Who is who in Terminology: Heinrich Paasch (1853-1904)
I had the honor to have been recently contacted by Marc Van Campenhoudt, from the Belgian Terminology Research, Termisti, to forward me some interesting information about Captain Heinrich Paasch (born in Germany but naturalized Belgian). The following is my attempt to summarize some of that information which I have translated very loosely from French into English (since I’m not a translator in that language pair). Please refer to the sources below to read the original material.
Dr. Van Campenhoudt wrote his PhD thesis, “Un Apport du Monde Maritime à la Terminologie Notionnelle Multilingue. Étude du Dictionnaire du Capitaine Heinrich Paasch, De la quille à la pomme de mât” to prove that all the methodology of Wüster was already used in the 1894 edition of the dictionary, except for the normalization, which was rejected by Paasch. The thesis includes a comparison with Schlomann’s work, using mostly his aeronautics dictionary that most resembles Paasch’s maritime dictionary.
Captains Paasch trilingual (English/French/German) dictionary De la quille à la pomme de mât (From Keel to Truck) was produced and published before Scholoman’s dictionaries and, certainly, before Wüster times. He was a renowned nautical expert and in one of his prefaces he claimed to offer the commercial and maritime world a technical dictionary out of the ordinary.
From Keel to Truck was the most widely disseminated multilingual technical dictionary in the world during many years. Ten thousand copies were printed during the author’s lifetime and 5.000 for the first edition alone (1885). It was the reprinting of his work in 1969 by Jean Maillot (also a sailor) who brought it back to the surface when he referred to it in a publication on technical and scientific translation. So, even after many years after its publication, the dictionary is still a reference to historians, translators, and other specialists. Still, From Keel to Truck remains unknown to many terminologists.
It was indeed an original contribution to terminology work, as Van Campenhoudt says. In his PhD thesis, he explains that it seems that Paasch used at least five principles (unfortunately there are no records of his methodology):
- To systematically describe the parts found on every type of vessel trying to avoid repetitions (double entries).
- To work from objects instead of terms and represent those objects through illustrations and search for all denominations in every language.
- To compare objects and designations in every language to find out if reality is understood equally in every instance. That is, his dictionary is an inventory of notions (or concepts) to transfer knowledge on the objects and not just an inventory of designations of those objects.
- When one language has a distinctive concept, find a denomination in the other languages; don’t immediately give in to the temptation of neology, word loan, or standardization. In other words, in this multilingual dictionary, the conceptual corpus does not correspond to one language per se, instead it is common to all three languages. It is conceived through a fundamentally descriptive approach of those languages.
- To base as much as possible the macrostructural order on a systematic classification. That is, after subdividing the domain in subdomains, try to organize the concepts according to generic-specific or part-whole, then classify the subordinate concepts (types and parts) according to the pertinent criteria.
Dr. Van Campenhoudt gives as one of his final remarks that the conceptual approach and macrostructural organization founded on the interlinguistic conceptual framework (réseau notionnel interlinguistique – R.N.I.) make of Paasch a veritable precursor of modern terminography. See link 2 that refers to this theory.
Sources and further reading:
- Marc Van Campenhoudt, Un Apport du Monde Maritime à la Terminologie Notionnelle Multilingue. Étude du Dictionnaire du Capitaine Heinrich Paasch, De la quille à la pomme de mât”, PhD Thesis, Université de Paris XIII, October 1994.
- Marc Van Campenhoudt , Le Réseau Notionnelle Interlinguistique. Réseau notionnel, intelligence artificielle et équivalence en terminologie multilingue : essai de modélisation.
- Marc Van Campenhoudt, Evaluation des terminographies multilingues. Le dictionnaire nautique du Capitaine Paasch face au dictionnaire aéronautique de l’ingénieur Schlomann.
- Google books: From Keel to Truck, A Marine Dictionary in English, French and German by H. Paasch (Surveyor of Lloyd’s Register), 1885.