SYMPOSIA PAPER Published: 01 January 1995

Preparation of Multilingual Vocabularies


Because of the globalization of markets, the rapid growth of communications, the multicultural fabric of Canada and the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the Terminology and Documentation Directorate (TDD) of the Canadian Translation Bureau is broadening the focus of its work to encompass languages other than English and French in a multilingual, rather than bilingual context.

This paper compares the work methods and end products of several organizations that publish multilingual vocabularies.

Although basic terminology procedures apply to the preparation of multilingual vocabularies, research in additional languages compounds the problems encountered in comparative terminology work. These difficulties involve locating appropriate documentation in each of the languages, identifying a focal language for the drafting of definitions and observations, dealing with inexact equivalents and translation problems, analyzing concepts for which there are no equivalents, distinguishing geographic differences, establishing a network of cross-references for related terms, and indexing the target languages.

The TDD utilizes its publications to recommend correct usage as a means of fulfilling its mandate to standardize English and French terminology used in all Canadian federal institutions, and to promote Canada's two official languages. With its new multilingual approach, the directorate will go one step further, and use English and French as a link to communication in a third language. This, in turn, advances the process of terminology standardization and improves communication efforts on an international level.

Author Information

Hutcheson, HM
Translation Services, Government of Canada, Ottawa, Canada
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Developed by Committee: E02
Pages: 102–114
DOI: 10.1520/STP13749S
ISBN-EB: 978-0-8031-5295-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-8031-1984-0