Rahvusvaheline terminoloogiakonverents
"Eesti oskuskeel 2003"

The Danterm Users Group

Susanne Lervad

The Danterm Users Group is a non-commercial association of terminology in Denmark. The Danterm Users Group represents Denmark in the EAFT like ETER represents Estonia.

The aims of the The Danterm Users Group are:

The use of term bases in conjunction with language technology tools, such as computer-based dictionairies, machine-assisted translation and grammar checking programs, will ensure greater efficiency in language handling.

The Danterm Users Group is linked to a number of research institutions: the University of Southern Denmark, Copenhagen Business School and DantermCentret in Copenhagen.

In my presentation I will give an overview of the background of terminology work in Denmark and talk about the work we are currently doing.


Despite the existence of a terminological infrastructure in terms of interest and motivation in Danish institutions and companies, it took many years to establish a users group and a terminology centre.

Already in the 1940s a Terminology Bureau was established for co-ordinating terminology-related work. The Bureau however, stopped its activities in 1959.

The Danish Terminology Group was founded in 1974, shortly after Denmark joined the European Community. It is an umbrella organisation for all terminological activities in Denmark, comprising, for instance:

The Danterm Users Group is related to and founded by the Danish Terminology Group. The Users group co-operates with a number of large companies and institutions. The Danish Terminology Group has initiated many terminological projects in co-operation with other Nordic countries within the Nordterm project, and it has participated in EU projects as well, e.g.  by supplying databanks with Danish terminology.

The Terminology Group is also represented in international standard organisations.

The Danterm project –establishment of a national terminology bank

A very important initiative of the Terminology Grup was the first Danterm project, which aimed at the establishment of a national term bank meeting the needs of all Danish users.

The project started already in 1976 with support from the Danish Research Council. A very comprehensive data model was designed and implemented at the Copenhagen Business School and the University of Southern Denmark, but unfortunately it was not possible to obtain ressources for large-scale production of terminological data or for service functions. Nevertheless, the data model is still used for research and training, and it also forms the basis for the development of other terms bases, e.g. in individual companies.

During all these years, the co-operation between the The Danterm Users Group and research insitutions) have been very profitable particularly in the field of environment and agriculture.

In the last few years, Danish companies have started to pay much more attendtions to language issues, and there is a growing awareness of the importance of quick access within specialised fields, and of the use of language technology.

The Danish Technology Board

A report of the Danish Technology Board in 1994 stressed the importance of furthering the development of language technology tools for Danish.

Since co-operation and exchange of data are crucial to a small country like Denmark, the report also suggested the development of a Danish Standard for the description of the content and structure of lexical data collections, i.e. term bases (dictionairies and word bases).

The report suggested that a comprehensive dictionary should be compiled for use in computer systems. This project has also become a reality at th Danish Centre for Language Technology.

The report also stressed the importance of creating a Danish Terminology Centre in order to facilitate the establishment of term bases in companies. The Danterm Centre was created in 1998.

The Danterm Centre co-operates closely with the Danterm Users Group and its objectives are:

  1.  contribute to the developemnt of know-how within the field of terminology through co-operation with a number of companies and research institutions.
  2.  develop methods and tools for creation and management of term banks in companies.

Not understanding or even worse, misunderstanding technical messages may cost companies and the society as a whole considerable sums of money. One of the most important factors in technical communication is the correct understanding and use of terms that express technical concepts. It is thus important to have the content and the delimitation of technical terms explained, and to register this information in a systematic way so that it can quickly be found again One tool for storing and retrieving such information is a term base. By “technical communication” we mean here principally the reality of the production of text in one’s own language or in a foreign language, as well as translation between these languages. It is therefore important to have access to information on technical concepts in Danish and foreign languages.


The Centre Contract

This project was carried out in 1998-2001. The participants included:

The aims of the centre contract were:

The project in the six companies fall in two main groups according to the system they use:

It was very profitable to work together with the companies. The workshops gave the companies and the reaserchers an opportunity to meet and discuss problems and ideas and we continue this communication within the Danterm Users Group.

In companies whose terminology is stored electronically in a term base, employees can have easy access to the company’s specialised (technical) language, including terms in Danish and foreign languages., grammatical information, text examples, definition and concept relations. In a company’s term base you can also give information as to which terms, out of a number of synonyms, has been adopted for use in all the company’s texts. This is an important way for the companies to achieve consistency in both Danish and foreign language texts, which contributes to quality assurance and standardisation in the company’s text production.

Different methods in different companies

Some companies already have a term base in an old database system, which they can convert to a new system. In such cases it is necessary to:

Other companies start from scratch – they need a new term base or knowledge base and in such cases we normally recommend the use of a relational database system such as MC Access. In these cases it is necessary to:

As mentioned above, we also help companies in:

Another important key word is information management. We believe that term bases should be used not only by translators but also by subjects specialists, and this will increase the interest for using terms bases in companies


The following research topics could be mentioned as examples:

Exchange of knowledge between companies, the Danterm Users Group and research institutions

Knowledge was shared among the project participants, and the results of the project are used in educational activities and curricula of research institutions:

Examples of student’s projects:

  1. Testing automatic alignment of different types of texts
  2. Analysis of economical texts in relation to the use of different text memory systems
  3. Testing and evaluation of word-class tags

hese initiatives have led to new research projects in co-operation with research institutions and companies in Denmark, the Nordic Countries and Europe.

Members and the board

The members of the Danterm Users Group include representatives from various institutions, industries and the financial sector, as well as terminologists, technical writers, translators, etc.

Events and Newsletter

We publish a newsletter 2-3 times a year, containing news from the terminology field, member experiences, EAFTnews, etc.

More information availble at:





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