The “Triple Constraint” of Terminology Projects

Iron-TriangleA common topic discussed in terminology training courses deals with project constraints known as the “Triple Constraint”: scope, time (schedule), and cost (budget/resources). They are an important part of project management processes because they limit the smooth running of a project by creating  bottlenecks or restrictions. Your Project Charter usually includes accounts for project constraints, also known as The Iron Triangle because you can rarely change one constraint without also impacting the others. An additional element that is affected by this interaction is quality (“Tetrad”). (In some manuals scope is also regarded as quality). This is why they are represented in a triangle, in which each part affects the other, with quality in the middle of the figure:

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Writing your first Project Charter

project-charter terminologyThe Charter is a key document that brings together all the separate pieces of information about the project with a view to ensure the buy-in from all the stakeholders. Proper construction of a project charter can help ensure the success of any project.

If it is your first attempt at writing a Charter find a mentor who can advise and direct you. The best way to approach it is to think that it’s just a form (download this template) that you need to fill in, and there are many versions of such a form available online that can guide you, in case you need to use it (or you can write your own version).

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Who is Who in Terminology: Ferdinand de Saussure (1857-1913)

de SaussureFerdinand Mongin de Saussure was a linguist and semiotician born in Geneva, Switzerland. At 15 he was already a polyglot (being familiar with French, German, English, Latin, Greek and Sanskrit) and was already attempting to develop a ‘general system of language.” He obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Leipzig, where he studied Indo-European languages. By the age of 21 he had already published a book on the vowel system in Indo-European languages. His most influential work, “Course in General Linguistics”, was published posthumously in 1916 by two of his former students. A curious fact, since Wüster’s Theory of Terminology was also published posthumously and de Saussure was one of his major influencers!

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The Ins and Outs of Term Validation

validationEvery step in term processing during the preparation of glossaries or updating of termbases is important, but probably the one that will save you the most time is term validation. How and when it’s done is key to achieve cost-effective/efficient validation.

What is term validation?

Validation (conceptual/linguistic) is the verification and quality control process used to make sure a term or list of terms is accurate according to preferred usage or requirements established by the terminologist or the team involved in the process. It includes a series of steps such as evaluating the quality of the resources available (e.g., corpora) and consolidating terminological data (e.g. into glossaries). It involves choosing between several term candidates to pick a preferred term or even creating your own terms (neologisms). In some cases, validation also includes writing new or updated definitions.

Who does term validation? Read More

How to Justify Your Terminology Project Goals

path-to-goalIn a previous post I talked about how to identify and write your SMART goals. Now we need to talk about how we go about justifying them.

First, you need to present your business case: a start-up document for your boss/client with the pros and cons of your project, based on the resources allocated, presenting the business issue (for example create a termbase), identifying project options (design it yourself/expert or buy CAT tool), benefits (see my section on the benefits of managing terminology), costs, risks, and scope. See also my section on the Terminology Business Case for more info.

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Featuring Terminology IMOToolBox: IATE Database

IATE terminlogy

Screen capture of IATE’s App

IATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe) is the terminology database for all EU institutions.

It has been operational since the summer of 2004 and you can search the public version in 23 languages and 22 main subject areas, including politics, law, economics, trade, finance, education, science, business, environment, agriculture, energy, industry and geography, among others.

The Internet version of IATE receives over 70 million queries a year. Search in IATE

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Writing Your Terminology Project Goals

PM cakeMost trainers explain the PM process using the cake analogy, and when it comes to goals it is useful to see it from that perspective, too. Read More

Terminology Awareness Survey Results

survey picI am happy to report on the results of my recent survey on terminology awareness which included participants from groups of translators in Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.

Although it was a very simple, seven-question survey, I think you will agree on the fact that Terminology has great potential as a profession and field of study.

I attach the PDF with the results if you’d like to look at the details, but here is a summary of the items I want to point out (110 respondents). After each comment, I have added a link for the respondents who participated if they would like to dig a little deeper into each subject. Read More

Who is Who in Terminology: Ernest K. Dresen (1892-1937)

dresenErnest Karlowitsch Dresen* was a Latvian/Russian-Soviet linguist and an expert on scientific and technical terminology, interlinguistics, and Esperanto.

In 1926 he was the driving force behind the International Federation of National Standardizing Associations (ISA) (now the International Organization for Standardization, ISO) and in 1936 he helped establish an international group of experts on terminology (today’s ISO’s Technical Committee 37). He translated into Russian (along with 4 more translators) the 1931 German dissertation by Eugene Wüster “Linguistic Standardization in Technics”. Read More

Featuring Terminology IMOToolBox: UNData

logo undataUNdata – a data access system to UN databases. The United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD) of the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) launched in 2008 an internet based data service for the global user community. You can search and download statistical resources from a wide variety of subject areas from education to tourism, from health to energy, from population to information technology, etc. Also, you have access to “Country Data Services” with statistical information (economic and social indicators, environment, trade profile) for every country; as well as to metadata (e.g. finance) and multilingual glossaries (e.g. environment).

You can do advanced searches by country, source and year. One of the recent updates (December 2) was the World Development Indicators database. You can follow them in Twitter @undata.

Happy searching!

MySmarTerms 9: (De-) (Re-) Terminologization

Terminologization. De-terminologization. Re-terminologization. Don’t fret! These are three long words that are easy to understand (Take a look at my illustration below). They are term formation methods. The new terms that we create by means of these methods would be ideal candidates to include in our termbase. Also, being aware of this process will help us identify good candidates when we are extracting terms from a corpus. In most cases, the words/terms do not lose their original meaning, but rather acquire double meaning, thus becoming polysemantic. Read More

The Concept Phase of Terminology Projects

concept phase picAs promised, this year I’ll resume the Terminology Project Management series. In a previous post I talked about the importance of managing stakeholders in terminology projects. This and other components are part of the Concept or Initiating Phase of PM.

Recapping from that previous post, projects are divided in process groups, like steps you use in recipes: Concept, Development, Execution, and Finishing (C+D+E+F) [this is the easiest-to remember-classification]. Read More

Who is Who in Terminology: Eugen Wüster (1898-1977)

wuesterWho is Who in Terminology: Eugen Wüster (1898-1977)

I’m starting this series with the obvious: The Father of Terminology, founder of the Vienna School and the General Theory of Terminology: Austrian terminologist Eugen Wüster. I have talked previously about Wüster in other posts, and I even prepared this infographic that summarized the many hats that he wore during his productive professional life: Esperantist, Engineer, Terminologist, Lexicographer, Terminographer, Translator, Linguist, Bibliographer, Language Planner, Librarian, and Professor. Read More

New Year, New Section in my blog: Who is Who in Terminology?

mystery manAfter months and months of writing and researching on terminology and stumbling upon name after name of terminologists who have made great contributions to the field of terminology, I was curious to learn about them and thought it would be a good idea to start writing short biographies, not only to share the information with you but also to honor them and their work. We’ve all heard about Eugen Wüster, but what about the others? Do you know who they are and what their contribution was?

Well, if you don’t, you are in for a treat! Of course, I will start with Wüster, then going to what he considered to be “the four intellectual fathers of the terminological theory”: Ernest Dresen, Alfred Schlomann, Ferdinand de Saussure, and J. Edwin Holmstrom). And then some more like Helmut Felber and Ingrid Meyer. So, hopefully, as time permits, I will also be talking about the most contemporary ones. The information provided will depend on what is available on the Internet. If you know some important detail about them as I publish their bios, please add a comment and enlighten us. I will be tagging each of them under “Whoiswho”.

Starting this Monday… Wüster, of course, but, who will be next? Stay tuned!

P.S.: Needless to say, I will start posting about our other exciting regular topics. Just wait and see!

Happy New Year!

From Washington, D.C., I wish you the best for the New Year 2015! May your personal and professional dreams come true! Thank you for a great 2014 as a loyal follower of InMyOwnTerms. Many great things to come! And don’t forget to share the terminology love!