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Terminology Resources & Principles. A seminar for PhD candidates in Civil Engineering prepared in the work context of Thematic Network “European University Civil Engineering Education and Training” ( EUCEET ). Final version: March 22, 2010.

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terminology resources principles

Terminology Resources & Principles

A seminar for

PhD candidates in Civil Engineering

prepared in the work context of Thematic Network “European University Civil Engineering Education and Training” (EUCEET)

Final version: March 22, 2010

terminology interface between knowledge and language
Terminology: interface between knowledge and language

endlessly via Terms

Knowledge

develops and enriches

Language

endlessly via Terms

Language

describes and conveys

Knowledge

terminology definitions
Terminology – Definitions
  • Terminology
    • set of designations belonging to one special language ( = language of a specific subject field)

ISO 1087-1, 2000

  • Terminology (terminology science)
    • scientific discipline dealing with concepts and their representations in special languages

Schmitz, 2006, Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics

seminar objectives
Seminar Objectives
  • Scope: participants
    • are able to make informed choices of technical terms
      • get started with terminology principles
      • learn to use sources for organized glossaries
  • Outcomes: at the end of the seminar, participants
    • know of national standards body & source of standards, national committee for terminology
    • can locate terminology standards and glossaries in their subject area
    • can use web-based multilingual term resources
    • are familiar with good practices in definition-giving and term-rendering
    • are able to evaluate technical terms on the basis of terminology principles
seminar format content
Seminar Format & Content
  • One 2-hour presentation (day 1)
    • The three players of terminology: concept, definition, term
    • Terminology needs in research (in own language)
      • an unknown term
      • how should we call it?
      • discovery of a new concept
    • Concepts, concept relations, concept systems
    • 4 rules for a good definition, 7 criteria for a good term
    • Evaluation of terms from technical texts
    • Resources
    • Assignment: evaluation of terms (due day 15)
  • One 1-hour discussion (day 22)
    • Discussion of assignments
a preview where are we going
A preview: where are we going
  • Informed choices of terms are made when:
    • corresponding concepts are fully specified
      • a concept is fully specified with a definition and its position in a concept system
    • existing glossaries are consulted
    • principles for term rendering are observed
the terminology triangle
The terminology triangle

unit of knowledge* created by a unique combination of characteristics

2.concept

general: refers to a class of objects (cable bridge)

individual: refers to an individual object (Golden Gate bridge)

3.term

1. object

verbal designation of a general concept in a specific subject field

anything perceivable or conceivable

* humans, recognizing the common characteristics that exist in a majority of individual objects of the same type, use concepts as “cognitive representatives” of these objects

the three basic players of terminology
The three basic players of terminology

unit of knowledge created by a unique combination of characteristics

2. concept

definition

our minds

characteristics

communication

reality

1. object

3. term

verbal designation of a general concept in a specific subject field

anything perceivable or conceivable

terminology need an unknown term
context

(subject field)

objects

linguistic/mental plane

characteristics

definition

concept

designation (term)Χ

Terminology need: an unknown term

initially known to me

Most common need: designation (term) definition*  concept– What does X mean?– Χ is … (the definition through selected characteristics makes the concept known)

*sources of definitions?

examples of unknown terms 1 3
Examples of unknown terms (1/3)

advection

caisson

air sparging

examples of unknown terms 2 3
Examples of unknown terms (2/3)
  • advection
    • subject field: fluid flow, contaminant transport
  • caisson
    • subject field: geotechnical engineering, structural engineering
  • air sparging
    • subject field: geoenvironmental engineering
examples of unknown terms 3 3
Examples of unknown terms (3/3)

to be defined later…

  • advection (a physical phenomenon)
    • subject field: fluid flow, contaminant transport
  • caisson (a structure)
    • subject field: geotechnical engineering, structural engineering
  • air sparging (a remediation method for contaminated groundwater)
    • subject field: geoenvironmental engineering
terminology need how should we call it 1
context

(subject field)

objects

linguistic/mental plane

characteristics

definition

concept

designation

(term) Χ

Terminology need: how should we call it? (1)

initiallyknown to all

Need to choose among terms:objects characteristics concept  definition designation– Similar terms I don’t think much about when others choose them– If I need to make a choice, then I must first (1) seek definitions (use sources, consider guidelines for a good definition), (2) create concept system and then make my informed choice

choice among similar terms
Choice among “similar” terms
  • Choice between common engineering terms (in alphabetical order):
    • coefficient
    • constant
    • factor
    • index
    • parameter
  • How “similar” are thecorresponding concepts? Is one of them a super-category (superordinate concept) where all/some others belong?
  • Perhaps common issue in subject fields where many quantities are determined experimentally

open assignment for seminar participants!

terminology need how should we call it 2
Terminology need: how should we call it? (2)

context

(subject field)

objects

linguistic/mental plane

characteristics

definition

concept

designation

(term) Χ

initiallyknown to all

Need for a code term:objects characteristics concept  definition designation– I need to refer to a concept (in order to facilitate communicationwithin my research group)– I select a definition (use sources, consider guidelines for a good definition) and we agree to call it X

an instance of making up terms
An instance of making up terms
  • Some background:
    • During landfill operation, fluids infiltrating through the waste to the landfill bottom are removed and treated
    • Treated fluid is either discharged/used (type 1 landfill) or returned to the mass of waste in order to increase moisture and accelerate waste decomposition (type 2 landfill)
  • In an environmental engineering class, type 1 landfill is called a “dry landfill” to distinguish it from type 2, called “moist landfill” (instead of using the more descriptive term “recirculation landfill”)
terminology need discovery
context

(subject field)

objects

linguistic/mental plane

characteristics

definition

concept

designation

(term) Χ

Source Language

Terminology need: Discovery

studied

created

discovered

Conception: New knowledge is conceived in the mind of the first “godfather or godmother” in a source language – Εureka! This is a new concept! (created by a specific combination of characteristics)How should I describe it?How should I name it?– It is … (original definition). I will call it with the term Χ.

example of discovering a concept 1
Example of discovering a concept (1)
  • The new concept may be only broader or narrower than another concept, but needs to be distinguished with a different term
    • recirculation landfill
      • addition of water
    • bioreactor landfill
      • addition of water and/or nutrients
example of discovering a concept 2
Example of discovering a concept (2)
  • Student in the Greek Open University working on his thesis in subject field Graph Theory:
    • invents a mathematical quantity that avoids the calculation of factorials, thus providing an efficient solution to the Traveling Salesman Problem
    • makes up Greek terms for this quantity & related concepts
    • approaches the Hellenic Society for Terminology (ELETO) and runs by them equivalent English terms
    • ELETO offers a synonym for one of the Greek terms and modifies the English terms by applying terminology good practices
slide22
Need: Term rendering from source language

MUST be available at a minimum!

Consider good practices for term rendering

concepts
Concepts
  • Concepts are cognitive representatives for objects, created on the basis of common characteristics
    • characteristics define and delimit concepts
  • Concepts are related to one another on the basis of their characteristics
  • Concept relations can be hierarchical (generic and partitive relations) or non-hierarchical
concept relations
Concept relations
  • A generic (genus-species) relation exists between a broader (superordinate) concept and a narrower (subordinate) concept
  • Different criteria can be used to create generic relations. Example: Bridge
    • Suspension bridge (a bridge with a deck supported by cables draped from towers and anchored at both ends)
    • Pedestrian bridge

Criterion: type of structural design (cable bridge, arch bridge, …)

Criterion: type of use (railway bridge, highway bridge, overpass, …)

concept relations cont d
Concept relations (cont’d)
  • A partitive (part-whole) relation exists between a concept and between its individual components
    • Bridge (foundation, pylon, deck, …)
  • Non hierarchical relationships refer to any type of association (e.g., sequential relation, spatial relation, cause-and-effect, sharing of characteristics)
concept systems
Concept systems
  • A concept system depicts the relations between concepts and their position in the system
  • The position of a concept in a concept system together with its definition help in anchoring the concept in the subject field under study
    • the relations depicted in the concept system can help in stating/improving the definition of a concept
concept system example contaminant hydrology
Concept system example: contaminant hydrology

sorption: binding of dissolved substances to soil constituents

adsorption: sorption to the surface of soil particles

concept system example structures bridges no 1
Concept system example: structures (bridges no 1)

Concept systems are not unique, hence can be improved. Any suggestions?

concept system example structures bridges no 2
Concept system example: structures (bridges no 2)

bridge

(material)

(use)

(load transfer mechanism)

truss bridge

pedestrian

bridge

fiber

-

reinforced

railw

ay

polymer

rope

bridge

bridge

bridge

conventional bridge

road

timber

(horizontal main girders)

steel

-

concrete

bridge

bridge

composite

br

idge

underbridge

overbridge

arch

cable bridge

overpass

bridge

concrete

masonry

steel

cable stayed

bridge

suspension

bridge

bridge

bridge

bridge

Note:

Generic relations (genus

-

species relations)

are shown with tree

-

like structures

30

guidelines for a good definition
Guidelines for a good definition
  • A definition is valid if it can replace a term in a text without loss of or change in meaning
  • It is a preferred practice to describe the concept in terms of its superordinate concept and its delimiting characteristics
  • Good practices (also known as “4 rules of logic”)
  • - Definitions must be concise
  • - Do not define a concept with unknown concepts, do not paraphrase
  • -The term designating the concept to be defined cannot appear in the definition (circular definition)
  • - The term designating the concept and the concept’s definition must be equally broad
  • Deficient definitions
  • - Incomplete (too narrow, too broad): clarifications may be included in accompanying notes
  • Improper negative definitions

ISO 704, 2000

definitions sources comparisons 1
Definitions: sources, comparisons (1)
  • advection (a physical phenomenon): definition sources
    • Google command “define: advection”
      • the horizontal transfer of heat or other atmospheric properties

wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

    • Textbooks (“Groundwater” by Freeze & Cherry, 1979)
      • process by which solutes are transported by the bulk motion of the flowing groundwater
  • advection: suggested definition
      • mechanical phenomenon of solute transport due to the bulk motion of the flowing groundwater

Meanings differ among subject fields!

definitions sources comparisons 2
Definitions: sources, comparisons (2)
  • air sparging (a remediation method for contaminated groundwater): definition sources
    • www.iso.org: search for standards with keywords “terms”, “vocabulary”, “definitions” or by technical committee
      • introduction of air under pressure in groundwater

ISO 11074 (2005) Soil quality – Vocabulary (prepared by ISO/TC 190)

    • Google command “define: air sparging”
      • in air sparging, air is injected into the ground below a contaminated area, forming bubbles that rise and carry trapped and dissolved contaminants to the surface

http://www.brownfieldstsc.org/glossary.cfm?q=1

  • air sparging: suggested definition
      • introduction of air in groundwater under pressure and flow rate suitable for the removal of volatile contaminants through vaporization

NOTE Air sparging also enhances to a lesser extent biodegradation of contaminants.

7 criteria for a good term
7 criteria for a good term
  • Transparency
    • to make the term transparent, a delimiting characteristic is used to create the term (chalk board vs blackboard)
  • Consistency
    • within a concept system (nylon, orlon, dacron, rayon)
  • Appropriateness
    • adhere to establish patterns, avoid confusion (atomic energy vs nuclear energy)
  • Linguistic economy
    • term bank vs terminological data bank
  • Derivability and compoundability
    • herb vs medicinal plant (herbaceous, herbal, herbalist, herbology)
  • Linguistic correctness
    • ιοντισμός EL vs ιονισμός EL (
  • Preference for native language
    • λογισμικό EL (

ISO 704, 2000

discussion on terms definitions in own language
Discussion on terms & definitions in own language

BBC: Sept. 9, 2007

9/11 Demolition theory challenged

kathimerini.gr - Καθημερινή: 11 Σεπτ. 2007

Ανατρέπεται η θεωρία κατάρρευσης των Δίδυμων Πύργων

Μια νέα ανάλυση της κατάρρευσης των κτιρίων του Παγκόσμιου Κέντρου Εμπορίου έρχεται να αμφισβητήσει τις θεωρίες συνωμοσίας των επιθέσεων της 11ης Σεπτεμβρίου. Η μελέτη ενός μηχανικού του πανεπιστημίου του Κέμπριτζ[...]

Ο Δρ. Σέφεν, χρησιμοποιώντας μαθηματικούς υπολογισμούς κατάφερε να υπολογίσει την κατάλοιπη ικανότητα του υπόλοιπου κτιρίου. Δηλαδή, την ικανότητα του ανέπαφου από τη ζημιά κτιρίου να αντέξει την πλήρη κατάρρευση.

discussion on term rendering from source language english to target language of home institution
Discussion on term rendering from source language (english) to target language of home institution

BBC: Sept. 9, 2007

9/11 Demolition theory challenged

kathimerini.gr - Καθημερινή: 11 Σεπτ. 2007

Ανατρέπεται η θεωρία κατάρρευσης των Δίδυμων Πύργων

Dr Seffen was able to calculate the "residual capacity" of the undamaged building: that is, simply speaking, the ability of the undamaged structure to resist or comply with collapse.

Ο Δρ. Σέφεν, χρησιμοποιώντας μαθηματικούς υπολογισμούς κατάφερε να υπολογίσει την «κατάλοιπη ικανότητα»* του υπόλοιπου κτιρίου. Δηλαδή, την ικανότητα του ανέπαφου από τη ζημιά κτιρίου να αντέξει την πλήρη κατάρρευση.

*υπολειπόμενη φέρουσα ικανότητα (term indicated by field expert)

resources 1
Resources (1)
  • Terminology
    • Online tutorial on Terminology, Termium Plus (The Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic databank)
      • http://www.btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/didacticiel_tutorial/english/lesson1/index_e.html
    • ISO committee for terminology TC 37 & related standards
    • ASTM committee for terminology E02 & related standards
    • National committees for terminology (located through the national standards body, in turn located through ISO)
      • www.iso.org/iso/about/iso_members.htm
    • Plato, Cratylus (dialogue on whether name giving is arbitrary or conveys meaning)
resources 2
Resources (2)

Technical terms

Glossaries prepared by technical committees

ISO technical committees

http://www.iso.org/iso/standards_development/technical_committees/list_of_iso_technical_committees.htm

Committees under the national standards body

http://www.elot.gr/committee.htm (for Greece)

Multilingual terminology databases

IATE (InterActive Terminology for Europe)

iate.europa.eu

Termium Plus (English and French, includes definitions)

http://btb.termiumplus.gc.ca/tpv2alpha/alpha-eng.html?lang=eng

Subject specific, e.g. environment

www.eionet.europa.eu/gemet/

summary
Summary
  • Informed choices of terms are made when:
    • corresponding concepts are fully specified
      • a concept is fully specified with a definition and its position in a concept system
    • existing glossaries are consulted
    • principles for term rendering are observed
assignment
Assignment
  • Consider a couple excerpts with highlighted terms
  • You are asked to:
    • search for and evaluate definitions of terms
    • evaluate terms in own language

NOTE: use suggested resources for the evaluation, search for additional ones

assignment example
Assignment example

NYTimes: April 13, 2009

Earthquakes’ Many Mysteries Stymie Efforts to Predict Them

Καθημερινή: 18 Απρ. 2009

Πρόγνωση σεισμών, ραδόνιο και ανθρώπινες «παρεμβάσεις»

This gap in knowledge makes earthquake prediction a frustrating and chancy exercise, and complicates the effort to calculate the risk that a human construction like a water reservoir or a geothermal power plant could inadvertently set off a deadly quake.

Το γνωστικό αυτό κενό καθιστά την πρόγνωση σεισμού μια δύσκολη και επίπονη άσκηση. Επιπλέον, δυσχεραίνει την προσπάθεια υπολογισμού του ρίσκου που έχει μια ανθρώπινη κατασκευή, η οποία είτε ως υδροταμιευτήρας είτε ως γεωθερμικό εργοστάσιο παραγωγής ηλεκτρικής ενέργειας θα μπορούσε -λόγω παραλείψεων- να προκαλέσει έναν σεισμό.

acknowledgements
Acknowledgements
  • The seminar was developed by Marina Pantazidou ([email protected]), Assistant Professor at the National Technical University at Athens (NTUA) based on material prepared by Kostas Valeontis ([email protected]), President of the Hellenic Society for Terminology (ELETO)
  • Both are members of ELOT TC21 National Technical Committee, mirror to ISO TC37
  • Both welcome comments and are available for questions
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