Posts Tagged ‘terminology management’

The dream of a terminologist


I’m dreaming of a terminology workbench. A software environment with customizable terminology management work-flow. Such a program should (just like a translator’s workbench for the translation process) automate the different steps of terminology management and information acquisition.

terminology workbench

Which components should be included in a (multilingual) Terminology Workbench?

-WebCrawler with filters
-Lemmatizer, POS-tagger, tokeniser, segmentation tool, (for different languages)
-Word- and sentence alignment components
-Translation memory database and editor
-Textanalysis with linguistic components (word concordance, collocation  patterns, etc.) and a statistical component (frequency, T-score, chi-square etc.)
-Terminology extraction (with customizable filters)
-Terminology database
-Web-based and multi-user interface

To my knowledge, no such tool has been introduced yet. (please let me know if I’m wrong). There are some commercial software packages which include some of these modules in separate programs. But there is simply no tool which includes all the components a terminologist needs using one single interface. It’s such a shame because for each task mentioned above, there is an open source or free software available. So it’s just a matter of taking, say, WebReaper, HunAlign, AntConc, Olifant, Xbench ApSic, GlobalSight, Twente word aligner, OmegaT+, etc. and combine these tools into one powerful Terminology Workbench. 

I do know about two interesting initiatives aimed at the development of a Terminology Workbench but these also don’t include all the functionalities I’ve listed above.

One of these initiatives is TerminoWeb, a research project of the National Research Council of Canada. As we can read on the website “The TerminoWeb project focuses on the development of a technology which will allow, as a medium term objective, the automatic construction of specialized ontologies (i.e. ontologies for specific domains), converging in this way with the study of terminology.” (Source: Website of NRCC)

I’ve had the chance to try this software which is still in development. It has an interesting approach to terminology extraction and corpus management. Some more about my findings maybe in another blog.

The other tool is called IHTSDO Global Health Terminology Workbench which is part of the famous SNOMED CT (Systematized Nomenclature of Medicine — Clinical Terms), “a systematically organized computer processable collection of medical terminology covering most areas of clinical information such as diseases, findings, procedures, microorganisms, pharmaceuticals etc.” (Source: Wikipedia). Unfortunately, I haven’t had a chance to try this one. As far as I know, it’s impossible to download a demo or try it online. The SNOMED CT database with concepts and term descriptions is however online accessible. It is quite impressive!

As I said both projects are interesting and have their merits but the “ideal” Terminology Workbench isn’t there yet. So everyone out there, from providers of language software to the open source community, there is still some work to be done!

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…)


Survey on Terminology Management by SDL

According to a recent survey by SDL, there is a strong link between Terminology and Branding. Big corporations as well as translation professionals recognize the need for effective terminology management and branding.
terminologySDL, the leading provider of TMS (Translation Management Systems), announced the results of its two surveys exploring trends in terminology and branding; the first completed by business professionals and the second by translators. The results clearly identified a strong link between terminology and brand, highlighting the growing awareness of and need for effective terminology management solutions to maintain a consistent global brand. 
You can read the full research paper on this survey at