Any tips on how to build a termbase?
Thread poster: Xia29

Xia29  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 10:58
English to French
+ ...
Apr 13, 2008

Hello there,

I am quite new to CAT tools and I was wondering if anyone has any tips on how to build a termbase.

I am especially interested in ways that existing glossaries and databases can be imported. So far I have found a few glossaries in the .xls format, but that's about it.

Any other tips in building a good termbase efficiently and quickly are also welcome!

Thank you!

Xia


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:58
English to French
+ ...
Please, take a look at this recent thread Apr 13, 2008

Among other things, there is a link to a very useful website to help you get going with termbases in this recent thread: http://www.proz.com/forum/sdl_trados_support/102073-new_to_trados_:_question_about_termbases-832568.html#832568

All the best!


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Xia29  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 10:58
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you, but what is your experience building a termbase? Apr 13, 2008

Thank Viktoria for your comment. I had already checked that thread, and the tutorial on that website is quite helpful.

However what I'm really interested in is your experience and advice on how to build a termbase most efficiently. Do you add terms as you translate? Did you align previous translations and use a term extractor? Did you import existing glossaries? Did you enter new terms one by one? Or do you only use a termbase when it is provided by a client?

I am just wondering because at the moment I am using online dictionaries which are really extensive, and I can't see how my new termbase (minimal at this stage!) could replace them... (or should it not replace them?)

Also, I imported the Microsoft glossary (in .xls format) and was wondering if there are other such free glossaries available. Or other formats that could be used and imported.

Any insights appreciated,

Xia


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Vito Smolej
Germany
Local time: 10:58
Member (2004)
English to Slovenian
+ ...
My experience so far with terminologies Apr 13, 2008

I have quite a few built with time. And on the average they have turned out to be rather useless, or to be more accurate, they were useful in a limited number of cases only.

Please note first that in my case the majority of texts are Slovenian, either in source or in target. As the language is declinated, the direct translation of terms is pretty much useless - either ithe word is not found, because the Slovenian source is in the dativ/dual for instance, or the item is translated incorrectly and I have to correct for instance dog -> pes into psa (accusativ) , which costs me about 10 clicks instead of the original 3.

I found the terminology absolutely essential in cases of major specialty texts. The fact is you hit now and then upon a strange word which just does not say anything to you (I am making one up: mandrel cam disengenuator) . One way out of it to assign a temporary translation (suggest: Dornabstossstangen- distinguierer) which is of course far from the target, but serves as a temporary answer. Once you get the correct target, you correct it first in the terminology and then propagate it through the translation memory (Dornabstossstangendistinguierer -> Dornnockendisengenuator - still need to work on the third item ...). You would not believe how many times they turn up ...Were the questionable items done using several alternatives (i.e. not following the terminology suggestion), oh my, do you have work on your hands...

Third case - but not a strong one, at least according to my experience: You can streamline expressions used in a team, working on a project. This means, the team members all behave in a disciplined fashion. And of course that they know what the intention was of those excel spreadsheets sent at the beginning. Two conditions rarely met.

regards

[Edited at 2008-04-13 15:27]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 04:58
English to French
+ ...
Many methods - depends on what you want to do Apr 13, 2008

My classical method is to extract frequent terms from the translatable files using AntConc (a free concordancer). This will provide me with a list of terms that occur frequently - but I only mark as term candidates the terms that I will need to look up (that I don't already know off the top of my head) and terms that have several translations and that I am likely to forget how I am supposed to translate them. I make an Excel file of this list of terms (alphabetical list in A column). Then, I translate the terms and put each translation in the B column. Once this is done, I use MultiTerm Convert to create a basic termbase - then I use this termbase and add terms to it on the fly. Any termbase created this way, in my case, ends up being double the size it was when I first created it. This is optional, but once you are done translating, you can define the TDB as a key terms list in ApSic XBench and run quality check to see if you have used the terms consistently. This method is good for people who like to get the terminology out of the way before they start translating.

Many people fail to succeed with termbases because they approach the question the wrong way. MultiTerm has an unlogical interface and is very complicated to use. The manual is way too long. So, people try to experiment with it by creating a termbase from scratch through the MultiTerm UI and they add their terms manually. This is atrocious - it takes a lot of time and you have to have an additional program open. No wonder why most translators don't use termbases even though they have the software already...

If you are the type who does term search while translating and not before, you can also just create a termbase in MultiTerm and just add your terms on the fly from within Word or TagEditor during translation - a method I am not particularly fond of because you may end up realizing in the middle of it all that you have been using the wrong term, and then you'd have to open MultiTerm to delete/add/edit term records, plus you'd have to check your document to find the segments that contain the old, wrong term and replace those terms (time-consuming). It is best to fix your terminology before you start translating.

The nice thing is that you can align your past translations (or simply use their corresponding TMs) to find terms to add to your termbase. What I do is to take my source documents, convert them to text and run that through AntConc to make a list of terms as I described above. Then, I load the TMs or the bilingual documents in ApSic XBench to find the corresponding translations to add to the Excel file. Then, I only need to import the Excel file into MultiTerm - and voilà. You can even go further by downloading and aligning parallel texts and repeating the process with those.

To address your questions, I find that termbases cannot replace dictionaries - and dictionaries will never replace a good termbase. They just aren't the same thing. There are many, many terms that can't be found in a dictionary, particularly terms made up of several words (technical translation does that to you). So, the dictionaries online are of no avail in such situations - but if you manage to find the term and its translation elsewhere and put that into a termbase, you are replacing the dictionary. In that sense, a termbase can be much more useful than a dictionary. In fact, this is my main reason for creating and using termbases.

I don't use termbases created by clients because clients don't tend to create termbases - I even tried to sell the idea of termbases to some of my agency clients for end clients that send work regularly and even have their own proprietary terminology, and some of these agencies didn't even quite understand what the use of a termbase is. The only client termbases I use are those that I created for them. However, just like in the case of TMs, using the client's TDB is often not enough. They may be too small and not contain all the terms I need. Agencies who do use termbases don't seem to be into termbase maintenance... What is important to understand is that termbases are useful not only to help your client to get a consistent translation respectful of the end client's terminology - they are useful to you as well because they make you save a lot of time once you have a termbase with more than a few hundred terms. When you work faster and charge by the word, you get a better revenue per hour. Do not overlook this!

I don't know if there are other XLS or otherwise aligned glossaries on the internet, but it is not that important.

I hope this information will be useful to you.

All the best!

[Edited at 2008-04-13 15:39]


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George Hopkins
Local time: 10:58
Swedish to English
Finding words Apr 14, 2008

For several years I have been using a program called WordFinder, which I use together with Trados, etc. I find it actually more useful than Trados when searching for terms. It is a fast and simple-to-use search and paste function, toggling from one list to another. It is possible to add additional dictionaries and glossaries, some of which can be found on the Internet.

Perhaps the best feature is that one can build up one or several own glossaries, my own list contains several thousand words. 'New' terms or customers' preferences, eg, different terms for the same thing, and also dates and reference notes.


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Sumana U
German to English
+ ...
SDL MultiTerm Extract? Apr 16, 2008

Could anyone please share the information on how useful SDL MultiTerm Extract is to build the quality termbase? Is it time consuming?

I tried to create a new termbase after validating the terms in SDL MultiTerm Extract. It takes a lot of time and quality of terms extracted is also not up to the expected quality.
Have you experienced the same? Or is there any other method to proceed in the creation of termbase?
Is there any other useful software to extract the terms which can perform better and hence saves time than SDL MT Extract?

Thanks in advance


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Xia29  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 10:58
English to French
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Apr 18, 2008

Thank you all for sharing your experience with termbases.

I will definitely try building a termbase from terms that appear frequently in a project before starting to translate. It sounds like a very efficient way to use a termbase, thank you Viktoria for suggesting this approach! At the moment I look up words as I translate, but now that I am looking at using a CAT tool I need to rethink my strategy to make the most of it.

And I couldn't face entering words one by one!


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xxxhazmatgerman
Local time: 10:58
English to German
Smolej experience Apr 18, 2008

Your contribution is great: it sums up in a few sentences what is essential to terminology management: do what you must with a sharp eye on the costs.
Neat.


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KSL Berlin  Identity Verified
Portugal
Local time: 09:58
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Define a lot of time Apr 18, 2008

mana u wrote:
Could anyone please share the information on how useful SDL MultiTerm Extract is to build the quality termbase? Is it time consuming?
I tried to create a new termbase after validating the terms in SDL MultiTerm Extract. It takes a lot of time and quality of terms extracted is also not up to the expected quality.


Although there is an irritating amount of "noise" in the results, I've found that I can extract in excess of 100 terms+translations per hour when mining bilingual material (TMs). I usually spend time picking choice example sentences for certain terms (if I have plans to create a dictionary for the client later - I use a modified version of the RTF export template that makes 2 column dictionaries), so I could work faster by not doing so. For identifying client-specific terminology I consider this an acceptable throughput. Billed as hourly work, this gives the customer a usable glossary at a cost per term which can't be approached by most other means, and the termbase you create can be used to filter subsequent jobs or TM versions.

I'm sure there are many better approaches - but if you are using Trados primarily, it's an effective, time-saving tool for bilingual work. For surveying terms in a text to be translated, however, it is usable, though not terribly efficient. I usually throw this material into Déjà Vu and use the Lexicon function to count frequencies. Then I export the mess to Excel and work up the list to translate from there. There are a number of freeware/shareware tools that will do something like this.


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