IATE for everyone: “extra” languages

June 19, 2014 12:04 pm

iate-is-what-you-make-of-it-small1IATE (Interactive Terminology for Europe) is a terminology database, which was created to meet the needs of all EU institutions in reliable and consistent terminology. In 2007 the IATE Management Group (IMG) launched a public version of the database and since then the service has been available not only to EU institutions but also to all citizens. All the terms and their respective definitions in source and target languages are in general characterised by a high level of reliability. The main objective of IATE is to provide relevant, reliable, checked, and easily-accessible data.

The process of terminology validation is essential to guarantee the reliability of terms and, as a consequence, a high quality of translation. However, before the terms are transferred from the internal to external service, they have to be validated by EU terminologists. Terms are added to external IATE and become available to the public by an automatic export. This is simply done by activating a validation button, which is only accessible to EU terminologists.

Although IATE is an EU database, it contains entries not only in the EU official languages but also in other languages such as Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Ukrainian, Japanese, etc. This can indeed help the promotion of IATE outside the EU, which will make the database even more popular and attractive. However, entries in the non-official languages of the EU are only available in internal IATE. The underlying reason for this is that certain terms of the non-official languages cannot be validated by EU terminologists.

In my opinion, it is a pity that such valuable material cannot be used by, for example, translators of the non-EU languages. A solution to this, on the other hand, would provide terminology in the external service, but noting that it lacks validation by EU terminologists. This could allow the IMG to attract more users by advertising IATE outside the EU, yet at the same time it would not spoil the image of IATE as a reliable database.

As a Russian native speaker, I am currently working on a terminology project on the topic of “Human Rights”, which includes finding equivalents for English terms in the Russian language. This requires a huge amount of work, but in the end the result is worth it. The finished project would mean the release of several terms and definitions in a target language supported by references from official documents. It would be really helpful for translators from and into Russian to have access to this database, which indeed already contains 8000   entries of English terms with their equivalents in Russian. I hope that the IMG will consider my suggestion as the one that may have a positive impact on the development of IATE. It is true that IATE is what you make of it – together we can make IATE a GLOBAL interactive terminology database!


By Valeriya Baranova
Study visitor at TermCoord

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