Happy International Translation Day!

Wishing all my fellow translators a happy and productive day. Check out this post by SDL Translation Zone “I love translation because…” where they include my comment on why I do love translation. 

I love translation because

Have a great day!

translators day






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Is this a glossary, a lexicon, or a thesaurus? How to tell them apart.

The Semantic Ladder

We have all come up with different types of controlled vocabularies and the truth is sometimes we don’t know if we are dealing with a glossary, a thesaurus, or a lexicon because in real life they tend of be used interchangeably, even in other languages. The French Wikipedia says that “Le terme glossaire est souvent confondu avec lexique”, and the “Financial Times Lexicon”, says in its introduction that you may “suggest new terms for this glossary”.

In my recent post on Realiter glossaries, most lexicons in the cover pages were translated into English as “glossaries” not lexicons. Some of them had definitions; some of them only included terms. So, how to know if we are using the right term? Indeed, it’s not an easy task, but I have gathered some definitions that I think will help us get a more clear differentiation. Do you have better definitions? Feel free to share them! Read More

IMOT goes to Costa Rica for vacation

I took a short break to visit my home country, Costa Rica, and enjoy some quiet time with my family and some not-so-quiet (but fun!) time doing some adventure tourism. So before I start posting again I wanted to share a few pics that I took during my trip. It is just a selection of the highlights of the trip but we did a lot more, like taking a night walk into the cloud forest to watch some really cool creatures such as snakes, frogs, and more.

Maybe the best part was whale watching and I was lucky enough to capture one of the jumps that a baby whale made very close to our boat. And we got a chance to swim nearby and listen to them sing. I have uploaded to YouTube to share it with you:

I hope you enjoy them and if you ever plan to travel to Costa Rica, let me know. I’ll be happy to recommend places to visit.

The Importance of Terminology: Elevator Pitches – A guest post by Adam Earl

tomedes picFINI recently wrote a blog post called Elevator Speech for Terminology and Tomedes, a translation company, took up the challenge and one of his freelance writers, Adam Earl, wrote four different pitches. I’m sure you will like them as much as I did!

Explaining concepts concisely and accurately is something that is crucial when working on document translation. The concept of an ‘elevator pitch’ highlights the need for conciseness effectively, and here are a few terminology-related elevator pitches I’ve come up with to compliment this blog’s current interest in them.

Example 1

Client satisfaction is dependent on accurate communication. But how will we be able to communicate accurately if we don’t have a common point of reference? This is where the importance of terminology comes in: after establishing a common terminology, client and seller will be able to communicate both quickly and effectively. This produces a drastic increase in efficiency, saving both time and money. And who doesn’t want to save time and money? Read More

The Pan-Latin Terminology Network and its multilingual glossaries

realiter TerminologyCreated in 1993, the Pan-Latin Terminology Network (Realiter) brings together individuals, institutions and bodies that actively work in terminology in Neo-Latin languages, that is, Romance languages: Each language is represented in The Realiter Committee as follows:

  • Catalan: Universitat Pompeu Fabra
  • Spanish: (Spain, Mexico and Argentina) Universidad de Salamanca, El Colegio de México, Colegio de Traductores Públicos de la Ciudad de Buenos Aires
  • French: (France, Canada) Université de Paris III, Bureau de la traduction
  • Galician: (Spain) Universidad de Santiago de Compostela
  • Italian: Università del Sacro Cuore di Milano
  • Portuguese: (Portugal and Brazil) Universidade do Algarve and Universidade de São Paulo
  • Romanian: Academia de Studii Economice din Bucureşti

Read More

Code of Good Practices for Copyright in Terminology

code of goodprAfter having completed the Advanced course as Terminology Manager by TermNet, I received with my certification a complimentary copy of the Guide for Terminology Agreements, also available online. I have mentioned it before, but I think it’s important to highlight its Code of Good Practices.

The Code of Good Practices is Part 2 of the Guide and it is a great quick read (only 3 pages) to increase your awareness on this important subject. I summarize its contents here to peak your interest and encourage you to read it.

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Fall and winter terminology training events by TermNet

TermNetRegistration is open for TermNet’s Terminology Management online courses: The Basic and the Advanced courses will take place from October-December 2015. Visit the following page to sign up: http://www.termnet.org/english/products_service/ecqa_ctm/courses.php

In winter 2015, they will start NEW ONLINE COURSES particularly tailored to the needs of professionals dealing with terminology in:


For these new courses please contact Gabriele Sauberer at gsauberer@termnet.org

Take opportunity of the discounts they offer for:

  • TermNet Members (25% discount)
  • Early Birds (Register before September 15th 2015 and get 15% discount)
  • DTT (German Terminology Association) Members (20% discount)
  • AILIA (Canadian Language Industry Association) Members (20% discount)


Using Google Ngram Viewer to draw graphs from corpora

google ngram viewOne of the things I love about writing this blog is receiving feedback from my readers. Terminologist Licia Corbolante, owner of the blog in Italian, terminologia etc, reminded me of this tool after reading my most recent blog post on corpora. So I thought I’d share it with you as another useful tool and copy her message literally.

“Let me add Google Ngram Viewer, a tool that lets you draw graphs from a collection of corpora obtained from books in English (worldwide, but also American and British English), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Russian, Spanish, simplified Chinese. Read More

Get to know (and use!) your English corpora: BNC, GloWbE, COCA, COHA and more!

corpusDocumenting yourself during you terminological research is essential for terminology work, especially if you’re dealing with an unknown topic, regardless of your target language. Corpora gather the works of subject-matter experts using concordancers that allow us to look at terms in their context. It also allows you to see the variations of language throughout time. Corpora from 2 through 5 presented here were created by Mark Davies, professor of Linguistics at Brigham Young University (BYU), Utah, USA. Read his University profile here. Read More

Brushing up on your terminology skills

refreshersAugust is here and you will probably have just a few hours a week to freshen up your terminology skills. So I’m back on terminology ON mode with a little reminder of what you can do. It might not be news for some of you, but since I have quite a few new followers I wanted to point them into the right direction. Here is my advice: Read More

Short break

breakJust a short note to let you know that I’m taking a break for about 2-3 weeks. In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you. Do you have any special request? Is there a terminology topic that interests you? Do you have someone in mind for my section “Who is Who in Terminology”?

If you do, contact me (click here), and I’ll be happy to oblige to the best of my ability. I will be writing a lot after my break, so take advantage of this opportunity. :-)

See you soon!



ISO’s Online Browsing Platform (terms and definitions)

ISOYou are probably aware that every technical standard published by ISO has a corresponding terminology. So you have access to reliable terms and definitions. It is indeed one of the little known sources to look for terms and definitions. The browsing platform allows you to search standards, collections, publications, graphical symbols, country codes, and, most importantly for terminologists, terms and definitions.

The languages available are English, French, Russian, Spanish and German. You can search by alphabetical order, by relevance, and view basic or full entries, among other useful options. On the left side of the screen you can see the language, the committees involved with the term or definition, as well as the technical sectors, the publication year, and the type of standard.

Read More

Writing your first terminological definition

energyWriting your first terminological definition might be a bit overwhelming. So how do you start? Well, many authors seem to agree that the most widely used type of definition is the intensional definition. I recommend you consult the sources below for more information as this is just a brief introduction to the subject, especially if you are going to be writing a lot of definitions for your termbase.

First, let’s review the ideas of superordinate, subordinate, and coordinate concepts. Let’s say we have three levels: The top level is superordinate and refers to the general topic (e.g. energy), the second level is subordinate and refers to those specific concepts under the general topic (e.g., (i) renewable energy or (2) nonrenewable energy) and the third level is coordinate and refers to same-level concepts (e.g., (1) wind, solar, bio, geothermal energies, etc. or (2) fossil fuels, coal, petroleum, etc.).

Read More

Terminology: The DNA of Translation

TermDNABreathe in, breathe out. Open and close your eyes. Every little movement in our body is imperceptible. Every time you perform an action, DNA is covertly spinning its wheels, “writing the instruction manual on building the life that defines us”, as the BBC Knowledge and Learning puts it.

DNA is written in a four-lettered alphabet (a combination of As, Ts, Gs, and Cs) in which words make up sentences that the cells encode and decode in a special language. And there are rules that can’t be broken: Every A goes with a T and every C pairs up with every G. They are like puzzle pieces that fit perfectly together and that not only complement each other but also act like a backup for the other to save vital genetic information–information that gets imprinted in a beautiful and intricate double helix.

Now, imagine a similar situation with your translation…

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The European Association for Terminology (EAFT)


It was 18 years ago that a consortium of 40 major stakeholders in the European terminology field carried out the work that lead to the creation of the EAFT. Their goal was “to create a set of concrete recommendations for activities leading to a co-ordinated but flexible terminology infrastructure for Europe”. It was called the POINTER project, which stands for “Proposals for an Operational Infrastructure for Terminology in Europe”. One year later, in 1996, one of those recommendations called for the creation of the EAFT “as a non-profit professional association for terminologists in Europe. […] At first, the grouping should be loose and relatively unstructured, but it should aim in the long term to become a true professional association…”1

And, indeed, it has become a true professional association. Nineteen years later, the accomplishments of the EAFT in the promotion of the terminology profession have been outstanding not only in Europe but also outside its multicultural borders (It has established co-operation agreements with institutions such as Realiter, the Pan-Latin terminology network). It has developed activities in the form of workshops, symposiums, summits, seminars and conferences. Their first terminological summit took place in Brussels in June 2002 when they presented the “Brussels Declaration for International Cooperation on Terminology”,2 which includes 13 different actions to promote special language communication. Currently the Declaration is available in 20 languages. You can read the English version here.

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