BIK Terminology—

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 ‘Term extraction tool’ Category

Terminology extraction with memoQ 5.0 RC

Posted by Barbara Inge Karsch on August 15, 2011

In the framework of a TermNet study, I have been researching and gathering data about terminology management systems (TMS). We will not focus on term extraction tools (TE), but since one of our tools candidates recently released a new term extraction module, I wanted to check it out. Here is what I learned from giving the TE functionality of memoQ 5.0 release candidate a good run.

Let me start by saying that this test made me realize again how much I enjoy working with terminological data; I love analyzing terms and concept, researching meaning and compiling data in entries; to me it is a very creative process. Note furthermore that I am not an expert in term extraction tools: I was a serious power-user of several proprietary term extraction tools at JDE and Microsoft; I haven’t worked with the Trados solution since 2003; and I have only played with a few other methods (e.g. Word/Excel and SynchroTerm). So, my view of the market at the moment is by no means a comprehensive one. It is, however, one of a user who has done some serious term mining work. One of the biggest projects I ever did was Axapta 4.0 specs. It took us several days to even just load all documents on a server directory; it took the engine at least a night to “spit out” 14,000 term candidates; and it took me an exhausting week to nail down 500 designators worth working with.

As a mere user, as opposed to a computational linguist, I am not primarily interested in the performance of the extraction engine (I actually think the topic is a bit overrated); I like that in memoQ I can set the minimum/maximum word lengths, the minimum frequency, and the inclusion/exclusion of words with numbers (the home-grown solutions had predefined settings for all of this). But beyond the rough selection, I can deal with either too many or too few suggestions, if the tool allows me to quickly add or delete what I deem the appropriate form. There will always be noise and lots of it. I would rather have the developer focus on the usability of the interface than “waste” time on tweaking algorithms a tiny bit more.Microsoft PowerPoint Clip Art

So, along the lines of the previous posting on UX design, my requirements on a TE tool are that it allows me to

  • Process term candidates (go/no-go decision) extremely fast and
  • Move data into the TMS smoothly and flawlessly.

memoQ by Kilgray Translation Technologies* meets the first requirement very nicely. My (monolingual) test project was the PowerPoint presentations of the ECQA Certified Terminology Manager, which I had gone through in detail the previous week and which contained 28,979 English words. Because the subject matter is utterly familiar to me, there was no question as to what should make the cut and what shouldn’t. I loved that I could “race” through the list and go yay or nay; that I could merge obvious synonyms; and that I could modify term candidates to reflect their canonical form. Because the contexts for each candidate are all visible, I could have even checked the meaning in context quickly if I had needed to.

I also appreciated that there is already a stop word list in place. It was very easy to add to it, although here comes one suggestion: It would be great to have the term candidate automatically inserted in the stop-word dialog. Right now, I still have to type it in. It would safe time if it was prefilled. Since the stop word list is not very extensive (e.g. even words like “doesn’t” are missing in the English list), it’ll take everyone considerable time to build up a list, which in its core will not vary substantially from user to user. But that may be too much to ask for a first release.

As for my second requirement, memoQ term extraction doesn’t meet that (yet) (note that I only tested the transfer of data to memoQ, but not to qTerm). I know it is asking for a lot to have a workflow from cleaned-up term candidate list to terminological entry in a TMS. Here are two suggestions that would make a difference to users:

  • Provide a way to move context from the source document, incl. context source, into the new terminological entry.
  • Merging terms into one entry because they are synonyms is great. But they need to show up as synonyms when imported into the term base; none of my short forms (e.g. POS, TMS) showed up in the entry for the long forms (e.g. part of speech, terminology management systems) when I moved them into the memoQ term base.

imageMy main overall wish is that we integrate TE with authoring and translation in a way that allows companies and LSPs, writers and translators to have an efficient workflow. It is imperative in technical communication/translation to document terms and concepts. When this task is put on the translators, it is already quite late, but it is better than if it doesn’t happen. Only fast and flawless processing will allow one-person or multi-person enterprises, for that matter, to carry out terminology work as part of the content supply chain. When the “fast and flawless” prerequisite is met, even those of my translator-friends who detest the term “content supply chain” will have enough time to enjoy themselves with the more creative aspects of their profession. Then, economic requirements essential on the macro level are met, and the need of the individual to get satisfaction out of the task is fulfilled on the micro level. The TE functionality of memoQ 5.0 RC excels in design and, in my opinion, is ready for translators’ use. If you have any comments, if you agree or disagree with me, I’d love to hear it.

*Kilgray is a client of BIK Terminology.


Posted in Designing a terminology database, memoQ, Producing quantity, Selecting terms, Term extraction tool, Usability | Tagged: | 3 Comments »

How do I identify a term—frequency and distribution

Posted by Barbara Inge Karsch on June 27, 2010

A seemingly obvious criterion to select terms for a terminology database is frequency of occurrence. A term extraction program, for example, should tell us how often a term appears in the text mined. Term extraction output or other text-mining solutions might also tell you what the distribution of a term is, in other words you may be able to find out in how many documents or products a term occurs.

When sifting through term candidates in term-mining output, we very likely have to scope quite a bit, because we can’t spend weeks on making perfect term selections. As we know by now, frequency is not the only term selection criteria, but it can help us particularly in large projects. Here are options and their pros and cons:




Ignore frequency and evaluate all term candidates

More precise selection because nothing is excluded

High time investment

Good for small lists; never completely ignore frequency, as it can still tell us something about the importance of a term

Exclude all terms that occur less than x number of times

Number of term candidates is smaller

Potential to miss critical terms

Good for larger lists and when a critical percentage of terms was already extracted manually

Exclude all terms that occur more than y number of times

Number of term candidates is smaller

Potential to miss critical terms

Good for large lists from which existing database or other non-critical terms or words were not excluded

Only go through terms that occur more than x and less than y

Number of terms can be reduced significantly

High potential to miss critical terms

Good when both critical terms are already extracted and no stop word list was used

If a term occurs often in a project, it is probably either very important or so generic that it shouldn’t be included. If you run a term extraction process, words should not be part of the resulting list; they should be part of a stop-word list.

Certain term mining solutions or lookup tools also indicate in which project or in which version and product a particular term is used. In other words, they give us information about the distribution of a term. But high distribution, just like high frequency, may be criteria of terms that are very well known and do not need to be documented. For example, at Microsoft it would seem useless to include terms, such as computer or user, just because they occur frequently and are widely distributed. There are other reasons to include them, though. By the same token, a widely-distributed and highly-frequent term that is somewhat mysterious should be included in the terminology database, as many users might need to look it up and the return on investment is there.

To summarize, frequency and distribution are important term selection criteria. They must be looked at in combination with other criteria, though, to make sense. One criterion to consider could be novelty, which we will examine in the following entry.

Posted in Content publisher, Selecting terms, Term extraction tool, Terminologist, Terminology 101 | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

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