Information technology and telecommunications terminology: Latvia

Excerpted from issue #7 of Kääntäjä- Översättaren (magazine of the Finnish Association of Translators and Interpreters -

September 2003

Valters Feists is a translator and software localiser who is involved with the Latvian Academy of Sciences Information Technology and Telecommunications Terminology Subcommittee. When asked about the impact the forthcoming accession would have on his field, he says:

"We have a panel comprising about twenty technical experts, and our methodology for creating new IT terminology in Latvian is systematic and creative.

"In 2002, two new and fully-functional "prototypes" of terminology databases were brought online by Subcommittee affiliates at their own cost, and in 2003 a domestic IT association eventually raised and proffered funds intended to further the development of either of the sites. The data storage format will be Trados - the one stipulated also within the EU. More importantly, over the last 12 months the Latvian IT term subcommittee has ventured into publicising computer and telecoms terminology (much in demand by general public, linguists and IT businesses).

"It is becoming popular to emulate the new tendency of EU legislation by bringing telecommunications, software, computers and media under one umbrella term "electronic communication". The rapidly developing Latvian market often requires separate scrutiny of the sectors. It takes an experienced terminologist to determine the scope of such seemingly easy words as (tele)communication (EN), (tāl)sakari (LV) and svyaz' (RU).

"In contrast to many dreaded neologisms, the EU-related e-pārvalde ('e-government') and e-paraksts ('electronic signature') were the ones that caught on rather quickly. When analysing terms, the Subcommittee members tend to avail of multiple sources - American, European, Russian, etc. - especially when in need to clarify the meaning(s) of untoppably popular terms like website, traffic, telemarketing, media or default. The newer a national terminology is, the fewer contradictions it should contain."

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