The terminology database TERMDAT is at the very heart of the Terminology Section of the Swiss Federal Chancellery’s Central Language Services. It provides Swiss legal and administrative terminology predominantly for the four national languages German, French, Italian, and Romansh (plus English). However, data exchange with cooperating actors (Federal Departments, cantons, external service providers, etc.) constitutes a particular challenge, since these actors operate with different systems and data models. The present article describes a solution developed within a pilot project aiming at providing means to substantially improve data flow within a highly heterogeneous database landscape.
Over the last years, TBX (TermBase eXchange) has become the main standard for terminology data exchange. However, the complexity of the standard has led to different implementation of TBX interfaces in professional terminology management tools that makes it difficult or impossible to exchange data even between different versions of the same tool without additional workarounds. The present article discusses how to easily migrate terminological data even in a worst-case scenario, namely from spreadsheet to TBX and back to spreadsheet, without any loss of information.