term extractors (you can find a short list here or here) are either too expensive or useless… or both!! Besides, most translation agencies and companies don’t have the time and the resources to take care of the tasks of term extraction and terminology management, shifting the responsibility over to the translators (who even have less time and resources).

Luckily, there are some cheap or even free tools which can help translators or companies in analyzing and processing texts and making term lists for major projects semi-automatically. Three of such tools are: Apsic Xbenc, WebCorp and AntConc, but more on this, next time. Have to pack my stuff now,  flying to Canada tomorrow…



To my opinion, TMS (Translation Management System) on a SaaS (Software as a Service) basis is and will be the ultimate solution for small and mid-sized translation agencies trying to remain competitive on the translation marketplace. SaaS provides companies with the option to lease, rather than purchase software with an indefinite number of  licences. It enables remote access (on-line, web-based access) to software which is installed on the provider’s server.

ExacTerm, for instance, offers an on-line TMS for translation agencies at a very low monthly fee. In this TMS, you can store your translation memories, terminology collections and automate your translation process. Sounds nice, but is it safe? How can you make sure that no one else can get to my texts and data? Can you guarantee safety when texts and data are transferred through the web?


Generally speaking, data stored on the provider’s server is more secure than that stored on company servers or PCs. the reason is simply because not many small businesses can afford fully secure, anti-hack and anti-virus systems with backup facilities, emergency power supply and alternative Internet access support. In this respect, SaaS providers are no doubt stronger and better equipped.

Apart from that, there are also other reasons why translation agencies should opt for TMS SaaS.  First of all, the costs of software implementation, set-up and update/ upgrade services are usually included in the overall monthly fees. Secondly, instead of paying per licence, a fee is charged on a monthly basis, making the service much cheaper than using a commercial TMS. Furthermore, the system is flexible enough to be shaped according to the special wishes of the client. And finally, troubleshooting and other related ICT services are done buy the provider, so you save money on those costs as well.

The SaaS model is a perfect solution for translation- and terminology management. SaaS allows small businesses to grow and develop without making huge investments on commercial TMS’s.

The Dutch Network for Terminology


A couple of words on my job. As many of you know, besides working for ExacTerm, I’m also part of the DNT-Team (DNT stands for Dutch Network for Terminology or Steunpunt Nederlandstalige Terminologie in Dutch).


The Dutch Network for Terminology (DNT) was founded in 2007 by the Dutch Language Union, a Dutch-Flemish government institution. The DNT functions as a non-commercial information center for all aspects of terminology and serves the entire Dutch-speaking community. We give advice on terminological research (e.g. on methodology, availability of tools and their use, literature etc.) to anyone who is involved in terminology-related work (companies, organizations, translators, terminologists, teachers, scientists etc.).
On behalf of the Dutch Language Union, the DNT maintains the website NedTerm ( NedTerm provides information on terminology activities (workshops, conferences, etc.) and also includes a bibliography of terminological works, an overview of terminology training courses in the Netherlands and in Flanders, and provides information on standardization issues and on sources for terminology work (e.g. links to term collections freely accessible on the Internet).

 The DNT also organizes terminology trainings and workshops for translators and master classes for scientists and language experts on different subjects relating to terminological research (thesauri, ontologies, semantic web applications, etc).

Besides organizing in-depth study days, we are also offering practical solutions to our targeted group. One example is an Ad hoc terminology course, a methodology I have summarized on this Blog a couple of days ago.

If you want more information on the DNT and our working methods or you are searching for partners for a Terminology project, feel free to contact me.

Terminology Management is hot


Terminology management is becoming more and more popular, at least that’s what some recent reports and surveys confirm.

The UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UNISDR) agency released its 2009 Terminology Report. Its goal is “to promote common understanding and common usage of disaster risk reduction concepts and to assist the disaster risk reduction efforts of authorities, practitioners and the public.”


SDL conducted a survey on terminology management (see my previous blog on this). Its 330 respondents included business and localization professionals predominantly in the IT, software, and manufacturing sectors. According to the results, 95 percent of those taking the survey “recognized the necessity to have the appropriate processes in place to manage their terminology and localization terminology,” but that they often found inconsistencies in the source content. Participants in the survey linked terminology to maintaining brand consistency and increasing productivity.

A survey of the Common Sense Advisory on “How to Avoid Terminology Mismanagement” define the terms used in terminology management, flags the most common technology solution, and enumerates practical requirements for choosing a software solution.A

And finally, another report of the Common Sense Advisory, the Case for Terminology Management, based on interviews with corporate and government terminologists also emphasizes the importance of terminology management in a corporate environment.

(Well, just a footnote: if companies finally realize how important terminology management is for growing and reaching foreign markets as well as making internal and external communication possible, maybe they should also start thinking about SHARING THEIR TERMINOLOGY! More on this maybe another time…)