Sirpa Suhonen

Always something new to learn

As projects change, the subjects of terminology work change, too. This brings welcome variation and opportunities to learn new things for terminologists. With new subject fields, new partners will also participate in terminology projects, so every project is one of its kind. The work of terminologists is not plodding alone and doing the same things day after day, but they get to know many fields and different terminological needs.

All in all the Finnish Terminology Centre TSK has worked already for 40 years for clarifying concepts, and on 29th of October it is time to celebrate the anniversary with a seminar on terminology and ontology work. More information on the seminar will follow on our website in June.

Anna Högström has multiple skills in communication

Anna Högström works as a Managing Editor (Acting) at Finlands kommuntidning (Fikt) magazine, which is published by the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. She has been a member of the Finnish Terminology Centre TSK’s board of directors since the beginning of 2014. Högström studied journalism at the Swedish School of Social Science (SSKH), which is an autonomous unit of the University of Helsinki. Later she continued her studies at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Högström started working as a journalist even before she graduated. During 1999–2007 she worked for several periods as a journalist for radio and television at the Finland's national public service broadcasting company.

After eight years at Yle Högström was ready to try something new. In 2007 she got a post as a publicist at the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities. From the autumn of 2013 she has worked at Finlands kommuntidning. The magazine is directed at e.g. local government officers and policy-makers in Swedish-speaking and bilingual municipalities in Finland. Together with the magazine’s subeditor Högström is involved not only in the planning of every issue, but also writing various texts and taking photographs for the magazine. This makes her work very versatile.

Finlands kommuntidning is part of a unit which specializes in international co-operation and Swedish-speaking municipalities. As a member of the Swedish team Högström also has tasks which are not directly related to journalism, such as event planning.

According to Högström, the most challenging part of her job is to produce a magazine which truly responds to the needs of a very specialized readership, that is to say experts in the municipal sector. Nevertheless Högström enjoys her work because of its creativity. As a publicist one passes on information, but as a journalist one can be more imaginative. However, Högström might end up doing something entirely different in the future: she has studied psychology at the Open University and would like to work with something related to her studies.

Högström was already familiar with such products of terminology work as the Finnish Government Termbank Valter before her membership at the TSK’s board of directors, but terminology work at large was mostly unknown to her. She says she still has a lot to learn, but she is always eager to gain knowledge on new things.

Ecosystem – from metaphors to concept models

The term ecosystem has almost become a buzz word, and it can be found in texts that have nothing to do with the ecosystem of ecology, i.e. the functional entity formed by organisms and inorganic environment in a certain area. Ecosystems are built for games, there are mobile ecosystems and digital ecosystems etc. When studied closely, it can be found that this is not always just borrowing, but ecosystem has become a popular conceptual model which is used to examine phenomena from a new perspective. The ecosystem metaphor is especially popular in describing organizations.

Nowadays metaphors are divided into linguistic metaphors and cognitive or conceptual metaphors. Where the linguistic metaphor is a figure of speech and a way of expression, the cognitive metaphor is a way or model of thinking. A cognitive metaphor is created by linking ideas that are usually not combined. A well-known example of this is how a new concept, an atom, was illustrated in the beginning of the 20th century by saying that AN ATOM IS A SOLAR SYSTEM. Electrons are planets and the atom nucleus is the sun.

Organizational theory has developed a metaphor where the cooperation networks of organizations are seen as an ecosystem. Organizations are seen as living and constantly changing creatures as as opposed? to the previous idea of organizations as machines.

A cognitive metaphor often applies to a whole conceptual system transferred from the source domain to the target domain, not just one concept. Both biological ecosystems and organizational ecosystems have an environment where they function. Both systems have actors who interact with each other, e.g. produce food or services.

In addition to a metaphorical analysis, also a terminological analysis can also be made to the ecosystems of ecology and organizations. For example, in ecology ecosystems belong to a biological hierarchy: biosphere consists of biomes, which consist of ecosystems which can be divided into land, sea and freshwater ecosystems. Ecosystems consist of communities which in turn consist of populations that are formed by the same species living in a certain area at the same time.

When the metaphorical and terminological analyses are combined a common ecosystem model can be created. There are certain components that seem to be common for many different systems which are called ecosystems. All of them have e.g. an environment, actors (whether plants, animals, humans or organizations), interaction and communication.

Special fields have often a need to outline and clarify yet unknown or new phenomena or study familiar phenomena in new light. A well-chosen metaphor can even promote the development of a field whether it is a linguistic or cognitive metaphor or both. The ecosystem metaphor has created new ideas and started to replace old machine metaphors in understanding organizations. Ecosystem as a metaphorical model brings the living component into the study and does not forget communication.

News from terminology and ontology project on geoinformatics

The Terminology Centre TSK and the National Land Survey of Finland have been collaborating in a terminology and ontology project since 2010. The reason for initiating the project was the fact that the implementation of the INSPIRE directive (directive establishing an infrastructure for spatial information in Europe) seemed to require, among other measures, terminology work.

The first stage of the project consisted of updating the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics (TSK 32) published in 2005. The Vocabulary was expanded to include concepts related to the INSPIRE directive. Among the special fields covered were metadata and spatial data services. The work resulted in publishing the second edition of the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics (TSK 42) in 2011.

In 2012, the project moved on the next stage, i.e. compiling the Geospatial Domain Ontology. The ontology is based on the Finnish General Upper Ontology, and it includes also the concepts of the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics and those of a Finnish thesaurus on geographic information (Paikkatietohakemiston hakusanasto).

From 2012 to 2013, the terminology working group concentrated on helping translators of the European Commission. A Commission Regulation related to the INSPIRE directive was in the process of being translated into Finnish by the Commission. Finnish subject field experts went through the draft translations sent to them by translators, and completed the translations with any missing terms and, if need be, by correcting term usage and other defects. The cooperation helped to improve the quality of the translation. For example, it would have been difficult for a translator to know whether the word basic in the term basic igneous material refers to basis (in the sense of ’foundation, ground’) or to base (as opposed to acid).

In 2013, the working group re-initiated traditional terminology work by starting to compile a third edition of the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics. The second edition’s concepts related to quality of spatial data needed to be revised, as new versions of international standards on quality had been published.

In addition, concepts related to the architecture of spatial data were added to the vocabulary. Examples of data architecture concepts are those related to view services. Concepts such as map image, map tile, tile matrix, and tile matrix set were added. Coining Finnish equivalents for these terms required a lot of e-mailing and many meetings among Finnish subject field experts.

The third edition of the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics (TSK 45) was published in PDF format on TSK’s web page and in the term bank TEPA ( in April 2014. It contains 275 concepts in total. The working group that elaborated the vocabulary consisted of members from TSK, National Land Survey, Finnish Geodetic Institute and Finnish Museum of Natural History. The work was funded by the National Land Survey.

The terminology and ontology project will continue. The Geospatial Domain Ontology will be completed with the new concepts of the third edition of the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics later this year, and the entries of the ontology will be assigned permanent web addresses. After that, the ontology will be published. After completing the Vocabulary of Geoinformatics with concepts of geodesy a fourth edition of the vocabulary could be published either this or the following year.

TSK’s terminologist and the Finnish subject field experts have agreed to continue assisting the Commission’s translators and providing Finnish translations for terms or expressions contained in texts related to the implementation of the INSPIRE directive if needed.


Guidelines for collaborative legal/administrative terminology work

EURAC Research has published the Guidelines for collaborative legal/administrative terminology work (eds Elena Chiocchetti and Natascia Ralli) produced in the LISE – Legal Language Interoperability Services project. The publication provides practical advice and examples how legal and administrative terminology work can be implemented and supported. The phases, roles and tools of terminology work are presented. There is also a glossary that gives definitions for those terms related to terminology work used in the publication. The publication is available free-of-charge in the address

Terminology – responsibility and awareness

The Language Council of Norway has published Terminology – responsibility and awareness (ed. Jan Hoel), the proceedings of the sixth Terminology Summit that was held in Oslo on October 2012. The proceedings contain all the talks and posters presented in the summit. There are also a summary of the workshop on term banks and talks given by the international terminology award winners. The languages of the summit were English and French, so the proceedings are also in those languages. The publication can be ordered free of charge from

Finnish Government Termbank Valter

Government Terminology Service has released a new user interface for the Finnish Government Termbank Valter (, which has been open to public online since 2005. Currently Valter contains 12 glossaries compiled by the Prime Minister's Office or other Government agencies. Most of the glossaries contain terms and definitions in Finnish, Swedish, English, German and French, and some also include terms in other languages, for example Estonian and Russian. In total the termbank comprises some 3 400 concepts.