Search all Terminology in one click

June 13, 2017 11:57 am

In my 10 years of work for TermCoord, the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament, I have experienced the vertiginous evolution of technical possibilities for sharing and managing this common linguistic treasure: terminology. Some examples are the digitalisation of huge databases, the creation of terminology portals, the optimisation of term extraction and concordance tools, the development of meta-search engines and the cloud, the semantic web and ontologies making it possible to find the exact terms in a multitude of fields.

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I experienced the gradual incorporation of terminology in computer-assisted translation tools and in machine translation, both as an ex ante repository and as an ex post editing tool to ensure quality standards. At the same time I noticed an increasing need and desire to share resources and working methods, to cooperate on interactive platforms in order to achieve expertise and to avoid the overlapping of research. It is indeed feasible nowadays to let the experts in each field – be it in international organisations, academy or industry – do the terminology research and provide reliable results, which can be made available to everyone through various interlinking possibilities. Furthermore, the globalisation of all economic, scientific and commercial activities combined with cutbacks in the linguistic sector makes this cooperation and sharing of resources not only desirable, but also essential, since we need to standardise terminology and include it in the new translation tools. In this sense, it is very important to keep in mind that if we do not offer our terminology products on the translator’s desktop, termbase consultation will gradually be forgotten and our efforts will be wasted.

So, I have a dream: to make all terminology data searchable through one single query, to be able to click on a button and look for a term in a particular language and domain in all specialised glossaries, i.e. to create a search tool interlinking terminology big data with any database. How would this search work? If the search in our termbase does not provide a result, the same filters would apply for continuing the search in thousands of existing glossaries and huge databases, which are already publicly accessible on the Internet. In the European Parliament we have already contributed to this idea. We have created a tool that filters glossaries per language and field. We constantly update the glossary list by adding new ones that appear every day on the web, after verifying their reliability and relevance. The name of this tool is GlossaryLinks and we offer it for free to all translation professionals via our website

We need one more step to make this dream of a search in one worldwide multilingual and multidisciplinary terminology database come true: to transform this tool into a meta search tool allowing us to look for a term in all available glossaries and databases regardless of their format. And we are already preparing for it! All the details about the GlossarySearch project can be found in this presentation.

This can be a challenge for academic research teams in the field of linguistics, and we would really appreciate their advice and feedback. We want to make GlossarySearch available to any translator, by enabling its incorporation in any terminology search engine and in any CAT-tool or machine translation software.

Written by Rodolfo Maslias, Terminology Coordination of the European Parliament (Luxembourg).

Post prepared by Doris Fernandes del Pozo – Journalist, Translator-Interpreter and Communication Trainee at the Terminology Coordination Unit of the European Parliament. She is pursuing a PhD as part of the Communication and Contemporary Information Programme of the University of Santiago de Compostela (Spain)


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