True. It might not be too often when we have to create a term “from scratch”. Terminologists rarely create terms and, when they do, it’s usually with the help and concerted effort of an expert. However, if you are a translator, you will probably have had the need to come up with new terms in your target language to convey the message of the source language.
So, the first case (creating a term from scratch in a source language) is called primary term formation, and the second case (creating a term by translating it into a second target language) is called secondary term formation.
But before we get into that, let’s take a quick look at how terms are formed. Maybe the easiest way to define them is by enumerating some of their characteristics:
- Terms are created by a special language community, for example, experts from the chemistry field. Usually as a perceived need of the creator (known as the “motivation” of term formation).
- Terms are created to transfer knowledge and improve communication among community experts, that is, an engineer communicating with his/her peers to promote the use of a standardized language.
- Terms are usually created by combining existing lexical elements in particular ways, for example, the term “supercharge” is the combination of the words “super” and “charge”.
- It is less spontaneous than word creation. Term creation usually occurs in a “more of less conscious creation” process (Sager).
- Many terms are created by combining an object and a function. For example “greenhouse”
- Even though term creation is currently dominated by the English language, particularly in the IT field, other languages have proved to have great creative potential.
Ariane Großjean mentions the following term formation methods: (i) terminologization, a common word is repurposed into a new term (e.g., bridge—construction and bridge—dentistry). (ii) derivation, a prefix or suffix is added to an existing root (e.g., de-caffein(e)-ate); (iii) compounding, two terms are combined to form a new term: noun-noun, adjective-noun, verb-noun, etc. (e.g. triple heart bypass –adjective+noun+noun) (iv) shortening, is done by clipping terms (e.g., influenza—flu), abbreviating (radar—radio detection and ranging), or blending (e.g., cybernetic organism—cyborg); (v) borrowing, words loaned from other languages (e.g. kindergarten, from German).
My next post will refer back to primary and secondary formation. Stay tuned and check out the Sources to get deeper into the term formation groove.
Sources and further reading:
Bowker Lynne, Variant terminology: frivolity or necessity?
Brenes, Patricia. De-Re-Terminologization. A blog post by IMOT.
Großjean, Ariane, Corporate Terminology Management. An approach in theory and practice.
Inge Karsch, Barbara. BIK Terminology. Blog posts on term formation
Sager, Juan C., A Practical Course in Terminology Processing.
Sasu, Laura. Terminology dynamics – conceptual patterns of term formation. 2009
Temmerman, Rita. Primary and secondary term creation and the process of understanding. A PowerPoint presentation. September 2013
Wright, Sue Ellen and Budin, Gerhard. Term Formation. Concept Representation. Handbook of Terminology Management. Volume 1.
I just found out that the WordPress widget for About.me profiles will be disabled starting July 1, 2016. I used to have a widget linked to my About.me page on the sidebar, so I have deleted the widget and created an “About” page in my main menu by adding more info to the profile taken from About.me, so that visitors know who I am and how this blog came to life.
Feel free to visit and learn a little bit about me. Click here.
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The About.me page is still working and you may visit by clicking here.
Have a nice day!
Just a short note to let you know that bab.la’s and Lexiophiles international blog competition is over and I managed to keep my 5th place in the Professional Language Blog category and also placed 25th in the overall classification.
Thank you so much for voting and sharing. I wouldn’t have been able to make it without you.
Also, huge congratulations to Licia Corbolante (@terminologia), who placed 2th in the same category and 7th in the overall classification, plus 14th in the Twitter category. A special thanks to her who asked her blog subscribers to vote for me. Thank you, Licia, and congratulations!
My other long-time supporter, TermCoord placed 6th and Olga Geno (@OlgaJeno), who participated for the first time, placed 8th both in PLB category and Facebook category. Great job, Olga! And the awesome Maria Pia Montoro (@wordlo) placed 17th on Twitter too. Another great supporter, Nuria de Andrés (@nundrea) placed 8th in Language Twitters.
Thank you. Gracias, Grazie, Merci, Obrigada, Danke.
Danae was the winner, along with Olga Umaña, of the book raffle that I recently ran on the occasion of IMOT’s second anniversary. I asked her to write a short bio to share with you. I really enjoyed reading it, and I´m sure you will too.
Danae Parmaki is an active translator and interpreter with an ever-growing love for languages since childhood: cried and moaned for running out of letters when learning her first alphabet. She is native Greek, adding new languages regularly, starting at the age of 4 with music, being the most widely understood one. After having read and partially memorised all children’s books in Greek from the local library, she requested learning English, at around 7 years old. By 11 she asked for French classes, at 15 she found Italian fascinating, adding up to Latin, while the love for Russian blossomed at the age of 16, excited how grammar would resemble that of Ancient Greek.
In the meantime, at around 12, she had already figured out what she wanted to do for life and where the closest University Department for Translators and Interpreters was located. Indeed, she took her diplomas of Translation and, later on, of Interpreting from the Department of Foreign Languages, Translation and Interpreting of the Ionian University in Corfu, Greece, in cooperation with the University of Surrey, in the UK. Upon starting her studies, she couldn’t but add more languages, so she took classes of Turkish, as well as Dutch – leading her to continuing her studies in the Netherlands, where she took her Master’s Degree on Slavic Languages and Cultures from the University of Leiden in cooperation with the University of Amsterdam. Read More
TermCoord is hosting The European Association for Terminology (EAFT) Eight Terminology Summit to take place in Luxembourg, on November 14-15. It will be EAFT’s 20th anniversary and the summit’s title is “Visions and revisions”.
They also recently called for presentations. Here is the information in more detail:
Follow all the details in Twitter with the hashtag #EAFTSUMMIT2016. I will definitively be attending, so send me a note in Contact Me to let me know if you are planning to attend.
Just a friendly reminder to ask you to vote if you haven’t done so yet, or get another vote from a colleague or friend. Let’s see how we do this year.
Remember, every vote counts! Monday is the cut-off date, but don’t delay. Remember time differences so the sooner the better.
- Terminology Management—Why Would I Do That?
Barbara Inge Karsch is the presenter of this 60-minute webinar taking place next June 8. ATA member: $45. Non-member: $60
“Is there more to your job than the daily word chase for the best translation? Consider the long-term view instead: take time to systematically document those words today to improve the quality and speed of your translation in the future. Attend this webinar to find out more about using a terminology management system to increase the efficiency and accuracy of your translations. Plus learn how to build your own system to save, organize, and retrieve words, phrases, acronyms, synonyms, and abbreviations”
Click here for more info: http://www.atanet.org/webinars/ataWebinar153_terminology.php Read More
I asked the winners of my recent raffle to send me a picture and a short bio when they got their respective books. Unfortunately, Olga Umaña’s s book (@OlgaUmanaC) got lost in the mail. We assume there’s someone at the post office who wants to study Terminology! In any case, since she is a university professor. I offered to send instead this terminology handbook (I recently shared this post about it) and she agreed. She finally received it this week. So, here is her story:
My name is Olga Umaña and I am from Manizales (Colombia). I have a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages (University of Caldas), and a Master’s degree in English Language Teaching (University of Caldas), and a Master’s degree in Translation Studies (Autónoma University of Manizales). Read More
While I was writing this blog post, my friend and subscriber, Simona Tigris (and PhD in Philology), reminded me about homophones in a comment on my post on synonymy and polysemy. I couldn’t agree more with her. I had thought about writing a separate blog post, but when we talk about doublettes, one of the main causes seems to be the mishandling of homophones. So, after reading this blog post, I also recommend you take some time to read the links below.
Doublettes (the technical terms for duplicate entries) are quite common unless you have an elephant’s memory. During a recent webinar, terminologist Barbara Inge Karsh mentioned that between 5%-10% of entries need adjusting during maintenance. In order to keep that percentage at a minimum, we should try to do an efficient job in the early stages of term entry creation by following terminological principles. Read More
When we deal with concepts, we also deal with terms in different forms. If we think of dictionaries, they put all concepts in one entry, while in a termbase we register each concept on separate term entries, a key difference between lexicography and terminology.
The terminologist carries out a ranking exercise, so to speak, in which s/he has to classify synonyms as “preferred”, “admitted”, or “deprecated” terms, making sure that they are all kept in a single entry to avoid doublettes. For example, which term should you use: shortcut key, hotkey, keyboard shortcut, access key, accelerator key, keyboard accelerator?
And if a termbase is well maintained, s/he might have to replace some of them with updated forms and register the previous form as “obsolete”. For example, at one point “periodontosis” was dropped in dentistry in favor of “periodontal disease”. Read More
So, here it is! Voting phase started today until June 6. So get your contacts together and share, share, share, and share some more! Social media, family, friends, pets, and aliens. Anyone can vote! Mine is the sixth going down on the right side. Here is the link:
Thank you! ¡Gracias! Obrigada! Grazie! Gràcies! Danke! Merci!