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Terminology in Manitoba

Translation Services
Manitoba Department of Culture, Heritage and Tourism


Every day public servants come across a large number of terms and proper nouns in all subject fields, from business administration and computer science to zoology. Not surprisingly, language is always changing, and new titles are constantly being created. In Manitoba, the English and French terminology and nomenclature used by government is compiled by translators in Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism's Translation Services Branch. Two terminologists carry out further research and manage the data bank that contains information for users looking to choose the right term, find an official name or have a concept explained. The bank is an indispensable tool, not only for speeding up research, but for distributing the results of terminology work, providing equivalents, highlighting usage, ensuring consistency in texts and standardizing terms.

The content of the Translation Services data bank goes back to 1980, when employees established a central terminology collection consisting of cards in a drawer. Records were handwritten and then typed. In the 1990s, word processing software (Wang, WordPerfect and Word) replaced the typewriter. After 20 years, the collection's drawers contained over 16,000 records. In 2000, when the Terminology Section acquired MultiTerm 95, the terminologists created a terminology data bank and began converting records for input to the bank. The work took over three years to complete. In addition, the layout of the records changed with each software upgrade. Translation Services currently uses MultiTerm 2007, as well as a translation memory, a text-alignment tool and two document management systems.

The bank is updated regularly and now holds over 30,000 electronic records containing more than 37,000 English terms and 34,500 French terms. Moreover, since 2010, a secondary bank has been made available to users—especially the branch's freelancers—so they can view some of the records on the Web. This bank, known as MB15EX, now contains over 5,300 records.

Besides managing and disseminating terminological data, terminologists are responsible for the office’s library and provide support to Translation Services staff and freelancers. This support often presents an opportunity for terminologists to review relevant records and to transfer them to the secondary data bank. In the coming years, online records will make up an ever-greater portion of the internal bank’s content.

We invite you to consult MB15EX. Just click on OK to open or reset the bank.