June 28, 2017 11:32 am
Born in 2004 as an internal EU resource, IATE was first used to share terminology amongst the institutions with initially around 200 terms added and 250 terms modified every day. Today the EU interinstitutional terminology database IATE celebrates the 10th anniversary of its release for the general public.
The idea of having access to a unique and exhaustive terminology database dates back to the mid-1990s when each EU institution had its own database. It was then that the Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union (CdT) decided to start working on a platform which all EU institutions would join in order to share and access terminology resources, to manage them together and to enhance cooperation between EU institutions and terminology bodies.
The first prototype for a comprehensive terminology database appeared in March 2001, and it used a software architecture called “Oracle Forms”. However, as it was considered unsuitable for linguistic data and not sufficiently user-friendly, it was decided to use HTML architecture to build a new interface – the one still in use.
Between 2000 and 2001 the terminological data from the pre-existing databases were converted and located in IATE, whose final version was ready at the end of 2002, and migrated to the Data Centre of the European Commission that is hosting it.
When IATE was launched in 2004, it contained 8.4 million terms in 127 languages, and numbers increased with the EU enlargements in 2004 and 2007 affecting the management of work in the database.
It was in 2007 that the database went public, enabling EU citizens to look for terminology in any official EU language. This major step was an immediate success, and in 2013 the website registered almost 45 million queries (between 200.000 and 300.000 per day).
The following year (2008), the IATE Management Group was created in order to deal with formal communication and decision-making. It is composed of members of the participating institutions and chaired by the CdT.
Since then, IATE has been under constant development to make the terminology database more user-friendly, to allow project management and enable other more advanced features. In the last two years efforts have focused on using the modern Semantic Web technologies, and among the latest technical developments there are entry-to-entry links and cross-references as well as active hyperlinks to connect related terms.
However, with these latest developments it became clear that IATE needs to undergo some big changes, since the maintenance of both internal and external applications has proven to be complex and time-consuming. Furthermore, the architecture and technologies need to be constantly updated to ensure efficiency, interoperability, quality assurance and maintenance of data clean-up tools, and a user-friendly interface that do not require extended trainings.
The development of a new version of IATE started in 2016, after a dedicated Task Force listed high-level requirements in 2013-14 and the IATE Support and Development Team carried out a technical analysis in 2015.
Amongst the new features, IATE 2 will incorporate:
- new interface that meets current usability and accessibility standards;
- responsive design with a clean and fresh interface that enables users to drag and drop terms in the preferred order and to browse and select a guided domain;
- improved search with advanced filtering and export options;
- smooth integration of IATE data in new translators’ working environments;
- easier inline modification of IATE content with a formatting bar and advanced audit of changes;
- quality assurance mechanisms for entry creation without mandatory fields;
- increased validations options during data modification, early duplicate detection, controlled formatting, automatically managed EUR-Lex references, improved data structure;
- communication module for internal users;
- terminology projects module with task allocation directly in IATE;
- user dashboard for internal users with tasks, operations, searches and statistics;
- advanced reference with the possibility of uploading documents;
- improved online and contextual help.
Another important feature will be the integration with EurTerm, which is going to be part of IATE 2, as a platform to collect contributions and resources on terminology. Moreover, thanks to language wikis, translators can cooperate with experts and share events, resources, news and media concerning terminology. Work on the new database is ongoing with three milestones envisaged. The first significant milestone to be reached this summer involves entry creation, data modification, basic search, results page, user management, basic statistics, contextual help, and data migration. The second one, at the beginning of 2018, will focus on features such as audit/history, advanced search and exports, cross-references, merge/multimerge of entries, validation cycle, integration with CAT tools and data migration. And finally, the last improvements to be implemented in 2018 will be linked to data import, terminology projects module, user dashboard, advanced communication, feedback mechanism, advanced statistics and multilingual interface.
IATE 2 is set to spearhead a ground-breaking development that will not only comply with the latest standards and enhance user experience – while incorporating improved accessibility features and quality assurance control – but it will also result in an increased ROI, as well as further promote cooperation among institutions and organisations.
Written by Serena Grementieri – Terminology trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, BA in Intercultural Linguistic Mediation and MA degree in Specialized Translation at the School of Foreign Languages and Literatures, Interpreting and Translation (ex-SSLMIT) of Forlì, University of Bologna.
- Dechandon, D. (n.d.) “From IATE to IATE 2 or how to take terminology management the next step”, Translation Centre for the Bodies of the European Union. Available at: http://bit.ly/2tNlDXF (16 June 2017)
- DG TRAD Terminology Coordination Unit (n.d.) 10 years IATE, European Parliament. Available at: http://bit.ly/2sQ3ATi (16 June 2017)
- DG TRAD Terminology Coordination Unit (n.d.) About IATE, European Parliament.
- IATE (n.d.) IATE 2 New developments.
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