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INTERVAL will produce methods and tools to validate and standardise the terminological resources essential in a variety of applications, such as translation, document management, and software localisation. The project will validate 20,000 concepts for several languages, develop management, consolidation and validation software, and produce training guides to identify existing resources and describe their quality, acquisition, consolidation and validation. It will also cut the cost of terminology creation and maintenance, facilitate its reuse, ensure compatibility between sources and lead to quality resources.
Progress and Initial Results
The first year of work has already made it possible to put the initial methodologies and working bases of the project into operation. Scientific and technical committees have been set up in order to ensure that the project is carried out effectively. A number of deliverables are complete.
The interest that the project has aroused within the linguistic services market demonstrates its high profile in the European terminology market. The growing user club, with over 25 members, is supporting the project with increased awareness and wider requirements and feedback.
Users' Survey
The methodology used to conduct the user survey was based on the conclusions of the POINTER (Proposals for an Operational Infrastructure for Terminology in Europe) framework and the experience of INTERVAL partners in the terminology field. One of the main conclusions of the POINTER final report was that in spite of the voluminous inventories of terminology resources catalogued in many countries, users consider existing resources as largely inadequate, since they are insufficiently developed, not up-to-date, inadequately validated, and frequently unavailable in the languages required.
In order to gain a clear and accurate description of users' needs the project has conducted in-depth qualitative interviews of selected and representative groups of users already aware of the relevance of terminology or involved in terminology work.
The general trends expressed by the users concerning validation requirements highlighted the need for:
- data content specifications
- methodological description
- a validation process
- human resources
- usage specifications.
These different aspects of terminology validation and quality are the focus of current developments in INTERVAL.
Methodologies and Surveys
The first methodological recommendations cover three important aspects of terminological activity:
- co-operation between technical experts and terminologists in terminological validation
- evaluation of the quality of resources
- consolidation of terminological data
An inventory of the existing terminological resources, numbering almost 400, was established for the areas of finance and telecommunications. This is now completed for the official languages of the European Union. A study of intellectual property rights in the terminology field has also been completed and model contract agreements for publishing terminological resources have been drafted.
Resources selected from the survey are being acquired so that the quality evaluation criteria can be applied and the resources consolidated.
The Platform
Four of the organisations involved in the Interval project are developing terminological database management tools. These are among the best known on the market today: Multiterm (Trados), System Quirk (University of Surrey), Lexpro (LCI) and DicTip (CL).
Software development in the INTERVAL project will create a bridge between these different tools which will support exchange and consolidation of terminological data. This will be achieved by the definition of an inter-working format. This format and the platform being developed are entirely compatible with existing standards such as MARTIF (machine-readable terminology interchange format).
The Way Ahead
The project enters its second year with a sound foundation of surveys results and basic methodologies completed. Development will now focus on acquisition, validation and consolidation of resources, together with development of the common exchange format and associated tools.
Initial results will be made available on the World Wide Web, followed by publication of a Newsletter. Subsequent and final project results (manuals, methodologies, validated data, tools, etc.) will be made available in multimedia format, as 'demonstrators', on CD-ROM and through the Web.
At the same time the project will promote awareness of the indispensable value of terminology validation. The project will conduct an information campaign aimed at reaching more than 10,000 potential users throughout Europe. Close co-operation is envisaged with ELRA, for distribution of results.

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CL Servicios Lingüísticos SA
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c\ Fuencarral no 123
28010 Madrid

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