Sirpa Suhonen

Well planned is half done

When terminology work is discussed, the focus is often on the implementation phase where the actual content work is done. It is, of course, the most important phase, but something else is also needed.

When a project is conceived, it is worthwhile to invest in the planning phase. It is wise to use the help of the experts of terminology work already in an early phase, because practical experience facilitates and fastens planning and ensures that plans are feasible.

When a project is planned, one should also prepare for the fact that the work does not end when the material has been produced. It is of major importance to market the produced material, to support its use and to maintain the material. When work is done in a project form, it is not self-evident that resources are reserved for the marketing and maintenance of the results.

The Finnish Terminology Centre TSK has widened its area of responsibility by becoming the publisher of Terminfo newsletter. For now on we will continue to make the newsletter in the old way, i.e. the printed and web newsletter remain as they are. At the same time we will figure out the future prospects of the newsletter in the changing operational environment.

Satu Närvä – Experienced translator

Satu Närvä works as a translator in the Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA). Närvä has studied the translation of Swedish, English and German as well as commerce, public relations, terminology science and technical communication. After she finished her translation studies and graduated from the University of Vaasa, she applied for a job of a department secretary in the then Telecommunications Administration Centre. She has enjoyed her job in the same work place for more than twenty years. The tasks of the department secretary also included translation, and now she works as a full-time translator.

Currently there are two regular translators in FICORA. Närvä translates mainly from Finnish into Swedish and her colleague from Finnish into English. There is also one fixed-term translator who translates into both these languages. Sometimes contract translation office is also used.

The translations in FICORA are very versatile. There are short announcements and news as well as long reports and memos on many different special fields. Cooperation with FICORA's experts is an essential part of translators' work. "Our work would be much harder without the experts", says Närvä.

The field of electronic communications renews all the time, and this adds the challenges of translators. New concepts are often created, and they need terms in native languages. Although English is used a lot in the field, FICORA tries to find Finnish and Swedish equivalents for English terms. Närvä comments that this is also richness. "It is inspiring to learn new things all the time. It keeps the work interesting."

Närvä also acts as FICORA's contact person for the national languages. The contact persons of authorities are part of the Finnish Government's Strategy for the National Languages of Finland published in 2012. The Strategy aims to safeguard a future Finland with two viable national languages. The contact persons' task is to promote the status of the national languages in their organizations e.g. by monitoring how the national languages are used and by advising other civil servants in language use.

The importance of systematic terminology work is recognized in FICORA. On FICORA's initiative a terminology working group was established in the beginning of the 90's. The working group consists of the agents of the field and the Finnish Terminology Centre TSK. Its task is to chart needs for terminology work in the field of telecommunications technology and to suggest terminology projects. Already ten projects have been carried out since 1991. The latest publication the Broadband Vocabulary (TSK 43) was published in 2012. The vocabularies are meant for the general public, and they are freely available for all both in FICORA's web pages and TSK's TEPA term bank. A new project on mobile technology and services will start in this spring. Närvä has participated in many terminology projects, mainly in the terminology work related to Swedish equivalents.

Special field terms are everyday work for translators, and the results of terminology work, terminologies, are used constantly. Närvä thinks that the concept relations presented in terminologies are especially useful. "When one understands the relation of a certain concept to other concepts, it is easier to choose correct terms." Translators try to inform about the vocabularies in FICORA. Närvä hopes that all those who participate in terminology work would advertise the published vocabularies in their organizations so that the vocabularies would find their target audience and that the term recommendations would really be used.

Comprehensive security and preparedness vocabulary project

In June 2013 the Finnish National Rescue Association and the Finnish Terminology Centre TSK initiated a project to update the Preparedness and Civil Defence Vocabulary (TSK 39) published in 2009. The original aim of the project was to update the Vocabulary by making only minor changes in its structure and selection of concepts. When the terminology work was initiated, however, it became clear that in the past few years, there have been considerable changes in the way experts think about preparedness, resulting in changes in legislation and other documentation regulating preparedness in Finland. Therefore, a new vocabulary focusing on concepts of comprehensive security was more of what was needed.

Examples of changes in the way of thinking of preparedness include the fact that experts no longer talk about total national defence but about comprehensive security. In addition, many individual concepts have changed, such as emergency operations or rescue operations. Previously, it was considered that emergency operations include only the actions taken after an accident has taken place, but nowadays those operations also include the actions taken because of a threat of an accident.

The working group of the project consists of representatives of the Finnish National Rescue Association, Terminology Centre TSK, Ministry of Education and Culture, Ministry of Defence, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of Social Affairs and Health, and the National Emergency Supply Agency. The work is steered by the Security Committee, and the project is funded by Väestönsuojelusäätiö (foundation for civil defence) and the Ministry of Defence.

The new Comprehensive Security and Preparedness Vocabulary has been delimited to contain mainly concepts common to all administrative branches, and it will cover 150 to 200 concepts. The concepts will be given term recommendations in Finnish and equivalents in Swedish and English. Definitions will be elaborated in Finnish. The draft vocabulary will be sent out for comments in April or May 2014, and the vocabulary will be published by autumn 2014. The vocabulary will be published in TSK’s term bank TEPA and in print format.

Anchoring and administration of Scania Lexicon

Scania has ca 38.000 employees in more than 100 countries, and a head office in Sweden. The company produces mainly trucks, buses and engines. As the products become technically more sophisticated, more information is needed in order to use them safely and effectively.

Because Scania operates in many markets all over the world, technical information is needed in many languages. It is important that the information is consistent and comprehensible in order to meet the customers' needs. To do this, systematic terminology work is also needed.

Scania Lexicon is Scania's central term database with about 7.000 term records. It contains terms in 21 languages, terminological definitions, notes and pictures. Scania's terminologists choose suitable terms and write definitions in Swedish and English with the help of Scania's experts, and translation suppliers create terms in other languages on the basis of the definitions.

Scania Lexicon should form the basis for all information products in Scania. Different types of information are produced in different parts of the company, but the information handles the same technical products. Therefore it is important to keep the information clear and consistent for the customers. In Scania information is produced e.g. in product development, for service markets, IT interfaces, education material and in marketing.

Terminology work is an investment that costs money, but it also saves money. It has been estimated in Scania that even if the costs of terminology work are taken into account, Scania saves more than 200 million Swedish crowns per year with terminology work. The savings come from the saved work time of technical writers, other employees and customers. The profitability analysis presumes that Scania Lexicon's terms are really used in Scania's service information, that technical items are named according to Scania Lexicon and that translators translate all texts according to Scania Lexicon.

To make this happen the terminologists at Scania must work hard to anchor and administrate the terminology in the organization. The terminologists work with this about as much as they work with creating the terminology.

There are three groups that use Scania Lexicon the most: engineers who develop Scania's products, technical writers who compile technical information for workshops and drivers, and translators who translate this information.

One of engineers' tasks is to choose suitable terms for all Scania's technical items and to register them in Scania's product database. Terms follow the products through their whole life cycle, and are presented e.g. in spare part lists in workshops. Scania's terminologists and engineers create terms together, and terminologists give advice on terms and teach new engineers about the importance of naming technical items consistently.

Terminologists work with technical writers in many ways, but above all via a language revising tool that is linked to Scania Lexicon. The tool contains style and grammar rules, but it also marks all deprecated terms red, and the writer gets a correction suggestion that is approved in Scania Lexicon. Terminologists also meet technical writers regularly and explain how they may best get help from Scania Lexicon. Technical writers must also ask terminologists if they do not find right terms or think that some concept should be revised. Scania's terminologists are also regularly in contact with the translators whose viewpoints can result in the revision of existing concept systems.

Translations are saved in translation memories. So it is important that the terms in Scania Lexicon are correct right from the beginning because it becomes costly to update translation memories later.

In the end it is mainly the workshop personnel and drivers who should understand and pay attention to the terms in Scania Lexicon. Therefore it is not enough to take into account only those who use Scania Lexicon inside the company when choosing terms. The internal language usage in Scania may differ from the end users' language usage. If the end users do not understand or feel themselves comfortable with the terms that the terminologists produce, then the anchoring and administration work has not succeeded.

Scania's terminologists have decided to use a great part of their work time for anchoring and administration the terminology that they create. This is necessary for Scania to harvest the profits from terminology work. Terminology work is worth of nothing if the standardized terms are not used and understood.


Glossary of Food Safety Terms
Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education of the University of Helsinki has published the Glossary of Food Safety Terms by Igor Kudashev in 2013. The Glossary contains about 650 English terms and their equivalents in Finnish and Russian. In the end of the Glossary there is also a Chinese-English index. The most central domains are food safety hazards and food safety management. The glossary is available in the web address

Glossary of e-teaching and vocational education
Palmenia Centre for Continuing Education of the University of Helsinki has published Suomalais-venäläinen verkko-opetuksen ja ammatillisen koulutuksen sanasto (glossary of e-teaching and vocational education) by Irina Kudasheva in 2013. The Glossary contains about 680 Finnish terms and their equivalents in Russian. The glossary is available in the web address