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Solving the terminology puzzle, one posting at a time

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    Barbara Inge Karsch - Terminology Consulting and Training

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Archive for the ‘J.D. Edwards TDB’ Category

TKE 2010—A Short Report

Posted by Barbara Inge Karsch on September 2, 2010

TKE (International Conference of Terminology and Knowledge Engineering) was recently held in Dublin. The title this year was “Presenting Terminology and Knowledge Engineering Resources Online: Models and Challenges”. Here are my thoughts on three presentations on large database projects and one workshop.

focal.ieOne of the invited talks was given by Michal Boleslav Měchura and Brian Ó Raghallaigh who are the technical brains behind the Irish National Terminology Database that serves a stunning 600,000 users. Much like the Rikstermbanken of the Swedish Center for Terminology discussed in Quantity matters, this project makes a (corporate) terminologist’s mouth water for its funding. According to the project website, there are no fewer than 18 people on the project team. Michal shared how the team is using statistics and user feedback to improve the search capabilities, the user interface, and the data presentation.BACUS

BACUS (Base de Coneixement Universitari) is a terminology database created at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona by students as part of their course work. Students work with subject matter experts to create entries in at least three languages. Two of them must be languages taught at the Faculty of Translation and Interpreting: Catalan, Spanish, English, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, or Japanese. The third may be a language not taught at the Universitat, such as Basque, Bulgarian, Danish, Slovak, Galician, Greek, Dutch, Norwegian, Latin, Pulaar and Swedish. In their paper, Aguilar-Amat, Mesa-Lao, and Pahisa-Solé describe in detail the high-quality approach that students are taking to arrive at their entries. For example, “all linguistic data included in the BACUS project are obtained from corpora of original texts in different languages on the same specialized subject.” The work on the database has been discontinued, but it is well worth a look.

imageSuch a high-quality approach cannot be expected for entries from a federated term bank, such as EuroTermBank. This project, developed and managed by Tilde, is probably not new to you. Andrejs Vasiljevs presented the results of a survey of different groups of potential system users. In his paper, Andrejs discusses the need to open up term banks to user participation.

At J.D. Edwards user participation in the form of entry requests and comments was implemented in a format that allowed for prescriptive terminology management, as is necessary in the corporate environment. There is no reason, though, that federated term banks should not adopt Wikipedia-style knowledge sharing, approval mechanisms known from commercial sites, and the like. Once sharing, voting or commenting mechanisms are implemented, the key might be to get as many experts to use the database as possible, so that unreliable data be found and eliminated quickly. It would be interesting to discuss entry reliability with regard to these projects and the ones mentioned in Quantity matters.

The main workshop I would like to mention is, of course, the discussion of standard ISO 704. Thank you for participating through the survey and comments in Who cares about ISO 704, which I mentioned in my presentation. During the workshop, we agreed to suggest to the respective workgroup in ISO TC 37 to streamline the current content, review the example used, and add parts geared towards the different user grouimageps. I very much enjoyed the work in this group and feel that it will lead to a better standard down the road.

The TKE organizing committee decided to expand membership of GTW (association of knowledge transfer)), the organization behind TKE. A new subgroup of the Terminology group on LinkedIn is being formed specifically for that purpose. If you are interested, join the group called Association for Terminology and Knowledge Transfer; just allow a bit of time for approval.

To conclude my little TKE report: It was a particular pleasure to witness Gerhard Budin bestow the Eugen Wüster Prize upon Sue Ellen Wright and Klaus-Dirk Schmitz from Kent State University and Cologne University of Applied Science, respectively. It couldn’t have gone to two more well-deserving individuals.

Posted in BACUS, EuroTermBank, Events, Irish National Terminology Database, J.D. Edwards TDB, Rikstermbanken, Terminology portals | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Quantity matters

Posted by Barbara Inge Karsch on August 19, 2010

Losing a terminologist position because the terminologist couldn’t show any quantitative progress is shocking. But it happened, according to a participant of the TKE conference that just concluded in Dublin. While managing terminology is a quality measure, quantity must not be disregarded. After all, a company or organization isn’t in it for the fun of it. Here are numbers that three teams established in different types of databases.

At J.D. Edwards, quality was a big driving factor. Each conceptual entry passed through a three-step workflow before it was approved. The need for change management was extremely low, but the upfront investment was high. Seven full-time terminologists who worked 1/3 of their time on English entries, 1/3 of their time on entries in their native language and 1/3 of the time on other projects, produced just below 6000 conceptual entries between 1999 and 2003.

In comparison, the Microsoft terminology database contained 9000 concepts in January of 2005, most of them (64%) not yet released (for more details see this article in the German publication eDITion). The team of five full-time English terminologists, who spent roughly 50% of their time on terminology work, increased the volume to about 30,000 in the five following years, 95% of which were released entries. The quality of the entries was not as high at JDE, and there was less complex metadata available (e.g. no concept relations).

Rikstermbanken According to Henrik Nilsson, at Swedish Centre for Terminology, TNC, three fulltime resources built up a terminology database, the Risktermbanken,  with 67.000 conceptual entries in three years. That seems like a large number. But one has to take into consideration that the team consolidated data from many different sources in a more or less automated fashion. The entries have not been harmonized, as one of the goals was to show the redundancy of work between participating institutions. The structure of the entries is deliberately simple.

The needs that these databases serve is different: In a corporation, solid entries that serve as prescriptive reference for the product releases are vital. Entries in a collection from various sources, such as in national terminology banks, serve to support the public and public institutions. They may not be harmonized yet, but contain a lot of different terminology for different users. And they may not be prescriptive.

As terminologists, we are sometimes very focused on quality. But let’s not forget that eventually someone will want to hear what has been accomplished by a project. The number of entries is one of the easiest way to communicate that to a business person.

Posted in J.D. Edwards TDB, Microsoft Terminology Studio, Producing quantity, Return on investment, Rikstermbanken | Tagged: , | 5 Comments »

The Year of Standards

Posted by Barbara Inge Karsch on July 16, 2010

LISA The Localization Industry Standards Association (LISA) reminded us in their recent Globalization Insider that they had declared 2010 the ‘Year of Standards.’ It resonates with me because socializing standards was one of the objectives that I set for this blog. Standards and standardization are the essence of terminology management, and yet practitioners either don’t know of standards, don’t have time to read them, or think they can do without them. In the following weeks, as the ISO Technical Committee 37 ("Terminology and other language and content resources") is gearing up for the annual meeting in Dublin, I’d like to focus on standards. Let’s start with ISO 12620.

ISO 12620:1999 (Computer applications in terminology—Data categories—Part 2: Data category registry) provides standardized data categories (DCs) for terminology databases; a data category is the name of the database field, as it were, its definition, and its ID. Did everyone notice that terminology can now be downloaded from the Microsoft Language Portal? One of the reasons why you can download the terminology today and use it in your own terminology database is ISO 12620. The availability of such a tremendous asset is a major argument in favor of standards.

I remember when my manager at J.D. Edwards slapped 12620 on the table and we started the selection process for TDB. It can be quite overwhelming. But I turned into a big fan of 12620 very quickly: It allowed us to design a database that met our needs at J.D. Edwards.

When I joined Microsoft in 2004, my colleagues had already selected data categories for a MultiTerm database. Since I was familiar with 12620, it did not take much time to be at home in the new database. We reviewed and simplified the DCs over the years, because certain data categories chosen initially were not used often enough to warrant their existence. One example is ‘animacy,’ which is defined in 12620 as “[t]he characteristic of a word indicating that in a given discourse community, its referent is considered to be alive or to possess a quality of volition or consciousness”…most of the things documented in Term Studio are dead and have no will or consciousness. But we could simply remove ‘animacy’, while it would have been difficult or costly to integrate a new data category late in the game. If you are designing a terminology database, err on the side of being more comprehensive. Because we relied on 12620, it was easy when earlier in 2010 we prepared for making data exportable into a TBX format (ISO 30042). The alignment was already there, and communication with the vendor, an expert in TBX, was easy.

ISO 12620:1999 has since been retired and was succeeded by ISO 12620:2009, which “provides guidelines […] forISOcat creating, selecting and maintaining data categories, as well as an interchange format for representing them.” The data categories themselves were moved into the ISOcat “Data Category Registry” open to use by anyone.

ISO 12620 or now the Data Category Registry allows terminology database designers to apply tried and true standards rather than reinventing the wheel. As all standards, they enable quick adoption by those familiar with them and they enable data sharing (e.g. in large term banks, such as the EuroTermBank). If you are not familiar with standards, read A Standards Primer written by Christine Bucher for LISA. It is a fantastic overview that helps navigate the standardization maze.

Posted in Advanced terminology topics, Designing a terminology database, EuroTermBank, J.D. Edwards TDB, Microsoft Language Portal, Microsoft Terminology Studio, Terminologist | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

How do I identify a term—system

Posted by Barbara Inge Karsch on June 30, 2010

Here is one that is forgotten often in fast-paced, high-production environments: system. This at first glance cryptic criterion refers to terms that may not be part of our text or our list of term candidates, but that are part of the conceptual system that makes up the subject matter we are working in. And sometimes, if not to say almost always, it pays off to be systematic.

A very quick excursion into the theory of terminology management: We distinguish between ad-hoc and systematic terminology work.

  • When we work ad-hoc, we don’t care about the surrounding concepts or terms; we focus on solving the terminological problem at hand; for example: I need to know what forecasting is and what it is called in Finnish.
  • When we take a systematic approach, we go deeper into understanding a particular subject. We may start out researching one term (e.g. forecasting) and understand the concept behind it, but then we continue to study its parent, sibling and child concepts; we work in a subject area and examine and document the relationships of the concepts.

In the following example, the terminologist decided to not only set up an entry for forecasting, but to also list different types of forecasting—child or subordinate concepts—and the parent or superordinate concept. The J.D. Edwards terminology tool, TDB, had an add-on that turned the data into visuals, such as the one below. It goes without saying that displays of this nature help, for instance, the Finnish terminologist to find equivalents more easily when s/he knows that besides qualitative forecasting there is also quantitative forecasting, etc.

JDE types of forecasting

In his Manuel pratique de terminologie, Dubuc suggests that ad-hoc terminology work is a good way to get started with terminology management. Furthermore, he is right in that documenting concepts and their systems takes time and money, both of which are in short supply in many business environments. On the other hand, a more systematic approach will, in my experience, lead to entries that stand the test of time longer, create less downstream problems or questions, and need less maintenance. So, investing more time in the initial research and setting the surrounding concepts while you have the information at hand anyway, may very well pay off later. Seasoned terminologists know when to include terms to flesh out a system and when to simply answer an ad-hoc question.

Posted in Advanced terminology topics, Content publisher, J.D. Edwards TDB, Selecting terms, Terminologist, Terminology 101 | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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