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Welcome to the Cloud Terminology Service logo-taas

By Tatiana Gornostay

For those of us working in the translation industry, it is of great importance to take care of our professional language. Qualitative, consistent, and reliable terminology is at the very core of a specialized text. The way we generate, manage, and use terminology is critical to our professional activities.
A cloud terminology service has recently gone public for open Beta testing1, “TaaS: Terminology as a Service.” The platform is based on cloud-computing technology and has been established to meet the requirements of language professionals. The service is user-friendly, with an intuitive graphical user interface; multilingual, with 24 languages supported; collaborative, with sharing facilities; portable, operating within various working environments; and interoperable, supporting the ISO TermBase eXchange standard (TBX) and other popular import/export formats, for example, Comma-Separated Value (CSV) and Tab-Separated Value (TSV).

The TaaS platform provides the following terminology service functionalities:

  • Identify and extract term candidates in/from your documents automatically;
  • Retrieve translation candidates from various sources (for example, the EU’s multilingual term base IATE, EuroTermBank, and TAUS Data);
  • Refine terms and their translations and approve your terminology in a collaborative environment;
  • Store your terminology privately, or publish it on TaaS and share it with other users;
  • Use your terminology in other translation environment tools (for example, memoQ, LetsMT!, and others).

Let’s take a closer look at the ways in which language professionals can benefit from this terminology service.

First steps

When first visiting the TaaS homepage, you will notice a welcome message and intro video that briefly guides you through the service. TaaS also provides a terminology search service for its unregistered visitors. Enter a term in the search window to search the EuroTermBank database. EuroTermBank is the largest European online term bank, providing access to more than 2 million standardized terms from more than 100 national terminology resources in 27 languages. You are also likely to get results from the TaaS database, which consists of TaaS users’ terminology collections made public by users.

To perform most of your work, you have to register for the service. Upon registration, you create a new terminology project, indicating the source and target languages and the domain you are working in. You might also want to specify optional properties, such as product, customer, project description, and the business unit (in case of a corporate user). TaaS also provides a default project with project properties already set for demonstration purposes.

Finally, you have to set the status of your project – private or public. If you set the status of your project to public, your approved terminology will be available for search and lookup by other TaaS users; if you set the status to private, your approved terminology will be available only to project users. Start working with TaaS by using the default project or creating a new project. In both cases, you are an administrator of your project.

Documents

The first step is to add documents to your project. TaaS supports 13 most popular formats. Note that for the TXT format, UTF-8 encoding is required. Also, the open Beta testing version has certain limitations in terms of file and project size. A drag and drop function is available for your convenience.

You can customize terminology extraction by selecting documents for processing (in case you upload several documents and do not want to process them all at once). Note that at least one document must be selected.

Extraction

Next, select tools for extracting term candidates in the source language from your documents. TaaS offers two term extraction tools. The first tool is based on linguistic analysis (part of speech tagging, morpho-syntactic patterns, etc.) enriched by such statistical features as a frequency score. The second tool is based on language-independent statistical analysis. We recommend you select the first tool; however, the statistical tools might also be of help in certain cases, for example, when linguistic processing produces insufficient results. Note that at least one tool must be selected.

Finalize extraction customization by selecting sources for target translation equivalent candidates. Six sources are available for lookup in the open Beta testing version. These are as follows:

  • TaaS public collections made available by other TaaS users. Do you remember the status property of your project? If you want other users to get lookup results from your terminology collections, set your project to public.
  • Your collections (owned by you) from your other projects; you will get these later when you create other projects.
  • EuroTermBank (mentioned earlier).
  • Inter-Active Terminology for Europe (IATE) is an inter-institutional terminology database of the European Union. Lookup in IATE might take a few more minutes.
  • TAUS Data stores shared translation memories. Lookup in this source might take a while depending on the languages of your project; English, Spanish, French, Dutch, and Portuguese will take longer due to regional variants. For example, the English-Spanish project will take into account the five variants of the English language (Australia, Canada, South Africa, United Kingdom, and United States) and the four variants of the Spanish language (International, Spain, Mexico, and Latin America). Thus, the processing time will be twenty times longer.
  • TaaS database of raw terminological data automatically extracted from Web original and translated texts (aka, comparable and parallel corpora).

Note that at least one tool must be selected. Now you are ready to start extraction.

Terms

As soon as extraction finishes, you will see extracted terms from your documents and their translation candidates retrieved by TaaS. In the middle, you will notice the column Approved translations, where you will see target terms. Some filters are available for these purposes. If for some reason you do not want to see translation candidates from certain sources, check the boxes next to these sources. You can also hide terms with no approval and/or hide terms with no translation.

Hover over terms to get additional information – such as grammar, source, and context – and surf through the next pages (30 terms are displayed on one page). Approve terms with a single click – you will see your approved terms in bold. Add translations yourself in the Approved translations column, if you do not find the right translation from proposed translation candidates.

An extracted term with its translation candidate(s) forms a terminology entry. For advanced purposes, you might want to edit a term entry in full entry view using the term entry editor. Add additional information about your terms – definitions, notes, grammatical information, and usage properties such as term type, register, administrative status, temporal qualifier, geographical usage, and frequency. The history of editing is saved and is seen in the full entry view.

Visualization

You can see your terms highlighted in your documents in the Visualisation tab.

Share

If you work in a team, you can share your project – and thus your terminology – with your colleagues. First, assign one of three available roles to a new user of your project: administrator, with full access rights; editor, with limited access to editing rights; and reader, with limited access to reading rights. Your project can have more than one administrator; however, consider assigning the administrator’s role to other users of your project as they will get full access, including the right to delete your project and its terminology collection. The administrator’s role is usually assigned to the project manager in the translation team, who adds documents to the project, which are later processed by a terminologist, translator(s), editor(s), and other translation team members.

For language professionals who use memoQ, TaaS is also available in your translation environment tool. The latest version of memoQ (June 2014) includes access to the terminology service via the TaaS Application Program Interface (API). Let’s hope that other software developers will follow Kilgray’s example!

TaaS developers follow your feedback and are constantly developing the TaaS service to make it more friendly and easy to use. They are currently working on a terminology source coverage extension to make the lookup functionality more powerful. In the near future, this will be available to registered users within the updated version of TaaS.

  1. The platform “TaaS: Terminology as a Service” is available for open Beta testing. The development has been initiated by the five partners: Tilde from Latvia (coordinator), TAUS from the Netherlands, Kilgray from Hungary, Cologne University of Applied Science from Germany, and the University of Sheffield from the United Kingdom. The project is supported by the EU FP7 funding.

Dr. Tatiana Gornostay is an experienced manager, trainer, and researcher in both human and automated translation and terminology management. She works as a business development manager in terminology services, leads the terminology group at Tilde, and manages the cloud services for terminology work. She has participated in more than 10 national and international innovation projects. She is a frequent speaker at international business and academic events.


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