Associate Professor, Ph.D.
Centre for Lexicography
Aarhus School of Business, Aarhus University, Denmark
Lexicographical Basis for an Electronic Bilingual Accounting Dictionary: Theoretical Considerations
This is a translation and revised version of an original paper in Danish, which was published in LexicoNordica 9-2002, 173-194.
This paper describes some selected aspects of the pre-conceptual work in connection with an Internet-based Danish-English dictionary covering the field of accounting. The emphasis is on text-dependent and text-independent functions related to the intended user group, as this relationship is crucial in the design and preparation of this type of dictionary. In contrast to existing dictionaries within this field, this is a syntagmatic dictionary with many types of information that are designed to help the user produce and translate texts. The dictionary articles will contain such types of information as grammatical information, definitions, equivalents, pronunciation, collocations, phrases, cross-references and Internet links.
International keywords: Internet dictionary; electronic dictionary; dictionary of accounting; specialised dictionaries; dictionary functions; text-dependent functions; text-independent functions; user groups; lemma selection; data base; search options; search structure; translation; production; reception; LSP dictionary; syntagmatic dictionary; LSP lexicography; specialised lexicography; dictionnaire internet; dictionnaire électronique; dictionnaire de comptabilité; dictionnaires spécialisés; fonctions dictionnairiques; fonctions liées à la communication; fonctions liées à la; connaissance; groupes d'utilisateurs; sélection lemmatique; base de données; options de recherche; structure de recherche; traduction; production; réception; dictionnaire syntagmatique; lexicographie spécialisée; lexicographie; dictionnaires bilingues; Internetordbog; elektronisk ordbog; regnskabsordbog; fagordbøger; ordbogsfunktioner; tekstafhængige funktioner; tekstuafhængige funktioner; brugergrupper; lemmaselektion; database; søgemuligheder; søgestruktur; oversættelse; produktion; reception; syntagmatisk ordbog; fagleksikograf;. leksikografi; Internetwörterbuch; electronische Wörterbücher; Fachwörterbücher; syntagmatisches Wörterbuch.
The need for cross-sector and cross-border comparison of financial statements has risen with the globalisation of capital and loan markets. This was the main reason why the Danish parliament, Folketinget, passed a new Danish Financial Statements Act (årsregnskabsloven) in May 2001. The new Act is more in line with the international development within financial reporting than the previous act and makes it possible for Danish enterprises to present their financial statements according to international accounting standards (IAS and IFRS). In order to make such comparisons, Danish enterprises must make their financial reporting in English.
Lexicographers at the Aarhus School of Business are preparing the lexicographical basis for the compilation of an accounting dictionary covering the languages Danish and English. The planned dictionary will be a practical tool designed to help Danish enterprises meet the ever-increasing need to make their financial reporting in linguistically and terminologically correct English, for the benefit of stakeholders. To make it available to as many users as possible, the projected dictionary will be prepared as an electronic dictionary with free access on the Internet. This does not rule out the publication of a printed dictionary containing, for instance, selected parts of the electronic dictionary, should the need for a printed edition of the dictionary arise. The following description focuses on the findings of the preliminary work on the preparation of the lexicographical basis for the electronic dictionary.
2. Dictionary Functions
When specifying the functions of a dictionary, the lexicographers should begin by placing the dictionary in a typological framework, as this provides them with a useful point of departure. The considerations concerning the planned accounting dictionary take their point of departure in a recent typology of LSP dictionaries, which focuses on the functions of dictionaries as opposed to the more traditional focus on linguistic categories:
“The difference between the various dictionaries is what they intend to inform about, not which information type they contain.” (Bergenholtz/Kauffmann 1997: 98)
The point of departure has two elements, which together constitute a whole. First, the basic functional needs of the user are determined on the basis of a dichotomy between text-dependent and text-independent functions. Text-dependent functions include reception of texts in the user’s own language or a foreign language, production of texts in the user’s own language or a foreign language, and translation of a text into the user’s own language or a foreign language. Text-independent functions include the acquisition of encyclopaedic and/or linguistic knowledge. This dichotomy enables the lexicographers to compile multifunctional dictionaries that are intended to solve a plurality of functions (Bergenholtz/Kaufmann 1997: 98-99).
As the intention is that the dictionary is to help Danish enterprises make their financial information more readily available in English, the dictionary will primarily be text-dependent. In order to have a workable basis, and considering the above typology of LSP dictionaries, it is necessary to further specify the functions of the dictionary and give them different weight. The preliminary studies have shown that the projected dictionary should have the following three functions:
These functions must be linked to the intended user group, as well as the linguistic and factual competence of the users, and these competences constitute the second element.
3. Intended User Group
The factual and linguistic
competences of the user play an important role, because a user will consult the
dictionary in connection with different functions, depending on the different
types and levels of competence. The lexicographers therefore need general
guidelines for their project and some of the recent literature on lexicography
distinguishes between three general user groups: experts, semi-experts and
laypeople (Nielsen 1990: 131; and Bergenholtz/Kaufmann 1997: 98-99). This trichotomy provides an appropriate basis for an LSP
dictionary but cannot stand alone.
In order to combine the functions of
the dictionary and the needs and competences of the user, the lexicographers
must make a user profile of the intended user group. The user profile specifies
the lexicographical needs of the intended user group, and those will be the
needs the dictionary has to fulfil on the basis of the factual and linguistic
competences (both in L1 and L2) of the user group. The intended user group of
the planned dictionary may be divided into the following sub-groups:
It must be assumed that the
accounting expert and the translator (language expert) will be directly
involved in the preparation of annual reports and other financial information
in English by Danish enterprises. A preliminary survey has revealed that
selected international accounting firms in Denmark primarily translate the
Danish financial texts, and the accounting firms often have their own
translation departments where professional translators translate the texts in
collaboration with accounting experts.
Based on the lexicographical theory
and existing user research, it is reasonable to assume that the primary user
group consists of persons with a considerable linguistic competence and a
small to medium factual competence, keeping in mind that the group consisting
of secretaries includes experienced as well as inexperienced secretaries
(depending on the type of enterprise and period of employment). The users are
generally semi-experts in relation to linguistic and factual knowledge. The secondary
user group is made up of persons with a considerable factual competence and
a small to medium linguistic competence (in relation to native and foreign
language). Consequently, the dictionary must contain information about
grammatical aspects relating to the foreign language in order to fulfil its
functions as a production and translation dictionary (see e.g. Duvå/Laursen/Maidahl
1992: 112-114; and Lindemann 2000: 195). These types
of information are relevant to both the primary and the secondary user group.
The primary user group will, however, need more factual information such as
definitions of the Danish terms than will the secondary user group. Both user
groups will have the same need for factual information specifying the
difference between English equivalents in cases where it is necessary to
distinguish between various English terms, depending on meaning and context.
Failure to include such information will have a negative effect on the
dictionary’s potential for fulfilling user needs.
4. Implications for the Compilation of the Dictionary
The best way in which the dictionary
can fulfil the needs of the users and its functions is for the lexicographers
to compile a syntagmatic LSP dictionary, i.e. a
dictionary listing fixed expressions, phrases and sentences. This distinguishes
the projected dictionary from existing dictionaries covering the same field, as
these only to a very limited extent list collocations, phrases, sentences,
linguistic structures and usage (cf. Lindemann 2000:
195). Moreover, the dictionary will be an electronic dictionary,
with the additional options this gives the lexicographers and the users.
Taking the user group and the
functions of the dictionary into consideration, the word list will have to
include specialist (LSP) terms and ordinary (LGP) words that occur in financial
reporting texts, so that the lexicographical needs of the users will be
fulfilled in the best possible way. This is in line with observations found in
the recent lexicographical literature:
“Vi mener ikke, at kun fagord/termer skal medtages, men at det af hensyn til brugerens behov er væsentligt, at også andre ord, specielt relevante for det pågældende fagområde, medtages som lemmata.” (Duvå/Laursen 1995: 98)
[In our opinion, not only terms of art/LSP terms are to be included, but in order to cater for the users’ needs, it is important also to lemmatise other words, such as words that are particularly relevant in the LSP field concerned]
Typical examples of words other than
LSP terms are those found in financial reporting texts with their ordinary
meanings as well as specific meanings, and words that are particularly
difficult to translate into English, e.g. because there are several English
words to choose from but only one is correct in a specific context. One example
is the Danish verb afslutte, which may mean 1)
finish, 2) conclude, and 3) close.
Accordingly, the lexicographers of
the planned dictionary will have to operate with the following types of lemmata:
1. Word classes, mainly a
traditional, grammatical categorisation:
2. Inflexion of word classes, i.e.:
comparison, derivation and conjugation.
3. Collocations, which may contain a
combination of terms of art and ordinary words, e.g.:
4. Phrases that are clauses and
sentences, in whole or in part. This type of syntagmatic
information may be illustrated by the following examples, which all illustrate
the different translations of the Danish verb indregne
in different contexts:
grunde og bygninger er indregnet til dagsværdi = land and buildings are shown at fair value
valutareguleringer indregnes direkte på egenkapitalen = exchange differences are taken to shareholders’ equity
tab på udenlandsk valuta er indregnet på egenkapitalen = foreign exchange losses at the balance sheet date were recognised in shareholders’ equity
In those cases where the lemmata are primarily made up of terms of art, the phrases
will contain a significant number of LGP words that typically occur in
financial reporting texts.
Experience shows that non-linguists
and language experts with a low degree of factual knowledge have a tendency to
think in terms of Danish language structures when they communicate in English,
orally as well as in writing. The result is the production of ungrammatical –
and at the same time unidiomatic - texts in the foreign language. The
lexicographers therefore need to allow for various grammatical aspects that may
help the users translate texts into and produce texts in English.
Grammatical information concerning
the English equivalents is important to facilitate the translation into and
production in the foreign language; especially when the grammatical properties
of the English equivalents differ from those of the Danish lemmata.
The following discussion includes examples indicating which aspects are
relevant in connection with the languages Danish and English (see Hansen 1985:
253-282). Grammatical aspects may concern two text levels, i.e. those on word
level (the first two examples) and those on sentence level.
renter = interest → betale
en rente på 5% = pay interest
at a rate of 5%;
erfaringer = experience → de erfaringer vi har gjort = the experience we have had.
- Danish substantively used adjective often corresponds to an English noun, e.g.: det fordelagtige ved denne ordning er indlysende = the advantage of this scheme is obvious.
- A Danish prepositional phrase often corresponds to an English adverb or adverbial, e.g.: i stor udstrækning = extensively.
- When translating into English, a Danish subordinate clause may (preferably) have to be converted into another type of clause, e.g.:
- Dependent question, e.g.: uden at anføre, hvor høj provisionen er = without stating the rate of commission.
- Relative clause, e.g.: det provenu, der fremkommer ved salget = the proceeds of the sale.
- Explanatory clause, e.g.: når vi har kunnet indtjene et overskud, forklares det ved …= our ability to earn an operating profit is accounted for by...
It must be assumed that the language
competence of translators enables them to produce idiomatically correct English
texts, but as translators are not automatically experts within the field of
accounting, the relevant terminology and language usage, the dictionary must
make it possible for translators to produce and translate texts in
idiomatically correct English within the subject field in question.
In addition to factual,
morphological and syntactical information, the lexicographers should also
include information about the pronunciation of the English equivalents
(phonetic information). This information is not included in the existing
Danish-English LSP dictionaries, and the traditional LGP dictionaries only
include this information by way of a phonetic transcription. An electronic
dictionary may benefit from using auditive
information and thus include a sound file. By clicking on an icon, the user of
the planned dictionary will be able to hear the pronunciation of the English
equivalent concerned. This is also in line with the expected competence of the
secondary user group regarding pronunciation, and it also helps the members of
the secondary user group fulfilling the need to participate in discussions and
make oral presentations in English.
In respect of the factual information, the lexicographers must define the language of explanation with due regard to the user group and the text-dependent functions. The dictionary is designed for Danish users, and the factual information is intended to make the user familiar with the meaning of the lemmata in appropriate accounting contexts and to explicitly specify any difference between the lemma and its equivalent in terms of meaning and usage. In order to minimise the loss of information, Danish has been chosen as the most appropriate language of explanation. The wording of the definitions must be adjusted to the factual and linguistic competences of the users. Danish accounting experts must be assumed to be linguistic semi-experts, and language experts must be assumed to be accounting semi-experts at best. Accordingly, the definitions must be written so that the primary user group, consisting of accounting semi-experts, can understand them. The definitions must, however, contain so much relevant factual information that they can be understood and used by accounting experts. The combination of information specifically targeted at non-experts and the use of the Danish language ensures that the information is relevant to and can be used by as many of the intended users as possible. It is likely that, at a later time, the definitions will also be written in English and will then be English translations of the Danish definitions (see e.g. Schneider 1998: 320-321), in order to support the functions translation into English and production in English.
5. Delimitation of the Subject Field
To ensure that the dictionary
contains all the relevant lemmata, the lexicographers
must delimit the subject field of the dictionary vis-à-vis other subject fields
(see Pedersen 1995: 83-85). The lexicographers will base the delimitation on
the description of the contents of the annual report found in the Danish
Financial Statements Act 2001. All the financial reporting aspects covered by
this Act are to be covered, including financial information for individual
companies and groups of companies. This delimitation of the subject field is
necessary to ensure that the dictionary will only contain terms that are
relevant to the field of accounting and to ensure that as many terms as
possible are selected (see section 6 below). This means that the dictionary
will have to cover the following aspects:
1. Statement by the executive and
2. Auditors’ report
3. Operating and financial review
3.1 Business ideas and objectives
3.2 Profit development
3.3 Risk profile and risk management
3.4 Key figures and financial ratios
3.5 Supplementary information necessary to give a true and fair view
4. Accounting policies
5. Financial statements
5.1 Income statement
5.2 Balance sheet
5.3 Cash flow statement
5.4 Statement of changes in equity
6. Supplementary statements
6.1 Environmental statement
6.2 Intellectual capital statement
6.3 Statement of social and ethical issues
7. Other information
The enterprises covered by the Act
are divided into four classes – the model is referred to as the “building-block
model” – and the Act divides them into classes A to D, depending on their size
and legal form. Listed companies and state-owned enterprises (class D) are
particularly relevant for the delimitation of the subject field as class D
enterprises must comply with the rules applying to all the other classes (see
KPMG 2002: 11-12).
6.1 Preliminary Considerations
The above division of enterprises
into different classes makes it necessary to include the most widely traded
companies on the Copenhagen Stock Exchange (referred to as KFX companies) in
the basis for selecting lemmata, equivalents,
collocations and phrases. These companies often publish their annual reports in
both Danish and English and have many stakeholders outside Denmark.
The Danish Financial Statements Act
is a framework act that is to be supplemented by detailed rules in accounting
standards, which are at present prepared by the Institute of State Authorised
Public Accountants in Denmark (FSR); it is expected that this work will in
future be undertaken by an independent standard-setting body where, among others,
users and preparers of financial statements as well as auditors are represented
(see KPMG 2002: 21). Most of these standards have been revised to reflect the
Financial Statements Act, and these standards will be given the same priority
as the Act for the purposes of the selection of lemmata
and various types of information.
The Danish accounting standards and
the Financial Statements Act generally comply with the International Accounting
Standards (IAS and IFRS) and SIC Interpretations from the International
Accounting Standards Board and its Standing Interpretations Committee.
Consequently these texts are relevant in connection with the selection of lemmata (the Danish translations of standards and
interpretations), equivalents etc.
Financial enterprises do not fall
within the scope of the Danish Financial Statements Act, but are regulated by
the Danish Financial Business Act and the relevant executive orders. The
accounting provisions of this Act are almost identical with the provisions of
the new Financial Statements Act, and therefore the Financial Business Act is
used as a source for selecting lemmata etc. (see KPMG
The European Parliament and the
Council of the European Union have adopted a regulation (Regulation on the
application of international accounting standards) that applies to the annual
accounts of publicly-traded companies and consolidated accounts for all
financial years starting on or after 1 January 2005. This Regulation is based
on IAS and IFRS mentioned above. The relevant EU documents in Danish and
English concerning financial statements are to be included in the basis for
6.2 Selection of Texts
The texts that form the basis for
the selection of the Danish lemmata,
collocations and phrases are to be found after an analysis of texts and
reference books of the following types:
In addition, accounting experts
should be consulted to ensure the selection of all the relevant lemmata, collocations and phrases.
The texts that form the basis for
the selection of English equivalents and the translation of collocations and
phrases are to be found after an analysis of texts and reference books of
the following types:
In addition, accounting experts
should be consulted to ensure the selection of all the relevant equivalents.
By tradition the existing Danish-English
and English-Danish dictionaries covering accounting terminology have explicitly
indicated whether the English terms are specifically British English (UK) or
American English (US) and their usage correspondingly limited, see e.g. DEØ and
FRY. In connection with the introduction of international accounting standards
in Danish financial reporting, it is necessary to indicate specific IAS
terminology as well.
6.3 Selection of Lemmata
It is necessary to lay down detailed
criteria for the selection of lemmata, collocations
and phrases and for the texts that are to form the basis of the selection. The
dictionary is to be a maximising LSP dictionary, i.e. a dictionary designed to
contain as many terms as possible from the subject field specified (see Nielsen
1990: 130-132; and Nielsen 1994, 37-38). Based on a comparison with existing
dictionaries, it is reasonable to expect that the planned electronic accounting
dictionary will include approx. 4000 lemmata. To this
figure must be added a considerable (but as yet unspecified) number of
collocations and phrases.
The lexicographers have to select
all specialist terms that are found within the sub-fields that collectively
make up the above delimitation of the subject field, as well as other words that
are particularly relevant to the subject. The specialist terms may be either
single-word terms or multi-word terms. For the purpose of selecting lemmata, it is necessary to further specify the contents of
the above sub-fields with a view to selecting as many terms as possible, i.e.
an internal subject classification (see Pedersen 1995: 85-87). One result of
this is that, for instance, under item 5.2, balance sheet, of the annual
report, the lexicographers must divide this item into even smaller parts, so
that all specialist terms that may be found in a balance sheet will be selected.
It is necessary to divide the
balance sheet into assets and liabilities and further subdivide assets into
current and non-current assets. When this has been done, each has to be split
up into its smallest components so that, inter alia, current assets are divided
into inventories, trade and other receivables, investments, and cash and cash
equivalents. In order to illustrate this, the following list is an example of
the main components that are found in Danish balance sheets (horizontal format):
1.1 Non-current assets
1.1.1 Intangible assets
1.1.2 Property, plant and equipment
1.1.3 Investments and other assets
1.2 Current assets
1.2.2 Trade and other receivables
1.2.4 Cash and cash equivalents
The optimal selection of lemmata is achieved if the lexicographers make an even
finer division of the balance sheet components, in casu
current assets. This will ensure an in-depth coverage of the structure and
terminology of the balance sheet, i.e. a terminological classification (see
Pedersen 1995: 87-90). This may result in the following exemplary list of
inventories under current assets:
18.104.22.168 Raw materials and consumables
22.214.171.124 Work in progress
126.96.36.199 Finished goods and goods for resale
188.8.131.52 Prepayments for goods
The above lists are merely examples
of the division of a subject field for the purpose of selecting as many terms
as possible, but it is important to appreciate that the terminological
classification of assets also includes non-current assets and all the various
sub-divisions of current and non-current assets. A similar procedure must be
completed in respect of liabilities in the balance sheet.
It is expected that the Internet dictionary will contain a component making it possible for users to contact the lexicographers and suggest the inclusion of new terms or make suggestions to definitions, collocations and phrases. To avoid total anarchy, it is for the lexicographers to decide whether the suggestions and comments should be given active consideration, but the point is that the lexicographers will periodically update the dictionary and be in direct contact with its users.
7. Dictionary Components
The planned electronic dictionary
may be divided into a number of separate components in the same way as a
printed dictionary. The principal component is the word list, but the
dictionary will also include components that lexicographical scholars
traditionally refer to as outside matter.
The word list is made up of the
articles that are incorporated in the dictionary, and the articles will be
structured according to a standard article schematic so that all articles will
be structured along the same lines. The article schematic includes text fields
for each type of information that articles may contain (see Nielsen 1995b:
210). The lexicographers must prepare one joint article schematic for all word
classes, and each field is to be filled in as appropriate; this will ensure a
systematic and consistent presentation of the information contained in the
articles. Based on the above considerations relating to the intended user group
and functions, the article schematic will contain the following types of
The limited space on a screen and
the fact that some articles will contain much syntactical information make it
necessary to limit the number of collocations and phrases that are shown the
first time a user consults an article. Consequently, the user will be presented
with the five most important Danish collocations and their English
translations, but if the article contains more collocations, the user may click
on an icon and be presented with the rest of the collocations. A similar way of
presenting the Danish phrases and their English translations will be adopted.
The dictionary will contain a
plurality of outside matter, including two user’s guides: a technical and a
lexicographical guide. The technical user’s guide explains the technical
aspects of using the electronic dictionary; the lexicographical user’s guide
explains the structure of the dictionary, the articles and the optimal way in
which to find the information the user is looking for. Both user’s guides must
be prepared so that they are a combination of text and illustrations that
mutually support each other, as this is the best way in which to inform the
user (see Nielsen 1995a: 172-174).
The dictionary will also contain
outside matter such as specific examples of the various elements of the annual
report (format etc.). It will be possible to directly access these model
examples (standard examples) from the articles to the extent necessary to
fulfil the functions of the dictionary (see the discussion in Nielsen 1994:
108-112). Comparative Danish and English examples will best meet the
requirements, and the English examples will be translations of the Danish
examples, e.g. a Danish balance sheet and its English translation. The main
reason for adopting this approach is that full comparability will be achieved
between the information contained in the Danish and English texts. Furthermore,
this approach also facilitates the illustration of terminological and
syntactical differences between idiomatic Danish and English within the field
of accounting. It is also intended to provide relevant links to authentic
Danish, British and US financial statements available on the Internet.
The dictionary will contain two
indexes, a Danish and an English (see Kirkness 1989; and Nielsen 1995a: 181-184). The Danish
index is an alphabetically arranged list of all the Danish lemmata,
and by clicking on a lemma the user will be led directly to the relevant
article. The English index is an alphabetically arranged list of all the
English equivalents presented in the articles. By clicking on an equivalent the
user will be led directly to the relevant article, and
in those cases where the English equivalent is found in several articles, the
user will be given the choice between all the relevant articles. The purpose of
these two indexes is to fulfil the primary and secondary functions of the
8. Textual Condensation
In contrast to textual condensation
in printed dictionaries, textual condensation in electronic dictionaries is
inappropriate. Firstly, more space is available in the electronic database for
the information in the dictionary and secondly, condensed text parts will not
be found through electronic search for words and combinations of words, for
instance if the lemma has been replaced by a swung dash (tilde) in the phrases,
and if the database contains condensed Danish and English text parts. The
principle should therefore be that syntagmatic
information is not be subjected to textual
condensation, neither in the source language nor in the target language. This will
ensure the best results from an electronic search if the search string contains
a multiplicity of words, e.g. collocations and phrases. For a discussion of
textual condensation in dictionary articles, see Nielsen 2002.
However, textual condensation of the text shown on the screen may be necessary because of the limited space available on the visual display unit. The lexicographers must therefore consider whether the text shown on the screen is to be subjected to textual condensation, and if so, how this is best achieved. In this context the potentially inferior screen resolution on various visual display units should be taken into consideration.
9. Search and Search Structures
It is important to have a clearly
defined search structure in an electronic dictionary because the user will not
be able to turn over one page after another as in printed dictionaries.
Admittedly, this is possible in some of the existing electronic dictionaries
because they are nothing more than printed dictionaries that have been
transferred directly to an electronic medium with the entire layout unchanged.
In contrast, the projected Internet dictionary will be designed and prepared
from scratch and is therefore born as an electronic dictionary. Accordingly,
the lexicographers must give careful consideration to the search options that
make it possible for the user to benefit optimally from the information
contained in the dictionary in connection with text-independent functions.
Each dictionary involves two search structures/needs: that of the lexicographer and that of the user; and they have completely different requirements. The lexicographer wants very detailed search options and an equally detailed presentation, including a number of statistical data that are of no concern to the user. On the other hand, the user may find himself in two fundamentally different situations: 1) The user has a specific problem that needs to be solved and no time to waste. 2) The user may have plenty of time and bases his search on a specific problem that he may already have solved, but now he is looking for some sort of confirmation of his findings, i.e. a form of infotainment. The following discussion of the search structure(s) focuses on situation 1 above, i.e. the user with a specific problem and limited time.
9.1 Search Results
From the point of view of
programming, the search will take its point of departure in the result, i.e.
what the user needs as the result of his search. The user will be able to type
the search term in one, and only one, query text box. The search term may be a
single-word linguistic unit or a string of words and will always be made up of
the exact spelling in the box (logical AND).
The following example illustrates
the expected search function. The user types the search term in the query text
box and sends the query by clicking on a search button. It is only possible to
search for one term at a time, but this term may be made up of a multiplicity
of words and may be the inflected form of a word. The search will start in the
articles so that the term searched for is found (in the order indicated) in the
inflection field, the lemma field, the example fields (i.e. collocations and
phrases), and finally in the outside matter. When the search process is
complete, the user will know that the search has given one of the following
1. Search term was found x number of
number of articles,
2. Search term was not found →
continue search?/check spelling.
In each of the categories 1(a) to
1(c), it will be possible to display an automatically generated “synopsis”
(“summary”), which may contain the first two sentences of the relevant text
part in the outside matter, or the lemma and equivalent with grammar, the
article etc. Practical considerations – especially from the user’s point of
view – dictate that this option should be sparingly used as it often gives
irrelevant and partly misleading results.
More specifically, the result of a search will show:
This may seem like a plethora of
information, but it is important to appreciate that only items 1 and 2 above
will be displayed on the screen as complete articles; and if the search term
exactly matches the basic form, only result 2 will be displayed on the screen.
All other items are links of not more than one line. These links are small and
may be placed so that they do not interfere with the text of the article, e.g.
in a framed box placed on the left or the right of the screen (and the text).
The important point is that the user will be able to decide how much or how little he wants displayed on the screen. The query text box will be placed in screen mid-position, and the user may opt for certain article fields not to be displayed on the screen. The search itself will not be affected by the user’s choice, as it is a pure output function. In the design phase, the lexicographers will have to decide whether the system should “remember” the user’s preferences, and if so, how this is to be implemented technically.
9.2 Search Fields
The lexicographers provide the user
with a database in which each article is divided into its smallest
constituents, i.e. lemma, inflection, equivalents, collocations, phrases,
cross-references etc., collectively referred to as the article. The information
is gathered in a special field containing the article in a user-defined form
(output as described above).
The database also contains an
unstructured collection of texts, in casu the outside
matter. These texts must be present in the database in an indexed form, either
as key words (e.g. all words found in the lemma list) or as free text. Both
have advantages and disadvantages affecting the search,
and only a thorough test will show which is the better option for the
The search result is generated ad
hoc in a special field in the database, i.e. updating will occur after each
search. The advantage of the procedure is that the database will always be
updated subsequent to the latest search even if additions, amendments or
corrections have been made. There is no real alternative to this solution. As
the users may opt for certain fields not to be displayed on the screen, it is
not possible to make fully programmed result fields. Such fields are not
difficult to programme, but require sufficient hardware capacity of the host
server, which, other things being equal, must be expected to be put to the test
as soon as the dictionary is used regularly by a substantial number of users.
However, this method gives superior and targeted results instead of showing
large and comprehensive articles to the user, who may only be interested in,
for instance, a synonym. In other words: The focus is on the individual user
and his needs.
For the search to be optimal, the
user will be told which data will be displayed after the search has been
completed, because the search is largely the user’s responsibility. The user
must expressly be told that if he chooses to limit the display of search
results, this will have no effect on the search itself. The search engine will
still search those fields that the user have chosen
not to view, and it requires an active effort by the user to view such findings.
Finally, another search option is considered, but this is merely a stand-by option. It should be possible for the user to search directly on the Internet by clicking an icon providing a direct link to a search engine (probably Google). By a click on the icon, the user will be taken directly to the search engine and the original word written in the query text box in the dictionary will automatically be transferred to the query text box of the search engine. The search engine will then automatically continue the search. The reason for considering this option is that the user will be able to find authentic examples in Danish or English, and more collocations and phrases than contained in the dictionary; and also words that are not contained in the dictionary. An indirect search option like this ensures that the user, through the dictionary, will have the possibility of searching for the newest terminology; and this may also be seen as an indirect updating of the dictionary.
9.3 English-Danish Search
It will not be practically possible to design the database so that a search from English into Danish gives the same results as a search from Danish into English, because not all fields in the articles contain equivalents. If the entire dictionary/database is “reversed”, it is necessary to compile two separate dictionaries with cross-references to each other. Admittedly, it is possible to “reverse” the database so that the English equivalents will become lemmata, but this can only be used as the basis for the compilation of a new dictionary, alternatively a new lemma list. This does not mean that it will be impossible to search among the English equivalents after some adjustments have been made, but the data returned to the user will be severely amputated and somewhat misleading. This is the reason why an English-Danish search option is not part of the project, but it may constitute a separate, additional project and consequently, the planned dictionary will only include the option of searching in an English index (see section 7 above).
10. Model Article
It is appropriate to conclude this
paper by making a brief comparison with other LSP dictionaries available on the
Danish market. Firstly, there are no Danish-English accounting dictionaries on
the Internet. Secondly, only four LSP dictionaries cover accounting terms in
Danish and English at the time of writing (autumn 2002). Thirdly, none of the
four dictionaries contains grammatical information on the lemma and the
equivalent other than word class labels, none contains specific examples of
translated accounting texts, and only two contain a very limited number of
collocations and phrases. This is very limited help to the user who has to
translate or produce accounting texts.
Of the four dictionaries, only FRY
is an accounting dictionary proper. The main disadvantage is that the latest
edition was published in 1987 and is therefore outdated. Furthermore, less than
0.5% of the lemmata are defined. The other three LSP
dictionaries are not accounting dictionaries proper, but multi-field
dictionaries that intend to cover all or many of the fields in the business
sector, for instance, computing, graphics, human resources, law, manufacturing,
politics and statistics, with a limited coverage of each subject field as a
result. Consequently, accounting is only one among several subject fields in
these dictionaries. LHB was published in 1999 and does not include the most
recent and most relevant accounting terminology. Moreover, it contains no
definitions or explanations. Only one of the four dictionaries contains
definitions and that is BL from 2001, but despite the fact that it is the
newest dictionary, the preface explicitly states that it does not cover the terminology
of the Danish Financial Statements Act 2001; and accounting terms make up only
a very limited percentage of the lemma stock. Its use in connection with
accounting is therefore seriously restricted. DEØ was also published in 2001
and is the only dictionary that allows for the new accounting terminology. Most
of the important terms and concepts have been included, but there are no
definitions or explanations of the terms and concepts; and there are hardly any
collocations and phrases with translations into English.
Accordingly, there is no
Danish-English accounting dictionary that contains definitions of the
accounting terms, grammatical information relevant for translation and
production of accounting texts, collocations, phrases, cross-references to
other relevant information, and examples of concrete, translated accounting
The following brief comparison
between the projected accounting dictionary and the above existing printed dictionaries
focuses on the Danish term kreditrisiko. Only
LHB and DEØ have lemmatised this term, whereas the term has not been lemmatised
in FRY and BL. LHB and DEØ contain the following information on the term kreditrisiko:
kreditrisiko credit risk [LHB]
kreditrisiko credit risk; behæftet med ~
exposed to credit risk [DEØ]
As the user interface of the
electronic dictionary has not yet been fully designed, it is not possible to
show an example of a complete article and its ultimate layout. However, in order
to show how the planned accounting dictionary differs from the existing
dictionaries at the article level, the following model article treating the
Danish term kreditrisiko illustrates the
different types of information the dictionary will contain:
[grammar] (en risiko; risikoer, risikoerne eller risici, risiciene)
[definition] En kreditrisiko er risikoen ved at yde kredit, dvs. risikoen for, at låntageren eller udstederen af et gældsbevis ikke opfylder sine betalingsforpligtelser
[grammar] (pl. credit
[synonym] repayment risk
[pronun.] ICON FOR SOUND FILE
[collocation] afdække en kreditrisiko hedge
a credit risk
afdækning af kreditrisiko hedging of credit risk
behæftet med kreditrisiko exposed to credit risk
formidling af kreditrisiko intermediation of
formindske kreditrisikoen reduce the
fuldt ud elimineret kreditrisiko fully eliminated credit risk
fordele kreditrisikoen diversify the credit
kvantificere kreditrisikoen quantify
the credit risk
overføre kreditrisikoen transfer the credit risk
overvåge kreditrisikoen monitor
the credit risk
påtage sig en kreditrisiko assume
a credit risk
reducere kreditrisikoen betydeligt reduce the credit risk considerably
sprede kreditrisikoen diversify the credit
styre kreditrisikoen manage the credit risk
styring af kreditrisiko credit risk management
øge kreditrisikoen increase the
[phrase] under en lavkonjunktur er kreditrisikoen typisk voksende
in an economic
downturn, the credit risk is typically on the increase
reducere kreditrisikoen på en lang række eksponeringer
reduce the credit risk on a wide range of exposures
et likvidt marked for kreditderivater kan medvirke til at øge prisinformationen om kreditrisiko
a liquid market for
credit derivatives can contribute to enlarging price information concerning
[cross-ref.] juridisk risiko; likviditetsrisiko;
markedsrisiko; renterisiko; valutarisiko
Bergenholtz, Henning/Kaufmann, Uwe (1997): ”Terminography and Lexicography. A Critical Survey of Dictionaries from a Single Specialised Field”. In: Hermes 18, 1997, 91–125.
BL = Johansen, Niels/Kezunovich, Bozhidar/Kiertzner, Lars/Lyderup, Jens/Nielsen, Carl-Johan/Pedersen, Kurt (2001): Business Leksikon. Århus: BK Service 2001.
DEØ = Svensson, Annemette Lyng (2001): Dansk–Engelsk Økonomisk ordbog. København: Samfundslitteratur 2001.
Duvå, Grete/Laursen, Anna-Lise/Maidahl, Lisbet (1992): ”Brugerundersøgelser vedrørende oversættelse af fagtekster”. In: R. V. Fjeld (red.): Nordiske studier i leksikografi. Rapport fra Konferanse om leksikografi i Norden 28.–31. mai 1991. Oslo: Nordisk forening for leksikografi 1992, 105–133.
Duvå, Grete/Laursen, Anna-Lise (1995): ”Tekstbaseret lemmaselektion”. In: A. Svavarsdóttir/G. Kvaran/J. H. Jónsson (red.): Nordiske studier i leksikografi 3. Rapport fra Konferanse om leksikografi i Norden, Reykjavik 7.–10. juni 1995. Reykjavik: Nordisk forening for leksikografi 1995, 93–105.
FRY = Fryd, Ejnar (1990): Anglo/amerikansk–dansk/Dansk–anglo/amerikansk specialordbog inden for revision, regnskabsvæsen m.v. 3. udgave revideret og ajourført af statsautoriseret revisor Per Otto Bech. København: FSRs Forlag 1990.
Hansen, Børge (1985): Hjælpebog for engelske korrespondenter. 3. reviderede udgave ved Jørgen Alsø. København: Schønberg 1985.
Kirkness, Alan (1989): ”Wörterbuchregister”. In: F. J. Hausmann/O. Reichmann/H. E. Wiegand/L. Zgusta (hrsg.): Wörterbücher. Ein internationales Handbuch zur Lexikographie. Berlin/New York: de Gruyter 1989, 767–771.
KPMG (2002): The Danish Financial Statements Act. http://www.kpmg.dk/view.asp?ID=745
LHB = Høedt, Jørgen (red.) (1999): L&H Business fagordbog dansk–engelsk. Herlev: L&H Ordbøger 1999.
Lindemann, Margarete (2000): ”Vorüberlegungen zur einem französisch-deutschen Wörterbuch der Fachsprache der Wirtschaft“. In: H. E. Wiegand (Hrsg.): Germanistische Linguistik 151–152 2000, 173–214.
Nielsen, Sandro (1989): „Kritisk oversigt over engelske og danske juridiske ordbøger“. In: Hermes 3, 1989, 55–75.
Nielsen, Sandro (1990):”Contrastive Description of Dictionaries Covering LSP Communication”. In: Fachsprache/International Journal of LSP 3-4/1990, 129-136.
Nielsen, Sandro (1994): The Bilingual LSP Dictionary. Principles and Practice for Legal language. Tübingen: Narr 1994 (Forum für Fachsprachen-Forum Band 24).
Nielsen, Sandro (1995a): „Dictionary Components“. In: H. Bergenholtz/S. Tarp (eds.): Manual of Specialised Lexicography. The preparation of specialised dictionaries. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1995, 167–187.
Nielsen, Sandro (1995b): „Microstructure“. In: H. Bergenholtz/S. Tarp (eds.): Manual of Specialised Lexicography. The preparation of specialised dictionaries. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1995, 200–211.
Nielsen, Sandro (2002): “Textual Condensation in the Articles of de Gruyter Wörterbuch Deutsch als Fremdsprache”. In: H. E. Wiegand (ed.): Perspektiven der pädagogischen Lexikographie des Deutschen II. Untersuchungen anhand des „de Gruyter Wörterbuchs Deutsch als Fremdsprache“. Tübingen: Niemeyer 2002, 597-608.
Pedersen, Jette (1995): “Systematic Classification”. In: H. Bergenholtz/S. Tarp (eds.): Manual of Specialised Lexicography. The preparation of specialised dictionaries. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: Benjamins, 1995, 83–90.
Schneider, Franz (1998): Studien zur kontextuellen Fachlexikographie. Das deutsch-französische Wörterbuch der Rechnungslegung. Tübingen: Niemeyer 1998 (Lexicographica Series Maior 83).