The Terminology Section in the Federal Chancellery’s Central Language Services provides relevant and up-to-date terminology in the four national languages and in English for the whole of the Federal Administration. It translates laws and other texts into Romansh and English, and so enables the government and Federal Administration to communicate and provide information in these languages as well.
The Terminology Section supports the federal offices and other federal agencies with terminology work, i.e. in recording, publishing and distributing their specialist vocabulary. Assuring the quality of terminology used in a text, be it originally written or a translation, greatly influences its clarity and readability. The Terminology Section operates in all four national languages plus English, and ensures that the terminology it processes is made publicly available via TERMDAT, the Confederation’s terminology database. The work of the Terminology Section helps to ensure the quality of multilingual communication and information distribution in the Federal Administration.
The Romansh coordination office in the Terminology Section coordinates all matters relating to the use of Romansh in the Federal Administration. Texts are translated in-house or sent out to the Graubünden Cantonal Chancellery in Chur. Besides translating and updating legislative texts, the service is also responsible for the Romansh (Rumantsch Grischun) version of other important texts such as the Federal Council’s explanatory statements on popular votes (including videos). Other publications, webpages etc. are translated as required. The Terminology Section thus plays an important role in providing official communications in all four national languages.
The English Language Service in the Terminology Section translates texts into English for the Federal Chancellery, the President of the Confederation, for many of the federal offices and agencies and for the Parliamentary Services. The English Language Service is also responsible for the English translation of legislative texts and for keeping existing English language versions of laws up to date. It plays an important role in ensuring the quality of communication in English by the government and Federal Administration.
Centre of Expertise for Language Technologies
The Centre of Expertise for Language Technologies (CoELT) provides ICT services in language technologies for the Federal Administration. It offers training and technical support for the CAT tool (computer-assisted translation) used throughout the Federal Administration, organises and assists with the rollout of new versions of the tool, and ensures the development of interfaces to related systems. Machine translation and other language technologies such as computer-assisted text and corpus analysis are also within its remit. Moreover, the CoELT keeps track of market developments and, with user involvement, initiates evaluation and procurement projects for appropriate technologies.
The CoELT maintains close contact with the Conference of Language Services, the Terminology Section and the Federal Office of Information Technology, Systems and Telecommunication FOITT and also with higher education institutions and language technology companies.
Coordination and cooperation
The Terminology Section coordinates its work with the multilingual cantons and participates in international bodies such as the Rat für deutsche Terminologie and Conference of Translation Services of European States (COTSOES).
In addition to the TERMDAT terminology database, the Terminology Section also compiles guidelines and other aids to drawing up and translating texts. These publications ensure greater coherence among texts published in several languages. The section also provides advice to federal employees and members of the public on language and terminology issues.
Continuing education and training
Each year, the Terminology Section runs courses in several languages on the methodology of terminology work and on using TERMDAT. The English Language Service coordinates the Federal Administration’s network of English translators and regularly organises continuing education and training events.