IATE is the EU inter-institutional terminology database system. Once fully online, it will be used for the collection, dissemination and shared management of EU-specific terminology. This system will be multilingual and will be available to EU agencies and institutions, freelance translators and European citizens.
Online access in a read and write mode will make new terms available to all database users immediately. Let us take a concrete scenario: Camille is a French to Italian translator within the European Commission's Translation Service. Her specialist subject is European employment policy.
IATE provides a simple search interface that allows users to retrieve information from the database. Camille has been asked to translate a text on EMPLOI, the Community Employment initiative. As this is a new topic for her, she has to familiarise herself with topic-specific terminology.
The user can specify the language of the word(s) in question and the language(s) required. Camille specifies that her starter language will be French and the target language will be Italian.
The user may also indicate additional search criteria like the subject domain a term belongs to or the Institution that introduced the concept. In order to get a more global perspective on vocabulary, Camille can select a subject domain code like "Social Affairs'.
Based on this information the system will provide a "hit-list" of the search term in the requested languages. From this list the user can - by a simple mouse click - retrieve additional information, like definition or examples of the usage of a term. Having retrieved her hit-list in Italian and French, Camille is not only able to understand the basic meaning of the terms she requested, but also read an overview of the background. In this way, she is able to produce a far more informed and precise piece of work.
So it's all clear: none of us is Camille!