Terms don’t come easy

Terminology is key for any translator. The quest for the right equivalent is a never-ending issue. In order to face the challenge, several obstacles pose before a translator though:

– Time is a luxury commodity, so it is never sufficient to allow deep digging in the subject.

– Clients in general have no clue of what’s behind words. The mainstream thought is that there is always a direct target word for a source word. You just have to look for it properly out there. Of course the widespread automated translation engines do not help us in our efforts to explain that translation involves a bit more than that.

– There is a myriad of good references online. The problem is that it is mixed up with a myriad of trash. It takes a clinical and critical eye. And know-how.

In more recent years, it seems clients finally started to understand the need to extract and systematize their own in-house terminology. Who among us does not welcome a pretty looking glossary along with the translation project?! Most of the times, however, we are lucky if we get a previous created TM, filled in with segments from previous translations. What in turn can be a long shot: the terms inside are mandatory, but may be absolutely objectionable, incompetent, irrelevant.

So if we give it some thought, what would be the optimal solution for terminology in translation? To extract the terms beforehand, and create a customized termbase we can use during the translation process? Awesome! But for that we need time, we need a consultant designated by the client, who gives us the concept and has the know-how, and probably a consultant in the target language, who helps us find the conceptual equivalent. Only then we should be able to see the right term.

There is quite a difference between this scenario and the real thing, I must say.

So that was one of the main reasons that took me to Barcelona last week, to attend the seventh EAFT Terminology Summit. I had the opportunity to meet some top names of the world of Terminology, such as Rute Costa, Rodolfo Maslias, Klaus-Dirk Schmitz, Barbara Inge Karsch, Maria Pia Montoro, Teresa Cabré, among many others.

EAFT with Rudolfo MasliasIcon Icon Icon © EAFT

By then I had already decided to attend the TERMNET International Terminology Summer School, which will be held in July in Cologne. This course can be seen as a preparation for the ECQA Terminology Manager certification exam, which I can optionally take next September.

Looking forward!

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