Making the most of IATE – Miriam Bianco writes:

Held at Europa House in London, on Saturday 18th January 2013, this EU-workshop provided an excellent overview of the advantages and limitations of its public database IATE (Inter-Active Terminology for Europe).
Given by EU in-house terminology expert Timothy Cooper, the workshop  was in the form of a lecture to full house – the audience encompassed both novice and experienced translators, the majority of whom said they regularly used IATE.
The presentation began with an overview of the main principles underlying terminology for translation purposes, thus: “Terminology is about the relationship between concepts and the terms used to denote them.”
Explanations and examples were initially related to broad concepts prior to more focused references to the specialised translation undertaken by the EU bodies.  Visuals, diagrams and powerpoint slides were used to demonstrate the key differences between lexicography and terminology.
Subsequently, the lecture moved from this theoretical approach to a hands-on examination of the uses and pitfalls of IATE for the translator.  Thus, the key differences between the in-house and publicly-available database were outlined, with slightly fewer entries at 1.3 million for the latter versus 1.5 million for the former.
One key limitation identified in IATE was that of using domain names in searches due to the historical development and compilation of the database from a range of differing individual databases, linked to separate EU institutions. The ease of searching for IATE and related facilities via Google was also emphasized, such as for the EU Style Guide.
Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience and Tim Cooper provided clear and detailed answers. A few words were also given by other EU representatives, including on providing feedback on terms in IATE!
The session lasted around an hour and a half, and participants all seemed to have enjoyed the time and more importantly, satisfied that they had learnt considerably from the experience.  The same workshop is due to be held again later in the year, according to the EU Representation in the UK, for people who missed the event due to the snow.  The event will be advertised via the ITI and regional networks.