Hebrew Terminology and the Online Site of Academy Terms 29/07/2018 – Posted in: General
The Hebrew Terminology Project is more than 100 years old. The Hebrew Language Committee started on this undertaking when the Hebrew language needed basic words for daily life, terms for subject areas in the schools, for work in factories and activities in all the professions and areas of life. The Academy continues in this endeavor with which it is charged by law. In this era of globalization the need for Hebrew terminology is even greater since with all the new technologies and theories, there has also come a profusion of new terms that require, at least in part, Hebrew alternatives.
Members of the professional committees and the Central Terminology Committee are experts from different professional fields and experts in the Hebrew language who determine the precise Hebrew terms in all areas of science, technology, economics, the arts, the humanities and daily life. During the past decade, the terminology committees were, and still are, active in a very wide range of areas: the environment, banking and the stock market, geography, zoology, information technology, law, literature, medicine, transportation, communication, oenology (wine), fashion, and more.
The terminology committees work in cooperation with governmental and public entities (the IDF, the Standards Institute and government ministries) in which tens of members are active across the country – people in the professions and language experts – all of whom participate in the committees with no remuneration whatsoever, doing so out of dedication to the profession and love of the Hebrew language.
The fruits of their labor are tangible in the hundreds of terminology dictionaries the Academy has produced in all areas of science and of life and in the database on the Academy’s online site.
The Academy’s Terminology Website
The Academy’s terminology website is the showcase of the Hebrew Terminology Project. The Academy took the website live in 2001, with 300 lists and dictionaries in approximately 100 professions and fields encompassing about 130,000 terms set by the Language Committee and the Academy of Language since 1912. It serves professionals in all areas of life (translators, editors, authors of training and operation manuals, and others) as well as the general public. In the mid-1980s, collection began of all the terms set by the Hebrew Language Committee and the Academy – which were spread out among different dictionaries and lists (in memoranda of the Hebrew Language Committee, in the Leshonenu journal, in Academy memoranda, in publication files, etc.) – and placed into a computerized database. By the mid-1990s, the database was placed at the disposal of the Academy’s scientific secretariat via a software program for internal use and became a crucial aid for the Academy’s professional terminology committees in examining and comparing terms set in the past.
In the next stage, a website was created which presented all the terms to the general public and as mentioned, went live in 2001. The site is an efficient tool for dissemination of terms. Terms can be located according to English (or Latin) words, Hebrew words, by Hebrew root, according to the dictionary, etc. At the same time, an updating and editing tool was created in order to give the Academy’s scientific secretariat the possibility of integrating new dictionaries and updating the database on their own without having to depend on the IT staff.
The Academy’s terminology website has great value: It documents over 100 years of Hebrew terminology and presents what was customary during the period in which the terms were determined. At the same time, the database provides information about current, proper and binding terminology – both from the grammatical and lexical perspectives.
The Academy is working to upgrade the terminology database so that it is in line with the level of current practice and to meet the needs of the Academy employees who work with the database, and in order to provide a solution to one of the complex challenges of the database: The synthesis between presenting the history of the term and presenting the currently binding standard. The Academy’s scientific secretariat and the computing division worked cooperatively to characterize the specifications of a new site and for a new structure for the database.
Today, there is an urgent need to realize this program: The updating and editing software development required to manage the site’s content and building a site that presents the information to the public.