ISO Standards on Terminology

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” - Emily Dickinson

“I know nothing in the world that has as much power as a word. Sometimes I write one, and I look at it, until it begins to shine.” – Emily Dickinson

Published April 9, 2014

When it comes to standardization, the first thing that comes to mind is ISO (International Organization for Standardization), but besides ISO there are other two major players in the standardization field.

But first things first, as you probably know, ISO  standards have to be bought (and they are very expensive) so you won’t find them on the Internet, but I have found a few resources that explain them, even if briefly.

1. The EuroTerm Bank project has published the very comprehensive terminology document “Towards Consolidation  of European Terminology Resources: Experience and Recommendations from EuroTermBank Project“. Chapter 2 “Terminology infrastructure and standardization” gives a complete overview of important issues related to standards and standardization. A thorough explanation for each standard is provided. I believe this is one the best you can find to have a general idea on the standards.

2. Another great source on ISO standards related to translation and terminology is the webpage by Uwe Muegge, a corporate terminologist, who lists the standards which are linked to more detailed information about them.

3. This is ISO’s page with the standards which you can buy but, if you can’t, then at least you can take a look at its contents. ISO/TC 037 “Terminology and other language and content resources”. Also, check this link out.

4. The Pavel tutorial has a detailed section (5) on standards.

5.  LISE (Legal Language Interoperability Services) document “Guidelines for collaborative legal/administrative terminology work” presents on section 8, page 69, the “Relevant international standards” with a short description of each. Unfortunately it only includes those standards mentioned in the Guidelines, but still, it is very useful. It also has a good glossary which I mention in “Resources in English”. By the way, not to be confused with LISA, their name is similar but their last name is different, and unfortunately LISA “passed away” recently.

6. Anja Drame made a presentation for TermNet explaining standardization and ISO standards called “International Terminology Standardization: reasons, institutions, results, implementation”. At the end she presents a list of ISO standards.

7. In addition to ISO, we have other two big brothers in terminology standardization:

(i) The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) that deals with terminology in the electrical, electronic, and related technologies field, and

(ii) The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) that publishes internationally-recognized terminology recommendations and manages a terminology database on telecommunications.

8. So, yes, LISA. LISA dealt with localization standards but I mention it here just because everybody in the translation field knows or at least should know what LISA was. When I was studying to get my master’s in translation, LISA was still up and running, but unfortunately they could not continue their work due to insolvency and close on February 2011. Pavel’s tutorial provides supposedly a link to LISA, but I believe the tutorial hasn’t been updated in a while.  LISA was a big deal at the time and it’s still mentioned in several sources (such as Pavel) which provide a link to a page that does no longer exist. Anyway, if you haven’t heard of it, check the wiki here.  It also provides other good sources if you want to learn more.

9. LISA Oscar Standards. After LISA (Localization Industry Standards Association) was declared insolvent, it designated other institutions as its successor organization for its standards portfolio. Its OSCAR standards documents are available for download, such as Translation Memory eXchange (TMX), Segmentation Rules eXchange (SRX), and XML Text Memory (xml:tm), among others. Another source containing this information is GALA (Globalization and Localization Association) –US and UK–.

10. ISO’s 704 standard “Terminology Work and Principles.

11. Try ISO’s online browsing platform (OBP) to look for definitions and terms.

12. Streamlining translation – ISO 12616: 2002, Translation-Oriented Terminography by Carol B. Eckman.

13. Translation quality standards in Europe: An overview by Gloria Corpas Pastor

14. ISOcat Data Category Registry defines widely accepted linguistic concepts.

6 Comments on “ISO Standards on Terminology

  1. Awesome, thanks!!
    Dear Patricia, would you please add *dates* to your blog posts? It would be easier to keep track on what’s up to date and what’s not! Thanks! I love your blog!

  2. Thanks for your comment. You can find the date for each post at the bottom of the post. Let me know if you found it! 🙂

  3. Thanks for your answer. I can see the date on more recent posts but not on this one, maybe it’s such an old entry?

  4. Yes, you are right! I’m sorry for the confusion. There is an explanation: After the first year of creating this blog I changed the theme and maybe the regular WordPress theme that I used did not include this feature. I will ask around and see how this can be fixed. Thanks again for your comment. 🙂

  5. Okay I see, no problem 🙂 That would be great, because I might make a reference to your blog for a termninology project and in that case it’s helpful to have a date 🙂 (and overall as well, in order to know if information is up to date…)

  6. I understand your point and it’s a good point. Let me see what I can do. My blog is only two years old so all the information is up-to-date, but you are right. It is thanks to subscribers like you that I can make my blog a better reference place. Thanks again.

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