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Importing IATE Terminology into TermStar (1/2)

Import IATE terminology into TermStar

Importing IATE Terminology into TermStar (1/2)

Would you like to be able to use the IATE terminology in your terminology management and translation memory tool? Keep on reading, cause we explain the How to. 

IATE (Inter-Active Terminology for Europe) is the EU's inter-institutional terminology database. Since 2004, their terminology database has been available online at http://iate.europa.eu.

IATE Search box

Through the IATE interface, users can search for the translation of a term from one source language into many target languages, with the added option of specifying the search field.

When searching for a term, many results will be shown from all of the categories and languages specified in the search.

IATE results

Without doubt, this is one of the most complete and useful terminology databases out there, especially for translating specialised or technical texts. However, it is time-consuming to perform individual searches every time you want to look up a term and this may negatively affect your productivity. It would therefore be incredibly useful to be able to import IATE termbases directly into TermStar dictionaries in order to have this huge resource available whenever you are working in Transit.

Fortunately, IATE provides an option for exporting its termbases in TBX format. A tool can be downloaded for free from the IATE website, which lets you export TBX termbases filtered by languages and fields, i.e. just like the terminological search on the website but on a mass scale. The tool is called IATExtract and can be downloaded here: http://iate.europa.eu/tbxPageDownload.do

Extract language pairs tool

As you can see in this screenshot of the software interface, it works in the same way as the terminological search on the IATE website. You can select the language combination (not necessarily a language pair, as you can select many languages) and the domain or subdomain that best suits your needs. There is also the option of selecting ‘Any domain’, but the resulting file would be too heavy to process.

Once your chosen termbase has been exported, you obtain a TBX file that contains different entries and fields. Below is an example of the structure of the entries, as well as the different fields they can contain:

TBX file


As you can see, each entry contains different fields, as explained below:

  • TermEntry id: Unique identifier of each concept entered in IATE.
  • SubjectField: Identifier that links each entry to one or more specified domains in IATE.
  • Note: Specific information on the context in which a term is used.
  • LangSet: Defines the language of the following terms. This field will contain subfields with one or more terms belonging to this entry. Each language is represented by its ISO code and each entry can contain as many languages as were selected in IATExtract when exporting the TBX file.
  • Term: The term itself. Each language can contain more than one term under separate “<tig></tig>” labels.
  • TermType: Defines the category of the term, whether it is a full term, an abbreviation, a phrase, a formula or a short form.
  • AdministrativeStatus: Evaluation of the term to indicate its reliability, whether preferred, admitted, deprecated or obsolete.
  • ReliabilityCode: Scale from 1 to 4 that indicates the reliability of a term.

While some of these fields (such as the administrative status) are not present in all entries, they all provide useful information about the terms that can be very helpful when working in Transit.

Successfully importing the resulting TBX file into Transit is undoubtedly of great value for translation projects, especially considering that IATE is an official and reliable source.

In the next post, we will discuss importing TBX files from IATE into TermStar, analysing the relevance of each field and the challenges you may encounter.


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