The structure of the termbase was defined taking into account the needs of the different groups of users envisaged. We therefore tried to combine linguistic accuracy and conceptual completeness.
Even though the termbase conforms to relevant ISO standards (e.g. ISO 1087-1:2000 and 12620:1999), it presents some additional "non-conformant" elements which, in our opinion, make it more suitable for the legal domain and can better meet the needs of the users.
- First of all, since legal concepts cannot be considered as independent, self-standing elements, but must be seen as elements of a legal system or set of regulations, we decided to provide the most important legal references concerning each concept.
For each concept of the termbase references are therefore provided as to the legal texts, of both national and European origin, which regulate them. The "European legislation" field is particularly important since it can show the link which exists between concepts and terms belonging to different legal systems which were transmitted by a same Community text.
- Definitions were conceived as "repositories of knowledge", i.e. they contain detailed information about the concepts under examination which can help the user understand their position within the corresponding legal system. However, taking into account the possible needs of different types of users, most definitions are composed of two parts:
- a concise definition, which provides basic information about the concept under examination;
- a more detailed "encyclopaedic" definition, which provides more information on the whole domain.
- As for the equivalence between concepts expressed in different languages, the strong link between legal concepts and the corresponding legal systems rarely allows terminologists to talk about exact conceptual equivalence between terms. When legal concepts are involved, it is necessary to provide for different degrees of equivalence between concepts, which are expressed within the termbase by graphic symbols: = indicates exact equivalence, ± indicated partial equivalence, and ~ indicates non-equivalence. In this latter case, the Equivalent fields contain concepts of the target legal system which present some degree of similarity with the main term, in order to help specialised communication. When it was not possible to identify (even partially) equivalent terms in the target legal system, a translation proposal was provided in order to help the users familiarise themselves with concepts which do not belong to their own legal culture.
A complete guide to the fields of the termbase is available here