Logos Multilingual Portal

17 - Sites and metasites

"the natural dreams of healthy persons often contain a much simpler, more transparent, and more characteristic symbolism than those of neurotics, which, owing to the greater strictness of the censorship and the more extensive dream-distortion resulting therefrom, are frequently troubled and obscured, and are therefore more difficult to translate"1.

Another group of internet resources that can be particularly useful to translators consists of specialized dictionaries. As concerns technical language that is spoken only in specialized environments, the possibility of an internet publication is sometimes directly decisive, because the limited number of people dealing with such matters can even determine the lack of financial resources for a paper publication.

In this field there are sites and metasites too: the latter are virtual places where the resources themselves are not collected, but their addresses are gathered, a sort of routing hub to facilitate access to the resources.

One of these is the site Language Automation at www.lai.com. From the home page you click on "companion" and you are in The translator's home companion, one of the world's most useful pages for translators. On this page one of the options on the left is "glossaries", which takes you to the list of languages in which glossaries are available:

Afrikaans Albanian Algerian Arabic Artificial Languages Basque Belorussian Breton Bulgarian Catalan Chechen Chinese Czech Danish Dutch English Estonian European Union Finnish French Gaelic Georgian German Greek Hawaiian Hebrew Hindi Hungarian Icelandic Indonesian Italian Jamaican Japanese Korean Latin Lithuanian Malay Maltese Maori Multilingual and Other Language Dictionaries Native American Norwegian Polish Portuguese Romanian Russian Sanskrit Sign language Slovak Slovene Somali Spanish Sumerian Swahili Swedish Tagalog Thai Turkish Ukrainian Urdu Vietnamese Welsh Yiddish

and the areas covered by the glossaries:

Architecture Art Automotive Aviation Biology Boating Botany Business Chemistry Computing Education Energy Engineering Environment Finance Food Fun stuff Health History Horses Insurance Internet Law Library and Information Sciences Linguistics Literature Mathematics Media Medicine Meteorology Military Pharmacology Politics Religion Science Slang Space Sports Technical Telecommunications Wine

Such subject groupings are of course very generic and, if you go into depth with one, you discover a lot of branching. For example, searching under telecommunications you can find the glossary produced by the International Telecommunication Union "Termite." Searching for a keyword within the powerful search engine, you are referred directly to the relevant international norm, that is the primary source of every term. In this way, in addition to the advantage of accessing the primary source, you have the advantage of having more than just a definition, but a usage context as well.

From the language section, clicking on nearly any language, you can access among others one of the more versatile dictionaries ever seen, the Czech dictionary called Multilingual dictionary at the site http://www.slovnik.cz/. It provides English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian and Latin translatants of Czech words, and vice versa. The quantity of technical terms present in the dictionary is impressive too, and the dictionary is completely free because it is funded by advertisement. Consulting the Latin-Czech combination, you learn that «friend» in the two languages is translated amicus - přítel.

At the address http://www.uwasa.fi/comm/termino/collect/, corresponding to a page of the portal of the Helsinki University, you find a similar service. The main page is divided in two parts: on the left you find the writing: Word on line. General language. Dictionaries, followed by a grid of the search engine. On the left you find the symmetrical writing Term on line. Special language. Glossaries, followed by a grid of the search engine. The site, thus, invites you to formulate queries of translatants initially specifying if they are only words (therefore words of the common, generic language) or terms (therefore words of a specialized language).

Even the approach of the two search engines is different: the former invites, as a first move, the choice of a language, while the second invites you to choose a specialization. This setting alone leads one to guess that in the latter case the choice of the subject prevails over the choice of the language, in the sense that if an expert gets to know the version of a term in a language, it is often not very difficult for her to transfer such a knowledge to other languages.

If for example I choose in the left part of the page "sign language", I find these links:

The American Language: A Basic Dictionary of ASL Terms.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; ASL Finger spelling page.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; American Sign Language Browser. by Michigan State University Communication Technology Laboratory.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; Blissymbolics Communication International.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; Deaf World Web. Multilingual Sign Language Browser.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; The Deafblind Manual Alphabet. A-Z to Deafblindness. by James Gallagher.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; Basic signs for BSL. British Sign Language. Signlanguage.web.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]; Deutsches Fingeralphabet. German Manual Alphabet. by Institute of German Sign Language and Communication of The Deaf.;[ok 6.2.2004 tp]

If on the contrary in the right part of the page I choose a subject, for example «European Union», I am linked to the site of the TIS, Terminological Information System, at the address http://tis.consilium.eu.int/utfwebtis/frames/introfsEN.htm, the simplified version of the terminology database used by terminologists and translators working in the General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union.

Within the framework of the European Union there is the very popular multilingual glossary Eurodicautom at the address http://europa.eu.int/eurodicautom/Controller. Here is the grid of the home page:

As you see, you need to state the prototext and metatext languages (for the metatext you can indicate more than one). If you are doing a specific research on a subject and you want only translatants for that subject, you can also specify a "subject", narrowing in that way the search to such a subject. You must pick from the "hitlist" menu one of the options, otherwise the result will be incomplete.

For example, if I set as a Source language Italian and as target language "English" and ask to translate the word "digitale", I get very many translatants, mostly concerning "digital" in many word combinations. If on the contrary I specify as a subject "medicine", I get less answers, but all of the medical section:

herpes digitale herpes digitalis; agnosia digitale finger agnosia; lettore digitale digital read-out;impronta digitale ridges of fingertips; unità di digitale digitalis units; radiologia digitale; digital radiology; angiografia digitale digital angiography; ippocratismo digitale Hippocratic finger; plastica digitale di Huber Huber finger plasty; angiografia digitale a sottrazione digital subtraction angiography; angiografia digitale per via venosa digital subtraction angiography; arteria digitale plantare del quinto dito plantar artery of the fifth fibular digit; arteria digitale plantare mediale dell'alluce plantar artery of the tibial hallux

In the next unit we'll go on examining online resources for translators, examining specialized dictionaries.


Bibliographical references

EURODICAUTOM available in the world wide web at the address http://europa.eu.int/eurodicautom/Controller, consulted 17 May 2004.

FREUD SIGMUND, L'interpretazione dei sogni, in Opere, vol. 3, Torino, Boringhieri, a cura di C. L. Musatti, 1966.

FREUD SIGMUND, The Interpretation Of Dreams, translated by A. A. Brill, London, G. Allen & company, 1913.

LANGUAGE AUTOMATION, available in the world wide web at the address www.lai.com, consulted 17 May 2004.

MULTILINGUAL DICTIONARY available in the world wide web all'indirizzo www.slovnik.cz, consulted 17 May 2004.

TERMINOLOGICAL INFORMATION SYSTEM, available in the world wide web at the address http://tis.consilium.eu.int/utfwebtis/frames/introfsEN.htm, consulted 17 May 2004.

TERMINOLOGY COLLECTION. ONLINE DICTIONARIES, available in the world wide web at the address http://www.uwasa.fi/comm/termino/collect/, consulted 17 May 2004.

1 Freud 1900: 325-326.