FSD Bulletin

Issue 31 (3/2010)

ISSN 1457-7682

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FSD Bulletin is the electronic newsletter of the Finnish Social Science Data Archive. The Bulletin provides information and news related to the data archive and social science research.


Finnish Social Science Data Archive
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Translation Strategies and Equivalence in Multilingual Thesauri

Hannele Keckman-Koivuniemi

Susanna NykyriSusanna Nykyri completed and successfully defended her PhD thesis "Equivalence and Translation Strategies in Multilingual Thesaurus Construction" at the Åbo Akademi University in the spring of 2010. She studied the translatability of certain British-English social science indexing terms into Finnish language and culture, and the concept of equivalence and translation goals in multilingual thesauri.

She investigated whether there are any differences between Finnish and British discourses regarding family roles as thesaurus terms, and if there are, what kinds of differences. The terms used as examples were: family roles, breadwinners, heads of household, homemakers and housewives. The significance of the noted differences for multilingual thesaurus construction was also examined. Another research question focused on the pragmatic indexing term equivalence.

Nykyri found that it was indeed possible to identify different discourses but that the differences between expert groups (social scientists, indexers and thesaurus constructors) tended to be greater than differences between cultures (Finnish versus English). Different expert groups had different expectations of multilingual thesauri and different translation aims which poses a big challenge for thesaurus constructors.

Indexing term equivalence turned out to be context-dependent. Thesaurus term equivalence is defined within the library and information science but there is still much room for interpretation. The current LIS tools do not provide enough analytical tools for term equivalence issues. Tools provided by translation science might be of benefit. Factors influencing indexing term equivalence should be discussed more precisely than has been done so far.

More information: Susanna Nykyri's thesis