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Unique Experience of Estonian Language Planning in the EU Texts - Katre Kasemets, Katrin Hallik

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The presentation of the Estonian EU Language Planning Unit at Clarity 2010 offered an insight into the Estonian model of state-supported clear language consultation service, giving an overview of the …

The presentation of the Estonian EU Language Planning Unit at Clarity 2010 offered an insight into the Estonian model of state-supported clear language consultation service, giving an overview of the practical side of the work as well as sharing concrete examples of the obstacles and challenges the Estonian translators are facing. The vision and objective of the unit is to enhance clear language usage in Estonian EU-texts and to facilitate through this the general idea of good language usage in Estonian legislation.

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  • 1. Unique Experience of the
    Estonian Language Planning
    in the EU Texts
    Katre Kasemets
    Katrin Hallik
    Lisbon 2010 | October 13
  • 2.
  • 3. TheEstonianlanguage
    • Baltic Finnic branch of the Uralic languages
    • 4. Along with Icelandic, Estonian is one of the smallest languages in the world that fulfils all the functions necessary for a state to "perform" linguistically
  • TheEstonianlanguage
    • One million speakers
    • 5. The only official language in Estonia, also in local government and state institutions
  • TheEstonianlanguage
    • Teaching, at both primary school and university level, is in Estonian; it is also the language of modern science (including molecular biology, computer science, semiotics, etc.)
  • TheEstonianlanguage
    • Small number of speakers has enabled to establish solid rules for language planning
    • 6. Yet, terminology planning is a self-regulating process in Estonia
    • 7. No governing official body whose decision about Estonian terminology could become binding to the users
  • Strategy for the Development of the Estonian Language 2004–2010
    The aim is to protect the Estonian language and toguarantee its sustainable development and create necessary conditions for its functioning in all walks of life on the whole territory of Estonia
  • 8. The National Programme for Estonian Terminology2008–2012
    • 30 terminology committees in different fields
    • 9. 10 regular terminology committees, forinstancethe committees of military terminology and education terminology
  • Estonian Terminology Association ETER
    • Founded in 2001
    • 10. A member of EAFT
    • 11. Compilation of terminological dictionaries
    • 12. Co-ordinationofterminologywork
    • 13. Participation in international terminology co-operation
  • The Estonian Legal Language Centre (1995–2006)
    • Translation of Estonian legislation into English
    • 14. Translation of EU legislation into Estonian
    • 15. Creation and administration of a full-text database of legal translations and of a terminology database
    • 16. Publicly available databases
  • The Institute of the Estonian Language
    • Founded in 1947
    • 17. Planning and development of standard Estonian
    • 18. Compilation of dictionaries
    • 19. Creation and development of language technological tools supporting the use of Estonian
    • 20. Research of modern Estonian usage
    • 21. Estonian language history
    • 22. Estonian dialects and its cognate languages
  • The Institute of the Estonian Language
    • ~ 70 people
    • 23. 5 departments:
    Linguistics and Language TechnologyDictionaries
    Finno-Ugric Languages and DialectsTerminology
    Language Planning
  • 24. EU language planning
    • EU language planning at the Institute of theEstonian Language since May, 2008
    • 25. Complementary language training for the translators of the Estonian language working in the EU institutions
    • 26. Annual workshops for freelance translators working in Estonia
  • EU language planning
    • Linguisticand terminologicalconsultation
    • 27. Co-operation with universities:
    • 28. research on eurolanguage and lectures on good language usage
    • 29. supervision of Master students of translation
  • EU language planning
    • Compilation and publication of linguistic support materials and brochures:
    "The Language of the European Union as Our Common Language"
    "Is It Possible To Use Clear and Simple Language in Eurotexts?"
  • 30. EU language planning
    • Homepage of the EU language planning and terminology: up-to-date information, linguistic and terminological consultation, forum for translators etc.
  • 31.
  • 32. EU language planning
    • Close co-operation between translators, experts and linguistsvia the Permanent Representation of Estonia to the EU
    • 33. Since 2005 regular terminology meetingsof the Estonian units of the EU institutions
  • EU language planning
    • It is a paradox that often the translated EU texts present a better linguisticquality than the original legislative documents in Estonian composed by Estonian officials and lawyers
  • 34. Englishas a modern linguafranca
    • English is no longer the property of native speakers but belongs to everyone who speaks it
    • 35. Native speakers of English may feel that the language belongs to them, but it will be those who speak English as a second or foreign language who will determine its world future (Graddol 1997)
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca
    • EU texts are standardized in terms of terminology and structure. This results in the creation of "hybrid" texts – translations that are neither source-culture-bound nor target-culture-oriented (Trosborg 1997)
    • 36. The EU has already left its mark on the linguistic development of the languages of its member states by imposing its own linguistic culture and conventions
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca
    • The semantic as well as grammatical structure of Estonian as a Finno-Ugric language is different from the Indo-European English (no future tense, preference of singular forms, no gender etc.)
    • 37. Estonian offers more concrete and rationalequivalents for notions
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca
    • StronglyemotionallycoloredexpressionsineurotextscannotoftenbeliterallytranslatedintoEstonian – theyseemridiculousinanofficial register (i.e. dramatic and drastic), and need tobereplacedwithmoreneutralsynonyms
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca–empowerment
    • OED says that empowerment was used already in the 17th century
    • 38. Empowerment – a floating concept which means different things in different organizations and, further, means different things to different people within those organisations (NicolaDenhamLincoln et al.)
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca–empowerment
    • In eurotexts this term has various Estonian equivalents and none of them is exact
    • 39. Estonian defines the notions in a more rational way, diffused notions with a wide range of additional meanings is usually causing problemsfor Estonian translators
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca– flexicurity
    • Flexicurity (a portmanteau of flexibility and security) is a welfare state model with a pro-active labour market policy. The term was first coined by the Prime Minister of Denmark P. N. Rasmussen in the 1990s
  • Englishas a modern linguafranca– flexicurity
    • The definition of the term shows how much content can be encompassed by one term in English
    • 40. That is why a convenient Estonian equivalent has not yet been coined and the translators are creating new bureaucratic jargon constantly trying to find equivalents to globalised terms
  • Vision and objectiveofthe EU languageplanning
    • To enhance clear language usage in Estonian EU-texts and to facilitate through this the general idea of good language usage in Estonian legislation
  • Eurogiggle
    • Switzerland's finance minister collapsed into a fit of giggles as he tried to read the unintelligible bureaucratic language in his report while answering a parliamentary question about imports of cured meats
    • 41. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ps6e_toM26I&feature=related
  • Obrigado!
  • 42. Katrin.Hallik@eki.ee