Successfully Managing Multilingual Taxonomies: 3 Methods


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Managing Multilingual Taxonomies

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  • ISO25964:4.1 says the aim of a thesaurus ‘is to guide the indexer and the searcher to choose the same term for the same concept…’ This is the key idea as to why we create standards for managing multi-lingual vocabularies and what we’ll explore in the next few slides are some different approaches to achieving this.
  • You might want to verbalise that although there are slots for each language only the dominant language is used as the descriptor for the term record
  • *Multiple Monolingual vocabularies which are mapped to one another
  • *work on diagram
  • *every preferred term (concept) in one language should have an equivalent preferred term (concept) in all other languages. Binding language labels to an abstract SKOS concept.
  • Successfully Managing Multilingual Taxonomies: 3 Methods

    1. 1. Jim Sweeney Product Manager Synaptica, LLC Successfully Managing Multilingual Taxonomies
    2. 2. Truly a “Global” World • We live in societies that require that we are able to communicate across geography, culture, and language. • Being able to arrive at the same concept, regardless of geography, culture or language is a necessity in commerce and communication. • Taxonomies and thesauri are the ways that we organize and describe the world that we live in, whether we are consciously aware of them or not!
    3. 3. Building Multilingual Taxonomies We will look at 3 approaches to building and managing multilingual taxonomies/thesauri in this presentation and the pros and cons of each: 1. Single Vocabulary Method 2. Asymmetric Multilingual Vocabularies 3. Symmetric Multilingual Vocabularies
    4. 4. Single Vocabulary Method • Using this method one effectively builds the taxonomy settling on a primary, or dominant language, and all structure is assigned based on that language. • All translations and associated translated metadata are assigned as attributes of the primary language term.
    5. 5. Single Vocabulary Method The primary language as well as each translation for the term and associated metadata are stored as attributes.
    6. 6. Single Vocabulary Method • Hierarchical structure is determined by the primary language. • Consequently that languages also dictates cultural and localization values as well.
    7. 7. Pros and Cons of the Method Pros: • Simplest of the three methods we will discuss to design and maintain • Least resource intensive to manage Cons: • Most limiting of the methods • One language is dominant • Synonyms may not vary across languages
    8. 8. Asymmetric Multilingual Vocabularies • This method uses wholly independent, fully structured taxonomies for each language with concepts joined using equivalency (LE or EQ) relationships. • A single language may be selected as the exchange language through which all languages are linked
    9. 9. Asymmetric Multilingual Vocabularies Though not always recommended, each Vocabulary may be built using a completely unique structure as well as number of concepts to achieve full localization.
    10. 10. Pros and Cons of the Method Pros: • Provides for the most complete localization • Each language may have a unique set of attributes • No one language is dominant • New languages may be readily added • Synonyms may vary across languages Cons: • Most resource intensive method to manage • Less harmonized than the symmetric model
    11. 11. Symmetric Multilingual Vocabularies • This model is strongly encouraged by the former and current ISO standards (5964 and 25964-1) • Every concept should have a Preferred Term (PT) in each language • All languages should share a common hierarchical and associative structure • Each language supports independent synonym sets
    12. 12. Symmetric Multilingual Vocabularies • • There should be an instance of every preferred term in all languages. These terms may then be related via an equivalency (LE or EQ) relationship or by making them preferred labels to be applied to abstract SKOS concepts.
    13. 13. Pros and Cons of the Method Pros: • Allows for management of unique attributes for each language • No one language is dominant • Synonyms may vary across languages • Much less intensive to manage because all languages share a common structure Cons: • May not allow for subtle differences of language and culture to be expressed through variations in concepts and relational structure
    14. 14. Conclusions • There are several options for managing multilingual vocabularies and each method possesses some advantages and disadvantages. • ISO Standards (25964-1) strongly recommend a symmetric approach whenever possible. • SKOS-XL provides an effective format that supports the ISO symmetric model. • One may employ an asymmetric method when necessary, but beware the extra costs!
    15. 15. Thank You! Jim Sweeney Product Manager, Synaptica Successfully Managing Multilingual Taxonomies