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Project Background


▶ Need for the Terminology Project

  • The ultimate objective of terminology research is to eliminate the obstacles to information and knowledge communication caused by language blocks. As most information and knowledge already exist on computers, the project strives to construct a system that will enable anyone to freely use terminologies in his or her native language, to smoothly communicate with someone who is speaking a different language.
  • Terminology research begins not only with accurately grasping the technical expressions used in specialized areas, but also with understanding and recording the diverse phenomena related to everyday language.

▶ State-Level Importance of the Terminology Project

  1. Socioeconomic Importance of Terminology
    • In modern society, information, capital, labor, and time form the 4 factors of production.
    • Terminologies are linguistic expressions of specialized knowledge information, and as such, the rapid and accurate communication of specialized knowledge information is achieved only through the use of terminologies.
    • For this reason, a systematically developed terminology database is crucial for economic development.


  2. Importance of Terminology Research and Standardization at the State Management Level
    • It is necessary to promote accurate state management and communications among a nation’s citizens based on accurate concepts, through nation-wide terminology standardization.


  3. Organic Regeneration of Knowledge through the Localization of Terminologies and Technologies
    • For the “Koreanization” of studies and its organic regeneration, the “Koreanization” and standardization of terminology, which serves as the basis of studies, must proceed.


  4. Importance of Responding to the International Standardization of Terminology and Inter-state Terminology Exchanges
    • To follow the international trend and to promote accurate communication with other countries, a response system for foreign terminologies and Korean terminologies must be created.


  5. Need for the Standardization of Terminologies Developed in China, South Korea and North Korea, and an Integrated Channel for the same
    • A government policy regarding terminology unification of the South and North Korean languages is necessary.


  6. Economic/Social/Technological Necessities of Terminology Research and Development
    • Economic and Industrial Aspects
      • As Korea’s information industry has been limited to the translation of technologies developed in the US into Korean, it is important to foster the growth of a self-generated domestic information industry. For this, the definition of Korean terminologies, which are specialized concepts in the Korean language, must proceed.
      • The establishment of a multidisciplinary, high-capacity, and all-inclusive terminology database, which would serve as a first line of defense for Korea’s computer industry against mega-corporations such as Microsoft, is needed to achieve an import substitution effect.
      • Developing Korean information processing technology based on terminologies to by-discipline, high-capacity information space technology and applying this to foreign language software development following the multi-lingual standards lead to exportation of software and other related products manufactured in Korea


    • Social and Cultural Aspects
      • Considering that language functions as an ambassador of culture, large-scale, by-discipline language space information processing technologies should be fostered for the preservation and protection of Korean culture, as well as to promote future developments.
      • National cultural promotion policies are needed to counter the import of information-related software and other consumer products that are based on incorrect Korean culture and language information processing technologies.
      • By securing large-scale, by-discipline Korean language information processing technology, a contribution can be made to the diffusion of information communities created purely in the Korean language.


    • Technological Aspects
      • To achieve early entry to the information society of the future, large-scale information processing technology must reflect the unique qualities of each discipline and of Korean information processing technology.
      • High-capacity Korean information processing technology must be preceded by the development of in-depth processing technologies that organize concepts in each respective field.
      • This by-discipline approach to the development of processing technology is a necessary foundation for practical applications in the internet and information industries.
      • This technology will in turn serve as the base for information technology as the foundational technology for high-capacity database technology, large-scale text analysis technology, real time machine translation technology, and intelligent information technology.
      • The quality maintenance of Korean information processing will subsequently secure and commercialize Korean information technology that has been stabilized by establishing the terminologies used in various disciplines.

▶ Basic Principles of the Terminology Project, and its Importance

The consideration of terminologies as means of communication must be preceded by the following tasks.
  1. Extracting the concepts of terminologies and terminology lists
  2. Developing a scientific approach to the terminology standardization process by collecting the linguistic settings (uses) of terminologies, and typologizing these
  3. Distributing the terminologies and corpora to international terminology centers.
In (1), extract lists of terminologies from existing terminology dictionaries, and set a basic format for the terminology database.

In (2), as most terminologies are nouns, it is important to grasp the manner in which these nouns are used in sentences. Therefore, extracting all possible examples of how a terminology is used in Korean, and then deciding which examples to include and how to present these in a terminology database, are both very important tasks. However, the true standardization and distribution of a terminology must deal with all uses of the terminology in different sentences. In other words, the standardization of a terminology written in its noun-form cannot be used unless its uses are defined within a linguistic setting. A scientific approach to terminology standardization processes must be all-encompassing in this manner.

For example, ambiguity in the meaning of a polysemous word presents us with a problem when we try to comprehend the meaning of the terminology.

Let as use “프로그램” (“program”) and “선반" (“plate”) as our examples:

When we search the term “돌리다” in "프로그램을 돌리다" (“to run a program”) and "선반을 돌리다" (“to spin a plate“) in a dictionary to translate the phrases into English, the Korean-English dictionary gives the following information:

•〔가동운영하다〕 work; operate; run; drive; set [put] in motion.
• 기계를 ∼ set a machine in motion/work [operate] a machine.
• 공장을 ∼ operate a plant.

However, the definition of the word changes in each case, and is different from that given in the dictionary:
"프로그램을 돌리다" → "run the program"
"문서를 돌리다" → "pass the handout"
"다이얼을 돌리다" → "dial "
To resolve this problem, it is necessary to subdivide the noun’s properties from its terminological cases. As demonstrated above, each noun denotes different meanings according to its properties [different uses]. By deriving a pattern in these uses, resolving ambiguities caused by polysemous terms, and at the same time, demonstrating each use in sentences, an electronic dictionary capable of providing a terminology translation service can be created.

As noted in (3), the terminology project implemented in cooperation with international terminology organizations is directly linked to the promotion of correct writing in the disciplines, as well as to domestic and international terminology standardizations. Terminology distribution, terminology education, terminology curriculum construction, and establishment of domestic and intentional organizations are also an important requirement.