Successful Terminology Development Workshop for Language Practitioners
Language practitioners from across the Western Cape gathered in Cape Town on 23 November 2012 to attend a terminology skills development workshop facilitated by Dr Mariëtta Alberts. The Western Cape Provincial Language Forum (PLF), an initiative of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS), partnered with the Boland chapter of the South African Translators’ Institute (SATI) to host the event. Participants included freelancers affiliated to SATI Boland and language practitioners from the Western Cape Government, national Parliament and the provincial legislatures of the Western Cape and the Free State.
Dr Alberts, a research fellow at North-West University, has many years of experience, having worked in the terminology development field for the departments of Arts and Culture, National Education and Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), among others. After speaking about the importance of rigorous terminology development, Dr Alberts provided a detailed introduction on how to develop terminology in practice. Participants worked in groups on a practical terminology development exercise using Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa texts. At the end, they spoke about what they had learned, the problems they had encountered, as well as possible solutions to those difficulties.
The PLF, which started in 2006, is comprised of language practitioners employed in provincial government departments as well as municipalities, Parliament, the Provincial Legislature and the Western Cape office of PanSALB. The Forum meets regularly to discuss matters of mutual interest and concern, and to engage in skills development activities.
One of the aims of the Forum is to develop the isiXhosa language and provide necessary support to language practitioners. Members of the PLF have established an isiXhosa terminology development committee whose work up to the letter “E” has been published on the Western Cape Government intranet. The committee has progressed up to the letter “O”, and the results are expected to be available soon.
Dr Alberts encouraged language practitioners to work together to develop terminology, to document their work, and to share the results as widely as possible. As an example, she spoke about the way a number of Afrikaans terms have been adopted in related European languages as a result of such sharing. In conclusion, she said “as a team, we can work together and better, thus developing our languages”.
Mr Quintus van der Merwe and Mr Xolisa Tshongolo, both of DCAS Language Services, expressed their appreciation to Dr Alberts and to SATI. DCAS official and PLF head Ms Pamela Ntlokwana presented Dr Alberts with a token of the Department’s appreciation and said that language practitioners can do much better together.