4. Significance of Terminology Management for Translation
After the introduction of the basic notions related to terminology we should now focus on how terminology management tools can assist translators in their work. The best answer to this question is provided by translators themselves:
`Why do translators need to consult dictionaries, databases and/or experts when they work? The answer is so obvious that we tend to forget how important it is: Translators are not experts. This fact colors our whole approach to our work, particularly in areas where we are less than confident of our mastery of the subject matter.' (Titchen&Fraser 1996) As we can see, applications designed to create and facilitate the use of specialist reference sources, tailored to the needs of translators cannot be replaced by any other tools. For a translator who has no knowledge of a particular subject area and needs a number of technical terms which cannot be found in general-language dictionaries there is no alternative, but to create reliable terminology collections themselves. Another linguist mentions the following argument in support of termbases in translation work:
`(...) in his daily work routine even the experienced translator encounters countless "new" problems having to do with the almost unlimited influx of words, terms and phrases that are not part of his average or even specialist lexical knowledge. The way he successfully copes with these gaps can most efficiently be modeled by term banks on the computer.' (Neubert 1991:58) One more reason for the emphasis placed nowadays on efficient terminology management employing state-of-the-art technologies is the impact of terminology used, on the localization market, i.e. one of the most important areas of technological development.
`Efficient terminology management is crucial for publishers and manufacturers when translating and localizing their products. Translation vendors and translators may change over time - but the quality of the localized product should always adhere to the highest possible standard. Consistent terminology is necessary for ensuring continued familiarity with a product, and it is essential for functional compatibility between different versions of a product on one or multiple platforms.' (Project Review 2000)
Another advantage of using terminology management tools in translation is that a search for a given term is more time-efficient when compared to searching in printed dictionaries and other sources. It is not only faster however, but also more reliable as it was pointed out by the specialists working on the POINTER project in 1995 and 1996:
`Analysis of various dictionary entries demonstrates that the extraction of terminological data from currently-available LGP6 dictionaries (both monolingual and bilingual) is problematic from a number of different points of view, including the inconsistent and imprecise use of subject-field labels, the absence of adequate pragmatic information, and varying definitional practices. Terms are also often deeply nested in entries, even as sub-senses of polysemous headwords. The unsatisfactory use of subject-field labels is of particular importance for the automatic extraction of data.' (POINTER 1996) Terminological databases are designed to avoid problems of inconsistency and imprecision of LGP dictionaries. Terminological records provided in termbases are prepared by translators on the basis of sources they trust, with usage contexts of native origin exclusively (Gopferich 1995:23) frequently validated following consultations with experts in given subject areas. Thus, the reliability of linguistic data included is much higher.
One more argument in favor of using terminology management tools in translation is that usually there are no specialist dictionaries in the new and quickly developing fields of knowledge or `the production of up-to-date reference works is lagging behind (Spela: 2001). The reason for this situation is that the process of compilation and publishing of printed dictionaries takes much longer and is more costly than in the case of electronic terminology collections. Therefore, machine-readable sources can reach the users much faster. Moreover, it is much easier to update and modify an electronic termbase than a printed dictionary.
6Language for General Purposes