If you want to have consistent terminology, terminology work must be done in a right way and you must have a concept. Ad-hoc project work does not lead to long term quality. A step-by-step
product-specific terminology work however leads to the goal. A concept and a precisely defined procedure help you to define the company terminology. A concept system of terms helps to define the
relationships between the individual terms.
In this blog I would like to give you an example. At the end of my studies I did a terminological work on the subject:
aircraft landing gear in the languages:
Let us now analyse the procedure I applied.
Choice of the topic
Not every topic is suitable for a terminological study.
Since topics from the technical field are very precise and not language- and country-specific, a topic from aeronautical engineering seemed to me to be suitable. Technical terms are defined in concrete terms.
After a careful analysis I decided to examine the terminology of an aircraft landing gear.
First of all, I had to narrow down the subject. At the beginning I completely disassembled the individual landing gear parts using construction drawings. I wanted to include every single part in my concept system. But it was too extensive.
I therefore decided to include the most important parts of the landing gear and also to consider materials and landing gear stresses.
Working out a concept system of terms was one of my first steps, which gave me a relatively good overview of the terms and their relations. In order to familiarize myself even further with the
topic I consulted German and English technical literature. Later on, I consulted reliable sources from the internet.
In a second step I defined the individual fields of the database. I decided to use the following fields:
- Main term
- Short description
- Context example
The fields in the database depend on the project and are usually customer specific.
Concept system of terms
The concept system provides an overview of the terms in the database. In addition, the graphic clearly shows the relationship between the individual terms.
To create a terminological database you need suitable software. I created my database with SDL Multiterm.
Thanks to Multiterm, I was able to create a multilingual dictionary with about 100 terms per language.
Terminological entries - structure
Each individual entry consists of a definition in English, French and German and a context example for the main term and for possible synonyms and/or abbreviations or short forms. One difficulty
was to assign attribute values to the terms.
For some terms I had to decide between synonym and short form. "Landing gear", for example, describes exactly that it is a landing gear of a flying object, whereas in German "Fahrwerk" does not say exactly what kind of “gear” it is. Therefore, I have assigned to "Fahrwerk" the short form of "Flugzeugfahrwerk", whereas "aircraft landing gear" is a synonym for "landing gear".
The definitions have been selected to give the main information in the most compact but precise way possible.
The context examples, on the other hand, are intended to illustrate how a term is used in the context.
Terminology work in companies
Terminology work in companies must also be structured.
The correct software must be selected for the database creation and for a good authoring assistance. Important fields in the database must also be defined by the company.
A workflow is fundamentally important for a long term terminology work.
The first step is to define the terminology in the source language and then to apply it in the documentation.
The second step is to define the multilingual terminology. This ensures that the translations are also consistent.
With the help of a concept system of terms and precisely defined multilingual terminology, it is also possible to train neural translation systems even better.