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The Translation Centre of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs was launched in 1990 and from its inception the main task of its staff has been to translate the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA) and the regulations, directives, decisions and recommendations adopted under that agreement. The unit staff has also translated international agreements and other legal texts where standardised vocabulary is required, e.g. Schengen acquis, free trade agreements and conventions of the Council of Europe.

Terms and phrases have been collected at the Translation Centre, in connection with the translation of the EEA Agreement and various legal texts falling under that agreement. Most of the terms belong to the specific subject domains of the EEA Agreement and have been extracted from the abovementioned EEA documents. The termbase also contains many legal and administrative terms as well as names of international agreements, institutions, committees, councils etc. Many of the legislative texts, which fall under the EEA Agreement deal with subjects concerning the rights and interests of the general public, e.g. social rights, food safety, consumer issues, the environment and labour law. These texts, as translated, are either incorporated directly into Icelandic legislation or they form the basis of Icelandic laws and regulations. The glossary of the Icelandic International Development Agency (ICEIDA) has also been added to the Termbase.

At the Translation Centre, terminology work is carried out and neologisms are coined in collaboration with subject matter experts. The entire staff of the Translation Centre has participated in the development of the Termbase. The Icelandic equivalents of terms have largely been provided by the translators themselves but subject matter experts from a wide variety of public agencies, the academic community, corporations and various organisations etc. have also made contributions to the Termbase. The Termbase is a product of the terminology work carried out at the Translation Centre. Currently there are over 70 000 entries in the Termbase, each of which includes 5-8 data fields. It should be noted that the Termbase is still under development and its content is subject to change. New terms are added on a regular basis.

Access is offered to the public.


The Termbase is the property of the Translation Centre of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and has been developed by its staff. It is permissible to reuse information from the Termbase, cf. Chapter VII of The Information Act No. 140/2012, provided the source of the information is mentioned. The editor of the Termbase is Sigrún Ţorgeirsdóttir and its Webmaster is Reynir Gunnlaugsson. Björgvin R. Andersen, Hálfdan Ó. Hálfdanarson and Sindri Guđjónsson have also participated in editing the Termbase.


The main languages of the Termbase are English and Icelandic but there are also entries in other languages such as Danish, French, Norwegian, Swedish, German and Latin. The search language may be any of those languages or all of the languages simultaneously. Icelandic is the basic language and search results are displayed in alphabetical order of the Icelandic terms.

The search may be restricted, to search for an exact word or phrase, by checking the “exact search” box. Otherwise, by default, every entry in the Termbase, containing the word or phrase, will be displayed. When the user is directed to the page where results are listed the following three options appear on the right hand side of the search windows at the top of the page, from left to right: all instances (Icel. öll tilvik), exact term (Icel. orđrétt), starts with (Icel. byrjar á). In other words the search may be restricted further depending on the type of search desired, to search for all instances, exact term or a word or phrase that begins with a particular letter or string of letters.

By clicking on an entry, the user obtains a detailed view of the fields such as subject area, context, reference to a document, document number (e.g. Celex number in the EU code of laws), note (e.g. comments on changes), grammatical information and other fields.

All the fields are displayed by clicking on the “Advanced search” button and each of these can be searched separately;


Term (Icel. hugtak)

Synonym (Icel. samheiti)

Subject area (Icel. sviđ)

Context (Icel. dćmi)

Definition (Icel. skilgreining)

Reference (Icel. rit)

Document No (Icel. skjal nr.)

Source (Icel. heimild)

Note (Icel. athugasemd)

Head word (Icel. ađalorđ)

Word class (Icel. orđflokkur)

Gender (Icel. kyn)

Other grammatical information (Icel. önnur málfrćđi)

Abbreviation (Icel. skammstöfun)

Spelling variant (Icel. annar ritháttur)


The chief parts of the EEA Agreement relate to the four freedoms, i.e. free movement of goods, services, capital and persons. Subject areas covered by the EEA Agreement include: financial affairs, social rights, agriculture, statistics, chemicals, medicinal products, consumer affairs, information technology and telecommunications, and environmental issues. Among subject areas which do not fall under the EEA Agreement are: immigration, fisheries, development aid, taxation and customs. Domains such as international organisations, legal terms, country and place names and titles of international agreements belong to yet another category.

Subject areas of the Termbase:

Agreements and treaties (Icel. samningar og sáttmálar)

Agriculture (Icel. landbúnađur)

Agriculture (zoological names) (Icel. landbúnađur (dýraheiti))

Agriculture (botanical names) (Icel. landbúnađur (plöntuheiti))

Chemicals (Icel. íđefni)

Chemicals (chemical names) (Icel. íđefni (efnaheiti))

Civil rights (Icel. borgaraleg réttindi)

Company law (Icel. félagaréttur)

Company law (accounting standards) (Icel. félagaréttur (reikningsskil))

Competition and state aid (Icel. samkeppni og ríkisađstođ)

Consumer affairs (Icel. neytendamál)

Country and place names (Icel. landa- og stađaheiti)

Customs (Icel. tollamál)

Development aid (Icel. ţróunarađstođ)

Economic affairs (Icel. efnahagsmál)

Education and culture (Icel. menntun og menning)

Energy and industry (Icel. orka og iđnađur)

Environment (Icel. umhverfismál)

Explosives and chemical weapons (Icel. sprengiefni og efnavopn)

Financial affairs (Icel. fjármál)

Fixed phrase in EC/EU texts (Icel. fast orđasamband í EB-/ESB-textum)

Fisheries (Icel. sjávarútvegur)

Fisheries (zoological names) (Icel. sjávarútvegur (dýraheiti))

Funds, instruments and policies (Icel. sjóđir og áćtlanir)

Funds, instruments and policies (health affairs) (Icel. sjóđir og áćtlanir (heilbrigđismál))

Immigration (Icel. innflytjendamál)

Intellectual property law (Icel. hugverkaréttindi)

Information technology and telecommunications (Icel. upplýsingatćkni og fjarskipti)

Institutions (Icel. stofnanir)

Instruments and appliances (Icel. smátćki)

Internal market (general) (Icel. innri markađurinn (almennt))

International agreements (Icel. milliríkjasamningar)

International agreements (titles of international agreements) (Icel. milliríkjasamningar (samningaheiti))

International organisations (Icel. alţjóđastofnanir)

Judicial cooperation (Icel. dómsmálasamstarf)

Labour law (Icel. vinnuréttur)

Legal terms (Icel. lagamál)

Machinery (Icel. vélar)

Medicinal products (Icel. lyf)

Ministry for Foreign Affairs (Icel. utanríkisráđuneytiđ)

Public procurement (Icel. opinber innkaup)

Right of establishment and freedom to provide services (Icel. stađfesturéttur og ţjónusta)

Security and defense policy (Icel. öryggis- og varnarmál)

Social rights (Icel. félagsleg réttindi)

Social rights (health affairs) (Icel. félagsleg réttindi (heilbrigđismál))

Statistics (Icel. hagskýrslugerđ)

Taxation (Icel. skattamál)

Technology and industry (Icel. tćki og iđnađur)

Term generally used in EC/EU texts (Icel. hugtak, almennt notađ í EB-/ESB-textum)

Transport (Icel. flutningar)

Transport (aviation) (Icel. flutningar (flug))

Transport (health affairs) (Icel. flutningar (heilbrigđismál))

Transport (maritime and inland waterways transport) (Icel. flutningar (siglingar))

Transport (railroads) (Icel. flutningar (járnbrautir)).

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